Whenever their is a quarterback controversy it takes precedent, and the Manuel versus Kolb battle should be no different. Considering how in recent seasons the NFL has seen great seasons from young athletic quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick to Russell Wilson it seems the Bills should be willing to give Manuel every opportunity to win the job, especially since they picked him 16th overall in the draft.
If Manuel is the starting quarterback there shouldn’t be any doubt that he won’t put up decent fantasy numbers. He has speed, a decent deep ball, and enough accuracy to finish the season at least as a top 25 quarterback. Right now according to FantasyPros he is ranked usually around the 28th quarterback making him a great bargain. If he is the starter then it should also slightly increase the prospects of C.J. Spiller, but it may also detract from some of the Bills receivers other than Steve Johnson, and probably Robert Woods.
Since becoming a Cardinal Kolb was basically left to fend for himself considering he was playing behind one of the worst offensive lines. In his two season in Arizona Kolb only played 15 of 32 games, and had 17 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Kolb has had a few big games in his career, but has never been able to string anything together because of injuries. If anything the Bills will rely a lot on Spiller, but if Kolb gets the job he should make the Bills receivers more fantasy friendly than Manuel might. With young emerging talent in the form of Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Da’Rick Rogers, and T.J. Graham Kolb should be serviceable enough to where he reaps the rewards of having such a speedy and talented receiving core. Like Manuel, if Kolb gets the starting job he could definitely produce as a fringe top 20 or at least top 25 quarterback. With a QB battle underway the best thing to do is if you are in a two quarterback league would be to take them both, but if not take Manuel just based on upside.
Hopefully under Doug Marrone, and Nathaniel Hackett’s new offense Spiller will be utilized much more than he was under Chan Gailey. Much doesn’t have to be said other than Spiller has the makings to be a top three fantasy running back this season. Considering Hackett’s history of running a run heavy offense at Syracuse Spiller should be set for a career high in just about every category.
Fred Jackson had been a great fantasy story, but the past two years he has missed a total of 12 games, and at 32 years old he shouldn’t challenge Spiller for touches as much as he did under Chan Gailey. That isn’t to say Jackson won’t be a fantasy asset because he could get eight to 12 touches per game, and Jackson has the talent even at 32 years old to take advantage of those touches. Not to mention Spiller has been prone to a few injuries over the course of his career so Jackson is a great handcuff to Spiller
Steve Johnson has been a solid number two receiver for the past three seasons posting at least 70 catches and 1000 yards. Considering the Bills should be amping up for a run heavy offense it drops Johnson’s prospects down to a low WR 2, if Kolb is the starter then owners should be much more comfortable getting him the ball. It is going to be interesting to see what the new offense has in store for him especially with the new quarterbacks. Overall Johnson should stay right around where was last year with 60-70 catches, 1000 yards, five touchdowns.
Aside from Johnson the Bills have an intriguing set of receivers led by Woods. Interestingly enough Woods has some of the similar attributes as Johnson does, and he was also labeled as one of the most, if not the, most pro ready receiver in the draft. He is a great route runner as is, and should be locked in as the Bills number two receiver before long. Last seasons Scott Chandler was the second leading receiver with only 571 yards, and coming off an ACL he could have a limited role to start the season. Not to mention the new offense may look to him less, so if Woods does snag up the number two job he could be in for at least 40 to 50 catches with 600-700 yards.
The rest of the receivers don’t deserve to be drafted, but they need to be watched. Graham, and Goodwin both have blazing speed and could turn into legitimate deep threats for the Bills. Goodwin is particularly interesting because he is on paper the fastest of the group, and the Bills could look to give him more opportunities to let him run wild.
Lastly, Da’Rick Rogers was one of the prize undrafted free agents, and also the most polarizing. Despite his many issues he has prove to have all of the physical tools to be a number one receiver, but fell out of the draft because of reported drug issues. Something tells me the coaching staff isn’t going to give him a lot of opportunity in his first season, but if he goes off at some point he is worth monitoring. He is especially interesting in Dynasty leagues.
Injury aside Chandler has been a useful assest at times in the past two season, but his contributions come in spurts considering he scored four of his six touchdowns last season in his first four games. There are better options, but he could once again be a red zone option.
Chris Gragg is a rookie, but actually tested as the fastest tight end at the combine this year with 4.5 speed. The Bills may look to lighten Chandler’s load so Gragg could get some opportunity early on. However, with the Bills primed to go run heavy this season it will be interesting to see how Gragg fits in because he is considered a poor blocker.
Lindell hasn’t been a fantasy option, and will probably lose the kicker job to Hopkins this offseason. Hopkins was one of the best kickers in the draft, but regardless whichever wins the battle they probably aren’t an option. Hopkins has the better leg, but the Bills will have to set him up for opportunities.
Defense: The Bills were terrible last year, they should not be drafted this year, but they are now led by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine who seems to have big things in store for the defense. They have the tools in Mario Williams, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jairus Byrd, Stephon Gilmore, and Nigel Bradham to have a much better season but a wait and see approach should be taken.
- The Need for Speed (bigfootsports-blog.com)
- Building Your Board: Spiller vs. Charles (bighitsports.wordpress.com)
- 2013 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings (bigfootsports-blog.com)
- 2013 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings (bigfootsports-blog.com)
- Fourteen Team Fantasy Football Mock Draft (bigfootsports-blog.com)
- PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft (bigfootsports-blog.com)