Bills Fantasy News
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6:06pm
The Bills were able to put the finishing touches on the announcement of a one-year extension for running back Fred Jackson. Jackson was entering the final year of his contract, which is set to pay him a base salary $2.45 million. There were no financial details announced by the team. Jackson’s role for the 2014 season is a bit unclear with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon joining Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the backfield. There’s been talk that the 33-year-old may be slated for a more limited role than he’s played in the past, but the extension suggests he’s still very much in the Bills’ plans now and in 2015.
This certainly indicates that the team is planning for the eventuality that Spiller won't be with the team in 2015. If he departs, Jackson could split time (or back up) Bryce Brown, whom the team traded for earlier in the year.
Giants RB David Wilson will not practice for the remainder of this week and will not play Sunday night, when the Giants play their preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The Giants running back, who suffered a burner in practice yesterday, will be examined and evaluated on Monday by Dr. Frank Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
It's not clear how long Wilson will be out, but it's a scary situation considering he was coming off of a season-ending neck injury in 2013. He was only recently cleared to practice. If he's healthy, we're only expecting a change-of-pace role behind Rashad Jennings.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:44pm
The Bills have used a variety of receiver groupings through the first eight practices. Mike Williams, Chris Hogan, and Marquise Goodwin have all seen time alongside Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. How each of those players are used in the regular season could be determined by the situation. T.J. Graham, who we considered part of this mix in the spring, has barely seen any time with the first-team offense. He's fighting for his job.
It appears that Woods is safe as the team's WR2, while Williams is battling for snaps. Hogan is the more traditional slot receiver.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:03pm
Giants TE Larry Donnell made another highlight play. Leading up to Sunday night’s preseason Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills, tight end Larry Donnell is making his case in practice. Just yesterday, the second-year pro made an acrobatic catch from Ryan Nassib and followed it up today with an impressive touchdown grab. This time it was from Eli Manning, who threw a fade pass to Donnell in the back corner of the end zone. Donnell elevated and held onto the ball as the practice referee signaled “touchdown.”
Donnell may work his way into TE2 type value if he can emerge as the Giants' starter. Manning does like to throw to his tight end in the red zone.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:51am
Bills QB E.J. Manuel has not looked great the first week of training camp. He has looked good at times. He has made some sharp, impressive throws. His arm strength is excellent. But there are enough times in every practice in which he doesn’t get the ball out of his hands quickly to make one pause. Should he look more sure of himself?
The jury is out, and it’s probably unreasonable to think it would be any other way early in the second training camp for the Bills’ franchise quarterback.
Is Manuel reading the defense and reacting well enough in the pocket to make the Bills’ offense go? The man in charge of the offense says yes and stresses that a quarterback’s development is a process.
The coaches may be keeping it positive, but it sounds like Manuel has a way to go yet. He's far down our QB list, but we think with the talent around him he has a chance to at least be part of a committee for your fantasy team.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 7:18pm
The Buffalo Bills can't catch a break at tight end. Already down Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and Chris Gragg (heat-related symptoms), top Bills tight end Scott Chandler left Sunday's practice early with a groin injury. He did not return. There isn't an immediate prognosis on Chandler's injury. He was the team's leading receiver last season, catching 53 passes for 655 yards.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:52pm
Bills WR Robert Woods is as smooth as they come and for the first time since camp has begun he and E.J. Manuel started connecting in the way that they did throughout training camp last year. He provided a sustainable target throughout the evening and brought in anything that was close.
Despite the arrival of Sammy Watkins, Woods is a breakout candidate if Manuel and the team's passing game can take a big step forward in 2014.
The Browns have been 'alarmed' by some of Johnny Manziel's antics since the draft -- especially a photo of him rolling up a $20 bill in the bathroom of a bar -- and some in the organization feel he's lost ground in the quarterback competition heading into camp, sources have told Northeast Ohio Media Group. After the suspicious photo of Manziel tightly rolling up the bill surfaced on July 7, Browns coach Mike Pettine called Manziel from his vacation in Hawaii and addressed it, he told NEOMG on Monday. The conversation was 'positive' but he also planned to talk to Manziel face-to-face when he arrived for the rookie portion of camp on Wednesday. Tightly-rolled bills are typically used to snort cocaine, and the Browns wanted some answers. In fact, NFL chemical dependency consultant and former Browns team physician Dr. Gregory Collins of the Cleveland Clinic told NEOMG that such a photo would warrant a league inquiry and drug test to make sure the player is okay, even though it's not proof of use.
If Manziel wins the starting job this summer -- and that's looking less likely, per reports -- he'll be an intriguing QB2 who should be available in the 9th-11th rounds given all the depth at quarterback. He has a good situation brewing with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in his receiving corps, and the newly-signed Ben Tate as a threat in the running game. (Gordon’s looming suspension is an obvious concern.) Manziel’s durability is a question mark given his propensity for taking chances by leaving the pocket.
WR Sammy Watkins picked a great day to have his best practice as a member of the Buffalo Bills. With the bigwigs at ESPN, NFL Network, FoxSports1 and the MMQB all in attendance on Monday afternoon, Watkins put on a show for all to see. The crowd 'oohed,' 'aahed,' and cheered anytime the first-round selection touched the ball... and it happened quite a lot. He burned Leodis McKelvin very early on in the practice deep, he caught a pass tight in coverage with a defender on his way to him and then he jumped up on a tipped pass to bring it in over three defenders, all while getting poked in the eye. It's been a great start for Watkins to say the least.
