This is the first installment of a new series called "Fantasy Bills", where Buffalo Rumblings takes a look at each fantasy football-worthy Bill and offers suggestions on how to utilize each of these players. We start the series by examining the fantasy value of QB J.P. Losman.
Many media experts are beginning to believe in the hype surrounding J.P. Losman - they, in fact, are buying into the idea that Losman just might be able to succeed in the NFL. While that certainly boosts the confidence of many Bills fans, one does wonder - just how good can Losman be? More specifically (especially to non-Bills fans), can Losman save my fantasy team? Here's a look at J.P. Losman the Fantasy Quarterback:
What Has Changed?
Buffalo's offense in 2007 will not resemble what fans saw in 2006. Gone are the days of the "grind game", where Willis McGahee takes 20 carries up the middle (for 45 yards) while Losman manages a passing attack that picked its spots for big plays. The additions of Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker to the offensive line, no matter how they're viewed by outsiders, will help Losman - even if the help is not as night-and-day as most Bills fans hope it will be.
The changes in the backfield will help Losman as well. Willis McGahee was not, is not and never will be much of a receiving option out of the backfield. Marshawn Lynch, on the other hand, has that talent, and was used in this fashion in college. The Bills will still try to control the clock with the run game, but now Losman has a much more diversified short passing game.
What Is The Same?
Lee Evans is the same. Losman and Evans proved last year that they are one of the elite deep passing combinations in the entire NFL (outstripped, in my opinion, only by the Carson Palmer/Chad Johnson duo in Cincinnati). Expect a lot more big plays this season as well. The entirety of Buffalo's wide receiving corps returns as well, so expect to see Losman hit them more often as he continues to grow comfortable with them.
Losman was very effective during the second half of last season, when he threw 12 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, accumulated 1636 yards and led the Bills to a 4-4 record. There will be a lot of pressure on Losman to keep his team in games early thanks to a very young defense, so this should pad his yardage totals during the early weeks of the season. He will have to avoid interceptions, however - this would hurt both the Bills and your fantasy chances. Here's a realistic expectation for Losman's 2007 statistics:
62% completion percentage, 3350 yards, 24 TD, 14 INT (93.1 QB rating)
While the projected stats above may tempt you, please don't make the mistake of thinking Losman is a starting fantasy quarterback - because he just isn't. Successful fantasy teams are based on consistency, and at this point in his career Losman is anything but that. Draft him as your backup and you'll be much happier - he has the potential to be a points machine if used in a situational role throughout the season. He could make a lot of owners who have, for example, the injury-prone Donovan McNabb as their starting quarterback happy. Just don't expect a savior.