Fantasy Football Focus: Buffalo Bills

Russell IvanacSenior Analyst IJuly 24, 2008

The young Bills squad was one game away from .500 last season, and have only gotten better. Their biggest weakness last year was defense, and that is one of the things they improved during the offseason by bringing in DT Marcus Stroud and LB Kawika Mitchell.

So what impact does it have on their players' fantasy value? You may be surprised.



Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman

Edwards is the starter here, and in their system, that means two things. Three-step drops and plenty of short routes. Hardly the ingredients to fantasy success. The fact that they run a lot doesn't help things either.

On the bright side, opposing defenses will be focusing more on stopping their running game than their passing game. Probably because that is where the talent really is. It will take some pressure off of him, and could result in the occasional big play or two. Nothing consistent enough to warrant a draft pick though.

Losman will steal some snaps from Edwards this year, but not enough to get any fantasy value this year. He is less than happy to be in Buffalo, and unless he sheds his attitude, he won't be making enough progress to take the starting role. He does have a stronger arm though, which would make Lee Evans' owners smile.



Marshawn Lynch/Fred Jackson

This guy has got talent. Unfortunately it isn't the only thing he has. Lynch is staring down a potential penalty from the league, resulting from his hit-and-run incident during the offseason, which he pled guilty to.

If he doesn't miss any games, he will be worth a late first-round pick this year. Buffalo is not one of the teams that have jumped on the "running back by committee" bandwagon, and that only helps Lynch's value. They also love to run the ball, and Lynch's powerful running style and good open-field moves will make them love it that much more.

If Lynch does miss games, look for Jackson to step up in a big way. In the two games that he carried the ball 15 or more times, he ran for 82 and 115 yards, respectively. He also showed great hands out of the backfield. He would be a prime example of what you would call a "super sleeper".



Lee Evans/James Hardy/Robert Royal

There is no doubt that Evans is the No. 1 guy in Buffalo, but it is hard to ignore Hardy's height. He is seven inches taller than Evans and most of Buffalo's other receivers. Hardy is a rookie, but he looks like just the thing the Bills needed to solve their red-zone troubles.

His legal troubles could ruin him though; pointing a gun at your father (allegedly) can do that.

Evans is a solid deep threat, but hardly a solid producer of fantasy points. Many people say that last year was a down year for him after a great 2006 season. On the contrary, 2006 was an exceptionally good year for him.

2006 was the first and only time that he broke 850 yards receiving. Look for more of the same next year, which still makes him a decent No. 2 receiver or a great No. 3 receiver.

If you are looking in Buffalo for a tight end, you must be desperate. Royal has been widely considered a "blocking" tight end for most of his career. There have been talks that it could change this year, with him becoming an every-down player, but there was a reason he gained that label. No fantasy value here.



Rian Lindell

Here's a newsflash: It's cold in Buffalo. That doesn't bode well for any kicker, but Lindell is making the best of it. Although he has only made over 24 field goals once in eight seasons, he is surprisingly accurate with kicks over 50 yards. He has seven of eight over the past three seasons.

He has little fantasy value, as there are many more kickers that get a lot more attempts and in better weather, too.



You would think that the cold weather would help against the pass. Well, it might have if teams would have been forced to pass against them. Last year, their run defense was horrible, but the addition of Stroud and Mitchell should help change that.

Their defensive backs still aren't very good, and that won't be changing any time soon. Their 238.4 passing yards against per game average was the fourth worst in the league last year.

Their return game features Roscoe Parrish, who is a quick and agile, young, return man that lacks enough size to contribute too much on offense. That will let him focus on returning kicks, which could help him improve on his one return touchdown last year.

Call them a sleeper if you want, but unless the offense becomes a solid ball-control offense, and Parrish takes himself to the next level, there isn't too much value here outside of a bye-week filler.


Top Five Buffalo Bills Fantasy Players

1. Marshawn Lynch

2. Lee Evans

3. James Hardy

4. Trent Edwards

5. Fred Jackson

Bye Week: Six