It's that time of the NFL calendar year when fans begin gearing up for fantasy football drafts. Here's your complete guide to the Buffalo Bills and how their offensive personnel translate to the fantasy landscape this summer.
Must-draft Bills players
There's zero debate as to who Buffalo's top fantasy player is: C.J. Spiller is not only a first-round lock in nearly every format, but may prove to be one of the two or three best backs in fantasy this season. He'll see an increased workload, and production won't be an issue; the only question for Spiller is whether or not he'll be able to stay healthy as his per-game touch average increases.
Stevie Johnson, coming off of three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, will also be drafted in every league - though with a quarterback overhaul in progress, there's a bit more risk involved in drafting Johnson this season. Don't worry about his preseason hamstring issue - he's appeared in 48 straight games despite several other small dings since he emerged as a full-time starter in 2010.
Must-avoid Bills players
Buffalo's quarterback situation is clearly one to avoid, unless you're in a very deep league or a keeper league, where E.J. Manuel could prove to be a savvy investment. In most standard leagues with one starting quarterback, however, Manuel and Kevin Kolb are likely not worthy of draft picks. Kolb isn't worth anything more than tracking if Manuel isn't healthy at the start of the season in any format, as it's widely believed that Manuel will be in the starting lineup as soon as he's ready.
No Bills wide receiver has been as impressive in training camp as rookie third-round pick Marquise Goodwin, who has made explosive plays seem routine in the practice setting. The rookie season that Randall Cobb produced in 2011 (375 receiving yards, one touchdown, two more return touchdowns) seems like a good baseline for what Goodwin is capable of in 2013 - and he'll have more opportunities in this offense than Cobb did in Green Bay as a rookie. If Buffalo's quarterback play is even halfway competent, Goodwin could be a sneaky mid-season add with tremendous upside.
Other Bills of note
Depending on how confident you are in how much is left in the proverbial gas tank of 32-year-old Fred Jackson, he could be viewed as a sensible handcuff for Spiller owners. Robert Woods is a name to keep an eye on at receiver; he'll be a full-time starter, but he'll go as the quarterbacks go, and he'll be competing for intermediate throws with Johnson. If Goodwin struggles to develop early in the season, T.J. Graham could emerge as the team's deep receiver of choice. Scott Chandler has been a worthwhile bye-week fill-in over the last two seasons thanks to spurts of production in the red zone, but it's worth noting that he's coming back from injury. Dustin Hopkins takes over the team's kicking duties as a rookie; he has a very strong leg, but has struggled a bit with consistency in the camp setting. Finally, the team's defense will be much more aggressive this season and has looked improved in preseason action, but the jury is still out on an iffy secondary and one of the league's worst run defenses in recent seasons.