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, Price
Fantasy football champions are based on one fundamental trait: consistency. The best fantasy teams are built around players that consistently put up similar statistics each week; therefore, the most maddening fantasy football players are those that have a monster game one week and disappear the next. Lee Evans falls under that "maddening" category.
Take, for example, Evans' record day in Houston, when he caught 11 passes for 265 yards and had two 83-yard touchdown jaunts. That made a lot of fantasy owners ecstatic. The next week? 5 catches for 58 yards against the Jaguars. Not so ecstatic.
However, the second half of the 2006 season may have begun to prove Evans as a much more consistent player. Evans scored six of his eight touchdowns in that stretch, including one in each of his last four games. The prognosis is looking good for Evans not just from an NFL standpoint, but from a fantasy standpoint as well.
What Has Changed?
Evans is yet another player whose stats will be helped out by the beefing-up of Buffalo's offensive line. Giving J.P. Losman just a fraction of a second longer to find open receivers could mean that Evans pushes the 100-catch mark this season; it also likely means that he will see a lot more short-to-intermediate work as well.
The addition of Marshawn Lynch helps Evans as well. Buffalo's versatility at running back, tight end and H-Back means that there are options in the short passing game (especially when you consider Josh Reed's proficiency there as well); if they play consistently enough on a week-to-week basis, it will keep the defense loose enough to try a famous Losman-to-Evans home run ball or two each week as well.
What Is The Same?
The chemistry between Losman and Evans. Outside of the Carson Palmer/Chad Johnson duo in Cincinnati last year, it is my belief that there was no better deep ball combination than Losman/Evans. That chemistry should only continue to develop as Losman gets more comfortable with Steve Fairchild's offense.
The receiving corps surrounding Evans is the same as well. While it is possible - even likely - that the likes of Peerless Price, Reed and Roscoe Parrish will see looks more often, it is clear that Evans is the go-to-guy. But the development of the underneath passing game will not allow opposing defenses to key on Evans as much as they'd like to.
With a more diversified attack, my guess is that the Bills will look to spread the ball around more than they did last season. That means that, in my mind, Evans won't catch as many passes as he did a year go. But his fantasy prowess is going to improve, meaning that he'll pack more punch with each reception.
74 receptions, 1200 yards, 9 TD
Buffalo's offense is still very young and unproven, so at this point it's probably advisable to let another owner think that Evans can anchor their receiving corps from the get-go. But if Lee is still available and you draft him as your #2, you should feel ecstatic; it's likely by the end of the season that you'll have two #1 wideouts on your fantasy squad.