Okay, it depends how deep your fantasy league is, because let’s face it: Bills receivers — no matter how many looks they get — don’t typically get a ton of fantasy football love. But still, watch out for David Nelson and Donald Jones, who the Bills seem to believe can emerge as go-to receivers.
Why else would the team be willing to part with Lee Evans?
An Evans trade has reportedly been in the works for quite some time, but Bills general manager Buddy Nix offered up a rather ambiguous denial earlier today on Sirius NFL Radio. ”I won’t comment on Lee specifically,” Nix told Ross Tucker. “As a whole, we’re always looking to upgrade and create competition on our roster. We’re all capable of being replaced, including me.”
While Evans’ production has declined since 2008, the former first-round pick is still slated to start this year in Orchard Park. And Buffalo’s receiving corps isn’t exactly deep. Tack on the fact that Roscoe Parrish recently suffered a potentially serious leg injury and it appears that Nelson and/or Jones could be given a massive opportunities in 2011.
Both players contributed as undrafted rookies in 2010, but Nelson got significantly more attention. He finished the season with 353 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Nelson is sort of a slot specialist, so he won’t necessarily be counted on to fill Evans’ shoes, but the team obviously feels as though the former Florida Gator can work as an ideal complement to Pro Bowl-caliber wideout Stevie Johnson.
As the No. 4 option in the Bills’ offense last year, Nelson emerged as a reliable fallback option, especially in a few clutch situations.
“Last year, we had a lot of talented undrafted receivers, but he was the one in particular — how he didn’t get drafted, I have no idea,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick told a local Buffalo radio station in June. “I think he can become one of those premier slot guys in the league, like Brandon Stokley was with the Colts, and really a red zone threat, which we saw at the end of last year.”
But on Monday, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made some waves when he suggested Jones might be a fantasy sleeper.
“The Bills are going to throw it a lot,” wrote King. “Jones could be the second-most productive receiver to Stevie Johnson, with apologies to Lee Evans.” He also noted that Jones, who amassed a mere 213 yards to go with one touchdown in 2010, is “a favorite of the coaches and the quarterback.”
It’s worth thinking about, but if Evans get traded and Parrish fades into the periphery, you’ll have to decide between the two undrafted Buffalo rookies. I’m not prepared to recommend one guy or the other — I’ll just suggest that you wait for the final few rounds before even considering a Buffalo Bill not named Johnson, Jackson or Spiller.