2013 Team Outlook: Buffalo Bills
RB Fred Jackson, --- - Gamble (high risk)
Now 32 years old, Fred Jackson has finished each of the last two seasons with dehabilitating leg injuries and missed 12 games in total. Although he was formerly ahead of RB C.J. Spiller on the depth chart at the start of each of the last two years, that is no longer the case. Jackson will likely take on a change-of-pace role and at best, will poach a few short-yardage scores away from the more fleet-footed Spiller. Jackson's injury risks and reduced offensive responsibilities should keep him healthy which would be useful to fantasy owners for the right value. Unfortunately, he should rarely, if ever, crack your starting lineup unless Spiller goes down with injury.
WR Robert Woods, LAR - Sleeper (undervalued)
Former USC wideout Robert Woods was described as one of the most "ready to play" prospects in this past draft class. This does not necessarily mean he will open the season in the starting lineup though. Woods is currently No. 3 on the Bills' WR depth chart. He will challenge WR T.J. Graham for additional playing time and also needs to fend off fellow rookie WR Marquise Goodwin from Texas. A healthy competition never hurts, but for our fantasy purposes, it makes for an unclear situation.
WR Marquise Goodwin, SF - Dynasty Only
The Bills' selection of Marquise Goodwin should come as no surprise. A third-round choice out of the University of Texas, Goodwin is a great upside choice who is a bit raw that could eventually be molded into a Percy Harvin or scat-back role. Dynasty owners should consider him because of his tremendous speed and potential to have a high-volume of receptions in the future.
WR T.J. Graham, --- - Bye Week Fill-in
Of Buffalo's many options at the receiver position, T.J. Graham has the best shot to emerge from the group as a solid No. 2 or slot receiver. He has good speed and can work defenses as a deep threat. In three of his last four games, he saw at least seven targets. Unfortunately, the Bills' unproven passing attack leaves much to be desired. Graham is not going to outperform WR Stevie Johnson or even RB C.J. Spiller as a pass-catcher, but he could be a bench player in deeper formats surprising people on a random week.
WR Stevie Johnson, --- - Quality Backup
Update (8-27): Johnson has proven he's got game and makes for a worthy fantasy option. However, like all receivers, he is on some level only as good as those throwing him the ball. For now that coud be undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel or Matt Leinart (or E.J. Manuel whenever the first-round pick returns from injury). Draft Johnson in the WR30-40 range, but that QB scenario makes him a tricky start early in the season.
Preview - Over the last three seasons, Stevie Johnson has very reliably caught around 80 passes for 1,000 yards and at least a half dozen scores. A turbulent quarterback controversy would not help the 26-year-old's draft stock, yet he provides solid value given his consistency and secure role as the Bills' No. 1 receiver. The only real downside is that he has likely plateaued and fantasy owners may feel that as well. On the other hand, Buffalo will be using a new offense and have a new starting quarterback. This could push Johnson's receiving totals up a bit while also increasing his risk. Defenses keyed on stopping C.J. Spiller should create more open spaces for Johnson's superb route-running. He makes for an excellent WR3 or flex play.
TE Lee Smith, OAK - Not Draft Worthy
With TE Scott Chandler still recovering from a torn left ACL, Lee Smith is the early favorite to start. Entering his third season, Smith has eight career receptions and is not likely to be a fantasy factor.