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Buffalo Bills fantasy football primer: Wide receivers

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The group looks fairly similar to receiving corps of the past

Drafting a Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver in a fantasy football draft often elicits some fun reactions. The truth of the matter is that very few Buffalo receivers have historically produced great fantasy seasons. Even Sammy Watkins and his electric 2015 season was really only a great half a season; he finished 11th in scoring at the receiver position in standard (non-PPR) leagues.

The last time a Bills’ receiver finished in the top-ten in standard scoring among receivers? Lee Evans in 2006. The only player in the last twenty years to finish in the top-ten in receiving multiple times is Eric Moulds, who did so in 1998 and 2002.

Does this mean that you should avoid drafting Bills’ receivers? Absolutely not! Sammy Watkins is in a contract year, Zay Jones is a promising rookie, and Andre Holmes has done a nice job so far in camp when he’s been in the red zone (and when he’s been able to hold onto the football). Rod Streater has consistently beaten weaker competition, and it’s possible that he will begin to earn more opportunity as camp continues. Corey “Philly” Brown is another veteran who could see time when the team opens the seasons against the New York Jets on September 10.

Yahoo! has four Buffalo receivers projected to score points this season—Watkins (193.1), Jones (135.8), Holmes (118.6), and Brown (78.8). Those point totals reflect a .5 PPR scoring system. If those projections hold, Watkins would end the season as the 19th-best wide receiver in fantasy football. Yahoo! projects that Watkins will catch 73 passes for 1,054 yards and 8 touchdowns. Those 73 catches are projected to come on only 106 targets, by far the lowest total of any top-20 receiver they’ve projected. Jones is projected to finish 67th among receivers, and Yahoo! estimates that he’ll be targeted 96 times, finishing with 64 receptions, 789 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Holmes is expected to rank 79th among wideouts. His slash line of 46/700/4 is projected to come on 76 targets. Brown is projected to finish 102nd among receivers, slashing 38/472/2 on 66 targets.

While Watkins is projected to finish 19th among receivers, he is currently being drafted as the 17th receiver off the board. His ADP is 38.7, and with an average draft round of 4.7, people are targeting him early and often. He has been drafted in 100% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues, so if you’re willing to roll the dice on a huge bounce-back year from number 14, you’ll have to invest a premium pick to make him yours. If you’d rather wait on Zay Jones to provide your Bills’ receiver fix in your fantasy life, you can—he’s currently being selected at number 127.3 on average, going in round 13.9. He’s also only been drafted in 4% of Yahoo! drafts, so he’ll almost certainly be available if you want him. He’s well undervalued, as he’s currently going as the 93rd receiver off the board.

Thinking of drafting Andre Holmes or Corey Brown? You’re in the minority. Holmes is only owned in 1% of leagues right now, and Brown isn’t owned in any, so if you’re looking to invest in one of them, they will be there. In terms of auction values for the Bills’ receivers, only Watkins is going for more than a dollar at present; he’s averaging $24, and Yahoo! values him at $27. I think Zay Jones for a buck is a heck of a deal, but Watkins for $24 isn’t too shabby, either.

Once we’ve seen some preseason games, we’ll update these projections and add a few of our own.

Our second installment of our Buffalo Bills fantasy football preview series examines the Bills’ wide receivers. If you missed our preview of the quarterback position, check it out here.