These Bills will stampede their way onto your fantasy rosters next season.
The Buffalo Bills are led by two studs, Tyrod Taylor (QB) and LeSean McCoy (RB). Taylor, in large part to his rushing, was the eighth-ranked quarterback in fantasy in 2016. McCoy once again solidified himself as a frontline starter as he finished third amongst running backs. The rest of the Bills fantasy options, however, may be hit and miss.
This weekly series of columns will focus on one to two teams and their fantasy-relevant players heading into next season. Player rankings are broken up into three tiers: ‘Start ‘Em’, ‘Flex or Stream ‘Em’, and ‘Pick ‘Em Up’. Any free agents a team may have will be written about as if they are re-signed. Notable Bills free agents include wide receivers Justin Hunter, Percy Harvin, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. All fantasy rankings are from Pro Football Reference.
Tyrod Taylor, QB
T-Mobile, as Taylor is nicknamed, lived up to that moniker as he ran for the most yards (580) and touchdowns (6) among quarterbacks in 2016. His passing stats will never impress as he ranked 25th in passing yards, but as long as the rushing numbers keep up, Taylor is a surefire QB1 that will still be available later in drafts.
LeSean McCoy, RB
McCoy finished his 1,267 rushing-yard campaign with 13 touchdowns, second-most in his career, vaulting him to his third different top-three finish in fantasy points in his career (2011, 2013). He will be entering his age-29 season in 2017 and will face some concerns as to whether he can continue to produce at a superstar level. Regardless, McCoy is a late first-round pick.
Sammy Watkins, WR
Watkins looked to be headed into stardom after a very promising 2015 season, as he finished that year with over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns on 60 catches in only 13 games played. An injury-riddled 2016 season derailed his fantasy value, but he still remains the go-to target in Buffalo. If Watkins can manage to stay healthy next year, he can be a mid-round steal in drafts.
Flex or Stream ‘Em
Charles Clay, TE
Clay finished the 2016 season as the 18th ranked tight end in fantasy. Despite being invisible for most of the season, from Weeks 14-16 Clay caught 18 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Those four scores were the only ones he had all season. Clay may have finally found his form late in the season as a new member of the Bills and should continue to build on his success next season.
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Pick ‘Em Up
Mike Gillislee, RB
Since signing with Buffalo before the 2015 season, Gillislee has been an effective backup to McCoy, averaging 5.7 yards per rush in both seasons. In 2016, Gillislee became a goal-line threat as he found paydirt eight times. He is a must-have handcuff to any McCoy owners next year and is an exceptional flex start option if McCoy were to miss time.
Robert Woods, WR
When Watkins was injured for an eight-game stretch last season, Woods corralled 37 of his 51 receptions, which included a career-best game against the Seahawks in catches (10) and yards (162). Woods is no more than a desperation start when Watkins is healthy, but with him out, Woods becomes the defacto number one target on the Bills and becomes worthy of a roster spot.
Marquise Goodwin, WR
The fourth-year wide receiver finally inserted himself into the Bills game plan in 2016 after only totaling three combined catches in the two years prior. Goodwin is a true deep threat, sporting one of the fastest NFL Combine 40-yard dash times in history at 4.27 seconds. During the season, two of his three touchdowns went for 67 and 84 yards. At this point, he is nothing more than a deep league stash on your bench, but a better passing attack will see his value grow.
The 2017 version of the Bills will most likely be very run heavy as long as the core of Taylor and McCoy are still around. Either of them are excellent number one options for your fantasy team. On the passing side, Watkins and Clay look to be the top two targets, while one of Woods and Goodwin can take the next step and become that solid third option. Other than Watkins and Clay, each of the other prospective pass catchers need Taylor to take the next step as a passer in order for them to be week-to-week fantasy relevant options.
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