He’s not landing in a good situation, since the Bills are run-heavy and E.J. Manuel is his quarterback. But with Stevie Johnson out of the way, the potential is there for solid production. By all accounts he has shown a great work ethic, so if he’s a target-hog, he should be a fantasy starter (top 36) in 2014.
Monday, July 21, 2014, 11:15am
Quarterback EJ Manuel had some good connections with WR Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the draft. Watkins caught four passes from Manuel in full team or 7-on-7 work, the nicest a 20-yard corner route on the right sideline. “I really want to get it to him in a spot for him to catch it and get some yards after the catch,” Manuel said. Manuel had a good escape of the pocket at one point and found Robert Woods open for about 15 yards along the right sideline. Manuel threw one interception. Safety Aaron Williams picked off a deep ball for Woods that hung in the air a bit too long.
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 10:21am
It’s shaping up to be a big year for Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel. Injuries kept him from practicing fully leading up to his rookie season and then cost him six games during the season, leaving the Bills unsure whether their 2013 first-round pick could be the long-term starter that they have been looking for in Buffalo. With a new owner coming soon, there’s a chance that the front office and coaching staff could be shaken up so Manuel will have to offer more convincing evidence that he can be that guy during his second season or run the risk that the franchise will start looking in other directions. Manuel says that he has more confidence in himself as he moves toward the 2014 season and that he’s learned some things about staying healthy that leave him feeling like a stronger player than he was a year ago.
The story goes on to say there were some shaky reports about Manuel’s play during the spring, particularly when it came to accuracy, and Manuel says he’s been working on developing chemistry with new wideouts Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams. The hope is that increased familiarity will help Manuel’s passes find their target more frequently because anything less will leave the Bills with bigger questions to answer next offseason. Right now we rank Manuel 27th among our QBs and he's not getting drafted at this point in the summer. We think he has committee-potential with the weapons around him. He's probably best as a waiver wire pickup in typical leagues.
Plugged-in beat writer Mike Rodak of ESPN.com wrote this week that the Bills "would like (Bryce Brown) to develop into one of their lead backs" as the resilient Jackson begins his age-33 campaign. With C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both entering contract years, planning for tomorrow makes plenty of sense. Brown is a decade younger than Jackson and comes to the team after piling up 4.6 yards per carry in limited action over 32 games for the Eagles. He plowed for 347 yards in back-to-back starts for Philly in 2012 but saw his snaps wither away last season under coach Chip Kelly.
He may not have much value in 2014, but Brown is shaping up to be a good dynasty acquisition, especially if Spiller and/or Jackson do not return next season.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 1:06pm
When the Bills sent away their first round pick in 2015 to move up to take Watkins, there was little doubt that he would step in right away and be not only the team’s starter, but their top wideout. His blend of explosiveness, hands and physicality make him a rare find from a talent perspective, so expect the Bills to have him on the field in bunches. He’ll pair with Robert Woods in sets with only two wide receivers in hopes that they form a very dynamic duo. The Bills are still very high on Woods, believing that he is as good of a number two target as they can find.
When the Bills go to three wide receiver sets, expect to see Mike Williams. The story says they view Williams as a potential instant contributor, and someone who could help QB E.J. Manuel in both the red zone and as a player with high pointing ability on all areas of the field. Marquise Goodwin will be the change of pace wide receiver just as he was last year when healthy.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 9:13am
Bills RB C.J. Spiller's cap number is 416 percent higher than the NFL average at his position. This all sets the table for the Bills' upcoming negotiations with Spiller, who can become a free agent after this season. Are the Bills willing to pay Spiller top-five money for his position? Or can they get by with a rotation of younger players? I think the Bills would love to have Spiller's speed and big-play ability around for several more years, but he might still need to prove that he can be the lead horse in the backfield.
That could be tough for Spiller to prove this year, especially if he can't stay healthy. Even if he does, Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown could all be in the mix for carries, and in a previous news item here at 4for4, it sure seems like Dixon is going to be the goal line and short yardage back. The writer also thinks the team wants to develop Brown as one of the lead backs. Spiller is ranked 24th among our RBs, but his ADP is the fourth round. That all equals a pretty big risk. The later you can draft Spiller, the better value he'll be.
Sunday, July 6, 2014, 2:23pm
One of the few guys on offense who can expand his role in 2014 is Eagles RB Chris Polk, and given the success he had last year, I’d expect Polk to produce even more as LeSean McCoy’s backup than Bryce Brown did last year. Part of the reason the Eagles were willing to part ways with Brown was the emergence of Polk, who made the most of his very limited opportunities on offense last year. Polk only got the ball 11 times, but he rushed for three touchdowns and 98 yards, averaging just under nine yards per carry. He scored a touchdown against Denver in Week 4 on his first carry as a pro, a 4-yarder.
Polk also plays special teams which is another reason the Birds could part ways with Brown. Mosher feels the team would give a lot of work to Polk if McCoy were ever to miss time, even though the team is going out of its way to say newly-acquired RB Darren Sproles isn't a receiver. Polk is someone to keep in mind as a handcuff to McCoy and we should get a better feel as to what his role will be this season during camp.
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