The offense of the Buffalo Bills will be quite surprising in 2017. Can they help our your fantasy football team as well? Here are some players that may or may not be helpful.
Sleeper – Zay Jones, Wide Receiver
The Buffalo Bills took the East Carolina wider receiver with the fifth pick of the second round, putting a good #2 option behind Sammy Watkins to fill the hole left by Robert Woods’ departure. Given his innate talent and Watkins’ proclivity for injury, Jones is a dark horse fantasy football sleeper for 2017. Jones’ talent was evident in college, as he left the AAC as the all-time FBS receptions leader. Then there is Watkins’ fragility giving Jones a shot. Sammy Watkins has missed eleven of 32 games the last two seasons and has an injury weekly. The Bills do not believe he can stay healthy, as they turned down his guaranteed-for-injury fifth-year option earlier this offseason. Should Watkins go down again (his surgically repaired foot required another surgery, and he still is not a full go in OTAs)? Jones is the #60 WR off the board, and even if Watkins plays all 16 games, he should still surpass that draft stock. If Watkins goes down, he becomes the main man in Buffalo.
Breakout – Tyrod Taylor, Quarterback
Taylor hasn’t been asked to throw the ball a ton the last two years, as his 851 pass attempts rank dead last among quarterbacks to start at least 29 games over the last two seasons. He sits a full 4.5 passes per game behind the player just ahead of him, Andy Dalton. It goes without saying that for Taylor to break out; he needs to throw the ball more. His rate stats show that he produces well enough to be in the fantasy conversation; his touchdown rate is just behind backend starters Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston, and his 1.47% interception rate is bested only by Aaron Rodgers’ 1.27% in the last two years. The only issue for Taylor is the opportunity, which the Bills seem to be ready to give him. They got a pass catching tight end in Charles Clay, and spent a high draft pick on Zay Jones to put weapons around Taylor. He should throw more, which would lead to more production and starting value in your fantasy football league.
Bust – Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver
This has nothing to do with Watkins’ talent as a receiver. He is an astoundingly talented player, but the best predictor of future injury is past injury. His foot has been a nagging issue for two years, and he had a second surgery to repair the fracture. He also missed four games in 2015 with two unrelated injuries and has no reliable week-to-week usability. He is extraordinarily fragile and is being drafted just slightly too high due to his promise and upside. He is WR16 right now, which is not too bad of value; he could end up WR6 due to a breakout or WR66 after he misses half the season. That is your bet to take, but he is the most likely bust candidate on the Buffalo Bills.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.