Team Profiles Buffalo Bills by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Rex Ryan is now the new head coach of Buffalo. I actually like the guy. He’s the funny uncle you always want to hang around with at family reunions. But how good of a head coach is he? He managed to land a head coaching job with Buffalo, with the words of “You’re fired’ still ringing in his ears from the brass in New York. His last year with the Jets, he led the team to only 4 wins. He had a winning record in New York only 2 out of 6 years, and those were the first two years, when the personnel of the team wasn’t of his making. Sons of Buddy Ryan, the Ryan brothers (Rex & Rob) are the Nicky and Paris Hiltons of the NFL. Two things are almost certain year one in Buffalo…….1) the players will love him 2) the team will have a losing season.
2015 team outlook- Buffalo always gets stampeded by the New England Patriots AFC East Division. Miami, Buffalo and New York Jets try not to come in last. One of the real reasons that Rex Ryan got the Buffalo head coaching gig was his familiarity with all the teams in the division. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. Ryan is a fun guy and the NFL loves having him around. Buffalo won’t in 4 years. MAYBE….if Rex Ryan ever went to a team with a quarterback, he could manage a winning season….but then, if they already had a good quarterback, then they’d probably have had a winning season, and therefore, there wouldn’t be a HC vacancy for Ryan to fill. Buffalo 6-10 in 2015
2015 Fantasy outlook-
QB- Retired/ Unretired QB Kyle “I stuck it to Jerry Jones” Orton is retired again, leaving only E J Manuel. E J manuel needs to read a QB manual on how to play the quarterback position without throwing interceptions. He’s not very good. Another college quarterback drafted in the 1st round who was thrown into action way too soon, as usual. What ever happened to holding a clipboard for a while and LEARNING? Tom Brady did it. Drew Brees did it. Aaron Rodgers did it. I was recently in a 20 round- 16 team fantasy draft and E J manuel went in the 19th round, the 36th QB selected. That’s about right.
RBs- Everyone has the list of “I’ll never draft that guy ever again”…..and I guarantee you, C J Spiller is on a ton of them, not just mine. I’ll draft extra wide receivers before I draft him ( or Reggie Bush) ever again. He’s a free agent anyways, so he may not even be back in Buffalo. RB Fred Jackson is an old school running back who always leaves everything on the field. I like his hard running style and his grit. You can wait on him in drafts because he won’t go too early, but he’s solid, and hopefully he can stay heathy. The #2 RB listed on the Buffalo roster is Anthony Dixon, but I am not a big fan. I do like RB Bryce Brown however, and hopefully Rex sees what a talent he could be if ever given the chance that he was promised when he left Philadelphia. UPDATE: HC Rex Ryan signed former Eagle RB LeSean McCoy and give McCoy as many touches as he can handle. RB McCoy is in a better place for himself, for Buffalo and for fantasy owners.
WRs- Prior to the 2014 season, I wrote an article about being “All In’ with the rookie class of wide receivers coming into the league, and although I didn’t like where he landed, WR Sammy Watkins topped my list. (Oh, how I wanted Detroit to draft Sammy Watkins, and see him line up opposite Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Instead, Detroit threw away another 1st round selection, which they always do with regularity) Watkins will make any QB look good, but his fantasy value will always have to be tempered because he’s in Buffalo. Even the die-hardest of NFL and fantasy footballers struggle to remember who the other wide receivers are in Buffalo. They are WR Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Chris Hogan. They had a combined 9 TDs all of last year.
TEs– Scott Chandler is the only name worth mentioning here. He’s a big, tough guy and could be a huge part of an offense somewhere else. He’ 6’7″ and 260 pounds and a serviceable TE but has been in the league side 2007. UPDATE: Buffalo snagged TE Charles Clay and huge a huge upgrade for the team at that position, but fantasy-wise, I am not bumping him up from last year. His TE ranking drops because of the QB situation in Buffalo.
K- Former Miami Dolphin Dan Carpenter was Buffalo’s top scorer in 2014, but more because the offense was bad, rather than because he was so good. He did knock in 34 of 38 field goals, which ranked 10h for place-kickers in the NFL-2014
DEF- The Buffalo defense kept the team in many games during the 2014 season. They quietly ranked in the top 5 of NFL defenses, and with defense-minded Rex Ryan running the show now, they likely won’t fall off that top 5 list in 2015.
2014 Buffalo Fantasy Surprises- When Buffalo pulled QB Orton off the streets and threw him in as the immediate QB starter, this actually helped the team and WR Watkins’ productivity, at least for a few games. Watkins later would play at less than 100%, but he played in all 16 regular season games his rookie year. RB Bryce Brown is a talented running back and it was surprising that Buffalo didn’t use his talents much in 2014. I don’t like RBBC ( running back by committee) especially if it’s a big committee, rotating 3 & 4 running backs all in the one game like Buffalo did last year. HC Ryan won’t surprise us and start doing that. He will rotate two, but he’ll pick one of them as his workhorse.
2015 Free Agents that Buffalo need to address- RB C J Spiller- WR Marcus Easley- WR Deonte Thompson- TE Lee Smith- G Erik Pears- S Da’Norris Searcy
2015 NFL Draft- The early needs of Buffalo are Quarterback, OL , and TE. The Bills haven’t had a quarterback throw over 25 touchdown passes in a season since Jim Kelly threw 33 in 1991( QB), Buffalo’s right guard and right tackles were a glaring weakness in 2014 (OLB), and although Scott Chandler plays hard, he isn’t the big-time playmaker that any Buffalo QB will need (TE).
Did you know- Buffalo drafted RB Marshawn Lynch with their 1st round -the 12th overall NFL selection in 2007? Lynch played for Buffalo from 2007-2010 and only scored a total of 17 TDs in those years. On October 5th, 2010 in mid-season, Buffalo had seen enough of Lynch and traded him to Seattle for two draft picks, a 4th round in 2011 and a 5th round in 2012.