The Bills offense has to be seen to be believed.
When you see the generic name "Steve Johnson
" in the box score, it doesn't quite register that he's actually talented enough to have produced like a WR2 this year. When you see Ryan Fitzpatrick
ranks second in the NFL in quarterback rating and the Bills racked up over 500 yards in Baltimore, it just looks like a fluke.
I'm here to tell you that Fitzpatrick's performance against the Ravens was the best I've seen by a quarterback all season. He was decisive, deadly accurate, and not afraid to squeeze passes into tight windows. The ball wobbles sometimes, but it gets there. He's one of the best running quarterbacks in the league and doesn't shy away from contact. He has a red beard. And he throws a pretty deep ball to an underrated group of receivers.
Johnson is the guy to own of the group, although Lee Evans
isn't far behind. The reason Johnson gets the edge is that he's more versatile. He's not the fastest or biggest receiver, but he runs professional routes and has a knack for creating separation. He doesn't drop passes. He can go over the middle and break tackles. He gets YAC. His fantasy value should be here to stay because of his red zone ability.
Fitzpatrick says Johnson is the best receiver he's ever played with at creating space and making plays near the goal line. Whether that's hyperbole or not, Fitzpatrick is including Evans, Terrell Owens
, Chad Ochocinco
, Torry Holt
, Isaac Bruce
, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh
in that assessment.
I'm having a hard time even comparing Johnson to anyone. I thought perhaps a young, taller Laveranues Coles
. I asked folks on twitter
what they thought, and the differing answers show how tough Johnson is to classify: Deion Branch
, Houshmandzadeh, Bruce, Koren Robinson
, Derek Mason, Jerricho Cotchery
, Mario Manningham
, Donald Driver
and Roy Williams
came up. (Housh and Cotchery may be closest.)
Whoever Johnson is like, I think he's here to stay as a reasonable weekly WR3 option. Is it possible that I'm basing too much on one game? Perhaps, but there are reasons to think the Bills will provide fantasy goodness for a while:
1. We've been here before with Chan Gailey. He created something out of nothing with Tyler Thigpen
and the Chiefs. These Bills have better players.
2. The Bills offense has steadily improved for weeks; it wasn't just a one week thing.
3. The Bills defense is an epic disaster. Buffalo is going to have to try to score like crazy every week to keep up with them. There should be plenty of garbage time and comeback attempt points all year.
4. The Bills offensive line has stabilized. One of the craziest things about last week's game was watching Buffalo's line blow Baltimore off the ball on many occasions. Fred Jackson
had a few long gains called back. (His value is rising too.) The group protected Fitzpatrick well.
This week is a great test to show whether the Bills offense is for real. The Chiefs defense is rock solid, especially against the pass. It's another road game for the Bills, who didn't have two weeks to prepare for this game unlike last week.
Maybe you have to watch the Bills for yourself before buying in. I believe.Week 8 QuarterbacksEditor's Note:
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