QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo)
There’s upside to be had here. In 7 games before going down with a rib injury last year, Fitzpatrick threw for 1739 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. After 7 games, Fitzpatrick really struggled, but that rib injury, as well as injuries to offensive players like Demetress Bell, Eric Wood, and Fred Jackson, were probably largely to blame. Over 16 games, that’s 3975 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Of course, he had never done anything like that in his career before then and it’s possible he gets hurt again, so there is downside for the league’s leader in interceptions last year. I basically averaged those projected stats with his actual stats from last year to get my projection for him. I wouldn’t be comfortable with him as my starter, but if I couldn’t grab an elite quarterback to be my starter and had to settle for a middle of the run starter, Fitzpatrick would probably be my choice as a high upside backup if available.
Projection: 3900 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 220 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown (252 pts standard/304 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)
RB Fred Jackson (Buffalo)
There was a time when Fred Jackson was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2011. In 9 games when he was healthy, he had 163 carries for 917 yards and 6 touchdowns, good for 290 carries for 1630 yards and 11 touchdowns over 16 games. However, CJ Spiller was really good down the stretch for the Bills and they did use the 9th overall pick on him 2 years ago.
Jackson is 31, though he has only 817 carries in his career because he spent years working his way up out of Division-III Coe College. They also just gave him an extension, but I still think we’ll see closer to a 2-1 split between Jackson and Spiller rather than the Jackson dominated split we saw early last year. I also don’t see him averaging 5.5 YPC again. He should still get the goal line carries and he catches the ball a good amount as well.
Projection: 200 carries 920 rushing yards 8 total touchdowns 35 catches 350 receiving yards (175 pts standard/210 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)
RB CJ Spiller (Buffalo)
Spiller and Jackson have combined for 296 and 277 carries in the last 2 years. I think Jackson will continue to be the lead back like he was early last season, albeit probably not on the 290 carry pace he was on because of his age and Spiller’s play down the stretch last year when Jackson was hurt. However, Jackson has proven over his career to be the more talented and durable back and they just gave him an extension. He’ll probably get 2 carries for each of Spiller’s, leaving Spiller as nothing but a backup in fantasy circles unless Jackson gets hurt.
Projection: 100 carries 450 rushing yards 5 total touchdowns 35 catches 240 receiving yards (99 pts/134 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)
WR Steve Johnson (Buffalo)
Johnson has 82 catches for 1073 yards and 10 touchdowns and 76 catches for 1004 yards and 7 touchdowns in the last 2 seasons. He should be able to surpass 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns again and could have a career high season if Ryan Fitzpatrick plays as well as he did last season before the rib injury. The Bills still don’t have very many other talented options besides Johnson unless 3rd round rookie TJ Graham can make huge strides in his first season as a pro.
Projection: 80 catches 1100 receiving yards 9 receiving touchdowns (164 pts/244 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)
TE Scott Chandler (Buffalo)
Chandler isn’t a very good tight end. He’s big, but he doesn’t move well at all. However, the Bills don’t have another option at the position and Fitzpatrick seems to like throwing to him in the red zone. If Fitzpatrick plays like he did early last year, Chandler could surpass the 38 catches for 389 yards and 6 touchdowns he had last season. He’s still not fantasy startable.
Projection: 42 catches 450 receiving yards 7 receiving touchdowns (87 pts/129 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)