First off, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that the proper Buffalo Bills uniform wasn’t available for Timothy Tebow, and he’s had to inherit Ryan Fitzpatrick’s number and hairy arms.
Also, let’s establish off the top that the likelihood of the event that’s about to be described actually becoming a real thing that’s the worst or best thing ever is so very, very low. Oh, and one more disclaimer before we go about the business of making Bills fans — those quite rightfully happy upstate New Yorkers after learning that their team will stick around for at least seven more years — vomit up a lunch they haven’t had yet. As I’ve written repeatedly, I’m not among the eight remaining lost souls who still think Tebow is a viable starting NFL quarterback, and I’m approaching this strictly from a fantasy perspective.
Alright, let’s get on with this then.
Tebow leaving New York in the offseason is, at this point, a mere formality. Or so it seems at least, given the now near daily reports of dissatisfaction on both sides, with Tebow already speaking in the past tense regarding his time as a Jet, and management reportedly set to seek a trade. Because if any quarterback has value on the trade market, it’s one who had only two true suitors last spring in the Jets and Jaguars (or Jag-Wires to some…the worst). The far more realistic expectation is for Tebow to be granted his release, and thus the cycle will begin anew.
When that happens we’ll continue debating where he could possibly find a home to start, because debating is what we do with Tim Tebow, even though he’s been a backup quarterback for a year, and has been entirely irrelevant as it relates to the actual act of playing football. The typical QB-needy destinations will be tossed around, with the Jags and Chiefs leading the list. But if there’s even a shred of an opportunity for Tebow to become the fantasy stud QB he was a year ago and rekindle that 2011 Denver magic, there’s only one destination to where that seems likely.
The casual viewer still wants to cite Tebow’s win-loss record in 2011 as though it means anything, anything at all. It’s a completey hollow statistic, and the even moderately educated football fan knows that there were a list of factors far out of Tebow’s control that led to the Broncos’ resurgence. Oh sure, Tebow played his part, but Willis McGahee played an even larger role after he was given an opportunity to start for the first time since 2007, racking up 1,199 rushing yards. Over his previous two seasons in Baltimore, McGahee had 924 yards. The combination of the running threats presented by both Tebow and McGahee powered the success of the option offense adopted by the Broncos that led to the messiah’s 660 rushing yards over just 11 starts.
And the defense played an even more significant role, specifically the pass rush of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Denver finished 2011 with 41 sacks after having only 32 in 2010, a jump that helped to hold the opposition to 15 points or less in five of Tebow’s starts, and consistently provide him with great field position to become the late-game hero.
How does that translation to the Ralph, and Tebow again becoming the Tebow who had 195 fantasy points a year ago despite playing in far less than a full season (an average of 17.7 fantasy points per start)? The Bills have the pieces in place to be the poor man’s 2011 Broncos.
Let’s explore, and please stop throwing socks full of crap at me.
McGahee = C.J. Spiller: Not much debate is needed here. You’re my boy, Willis, by C.J. can easily provide an equal and surely greater read-option threat with his 6.5 yards per carry right now.
Demaryius Thomas = Stevie Johnson: The numbers — or at least this year’s numbers — don’t compare favorably, but that’s primarily due to the two drastically different quarterback situations. But what matters is that Johnson can match Thomas’ speed and down field ability, and accumulate yards after the catch on intermediate routes. In the brief time they were able to work together, that’s where Tebow and Thomas thrived.
Dumervil and Miller = Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Kyle Williams, and Marcel Dareus: Again, I said the poor man’s 2011 Broncos. But this may be closer than you think, especially if Anderson can stay healthy next year. After a slow start Mario Williams now has 10.5 sacks, while Kyle is still bringing pressure from the inside, and has brought the opposing quarterback down five times, and Dareus has 3.5. Overall the Bills currently have 33 sacks, making it possible for them to finish close to Denver’s 2011 number (41).
Then there’s the secondaries, with Denver’s led by an aging Champ Bailey. Last year they allowed 231.5 passing yards per game, a number that’s improved to 216.1 this year. The Bills with their collection of early-round defensive backs highlighted by Stephon Gilmore last spring still compare favorably, as they’re ranked 15th while giving up 225.1 yards per game through the air.
What’s most important, though, are the offensive components between Spiller and Fred Jackson, and Johnson on the outside, with Donald Jones possibly even able to mature and do an Eric Decker imitation by becoming Tebow’s possession receiver.
It won’t happen, but dammit, let’s dream our fantasy dreams. Bills GM Buddy Nix has strongly hinted at a desire to move on from Ryan Fitzpatrick through the draft with a young quarterback and take a new direction. There’s a fit here, but it would be a matter of philosophy, and the Tebow philosophy — the one that requires building an entire offense around an extremely unique and highly inaccurate quarterback — is one that few teams have.
A year ago last week Tebow had 26 fantasy points against the Patriots during fantasy semi-final week. Please come back, Tim.
Blame Scott Lewis for forever tarnishing the Bills’ jersey with his Photoshop work