Note: this is a continuation of the "Fantasy Bills" series here at Buffalo Rumblings. This series focuses on fantasy football-worthy Bills players and how they should be utilized this coming season. Previous Fantasy Bills: Losman
It's a question that has been asked plenty this off-season: "Do the Bills have a complement to Lee Evans?" The answer may not be as simple as yes or no. The Bills are going on their second straight year in Steve Fairchild's offense with a deep, talented receiving corps. So the answer isn't "yes" or "no", it's more like "he's been there all along". Buffalo's complement to Evans is none other than Peerless Price. Here's why.
What Has Changed?
Like every other skill position on Buffalo's offense, the fantasy production of Price depends mostly on how the new additions to Buffalo's offensive line pan out. It is extremely likely that this line - no matter how good or bad they are in comparison to other lines in the league - will be much better than the line Buffalo had last season. If this line can give J.P. Losman those precious fractions of a second added to his pocket time that he needs, Buffalo's aerial attack could be lethal. That's good news for Price.
The Bills have also expanded their versatility at the running back and H-Back positions, meaning that their intermediate passing game should be more developed than it was last season. This is again good news for Price, who will likely get to run a few more deep routes than he was able to last season.
What Is the Same?
Price's status in the receiving corps is the same. Yes, that means it is a virtual lock that he will be the starter opposite Evans. Yes, that means that he will see more playing time than either of his competitors, Josh Reed or Roscoe Parrish. And his role within the offense has not changed either.
In the early part of the season, Price will resume his role as an intermediate route runner, with the occasional bubble screen thrown in. As the offense as a whole matures, expect to see Price break contain once or twice a game and hit the vertical routes. Losman's got the arm to get it to him; Price should be much more of a playmaker this year despite having to fight for touches in this offense.
To put it bluntly, Peerless did not have fantasy-worthy numbers last season. At best, he was deep bench fodder on poor teams. This year I expect his numbers to be much better, and as a result his fantasy value will improve. Here's how I see his season unfolding:
55 catches, 630 yards, 6 TD
Don't draft Price as a starter. Don't even draft Price as your top reserve. But if you're looking for a guy with a little potential as a #5 wideout on your team, don't hesitate to call Price's number. This is a guy who finished second on the Bills last season in red zone touchdowns with 3 (behind Willis McGahee's four), so Losman looks for him in close. He could be a nice steady contributor as a reserve for a winning fantasy team; just don't overvalue him.