We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Bills Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of Buffalo Rumblings.
1. Obviously, the most talked about addition to the Bills this offseason was the acquisition of WR Terrell Owens. What can fantasy owners expect from the infamous Owens, and will he be contempt in the Bills scheme?
Owens is a rock star in Buffalo. He’s been borderline dominant on the practice field. He and QB Trent Edwards have already established a bit of a connection and have routinely hooked up for lengthy touchdowns in camp practices. There’s no reason to believe that Owens won’t be his usual, highly-productive self this season, as long as Edwards stays healthy and the weather isn’t too brutal at season’s end. He’ll almost certainly see more throws than any other Bills receiver this year.
2. Running back Marshawn Lynch will start the season suspended for 3 games. When he returns in week 4, should he have any problems securing the starting RB job? Should we expect a RB by committee with Fred Jackson in 2009?
Lynch is still the undisputed No. 1 back in Buffalo. Fred Jackson and Dominic Rhodes are both very capable and talented understudies, but neither has the burst, wiggle or brute strength that Lynch possesses. Both will steal touches from Lynch, but don’t worry about any sort of committee here – Lynch is still the guy. Jackson is very capable, however, and he’s been used as a receiver throughout the spring and summer, so he’s probably worth a bit more than your typical handcuff.
3. Receiver Lee Evans looks to be a sleeper this season, especially with the addition of T.O. What kind of season are you looking for from Evans?
More touchdowns. There’s this idea floating around that Evans’ numbers will skyrocket simply because Owens is on the team, but there are so many legitimate weapons in Buffalo that it’ll be difficult to keep everyone happy. Edwards likes to attack a defense’s underbelly and limit his shots downfield, so Evans’ reception totals may drop a bit, or, at best, stay consistent. Where he’ll improve is in the big play category and in the red zone. People forget that he scored 16 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons playing next to Eric Moulds, and 24 over his first three seasons in total. He can put it in the paint when defenses can’t double him down close.
4. Does Trent Edwards have the skills to breakout and be a top fantasy QB, or is slow, steady progression more of the appropriate expectation level for fantasy managers?
I find it difficult to think in terms of Edwards as a fantasy quarterback, because my main focus is the team, and there are so many question marks surrounding his ability (or lack thereof) to lead this franchise that it’s tough to focus on stats. Edwards has the skill set to be a highly efficient passer in this league – he’s smart, he’s accurate, and, most importantly, he’s got the weapons to turn short throws into long gainers. We did a stat projection for Edwards based solely on Owens’ arrival; that should give you a guideline as to what would be ideal for Edwards this season. We’ll leave it up to your readers to decide on whether or not those numbers constitute an elite fantasy signal caller.
5. Are there any unheralded players on the Bills’ roster that fantasy players should be targeting as sleepers in their upcoming drafts?
Depends on the type of league you’re in. If your scoring system rewards points for receptions, slot receiver Josh Reed should snag a fair few of those this season. If you’re in a keeper league, TE Shawn Nelson and WR Steve Johnson have the look of future stars, though they’re not likely to make substantial impacts this season. If there’s a tight end that can contribute in Buffalo, it’s Derek Schouman – with Robert Royal no longer clogging up the depth chart (and dropping passes), Schouman should put in a 30-40 catch season with a touchdown here and there. But Buffalo’s offense is not an elite one by any stretch of the imagination. Owners should stick to the big names for now.