by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It was a rather underwhelming season for Buffalo wide receivers and tight ends, especially with Sammy Watkins being limited to eight games and 28 catches. With their star out of the picture, no one stepped up and claimed the opportunity:
- Robert Woods – 51 receptions
- Charles Clay – 57 receptions
- Marquise Goodwin – 29 receptions
Part of the blame can be put at the feet of Tyrod Taylor, though he did complete 61.7% of his passes for 3,023 yards (188.7 yards per game). Part of the blame can be put on a run dominated attack, with nearly 500 rushing attempts. However you slice it, though, the group was bad in ’16 and that should mean opportunity for someone to emerge. Enter second round selection Zay Jones, who has little competition for a starting role.
Drafted out of East Carolina University, Jones is coming off a season where he caught 158 passes for 1,746 yards. Obviously scheme helped to skew the numbers in his favor, but Mike Maycock was quoted prior to the draft as saying:
“I thought along with Haason Reddick, he handled the process better than anybody in college football. He’s got hands and toughness. … People thought he couldn’t run because most of his offense was underneath. I’ll tell you right now, he ran away from people at the Senior Bowl. He went from a third- or fourth-round selection to a high second-round because he trusted the process.”
Listed at 6’2” and 201 lbs., Jones has the potential and opportunity to make an instant impact. We do have to keep things in perspective, as Buffalo has never been a hot bed for gaudy wide receiver numbers. In 2015 Watkins led the way with 60 catches. In 2014 it was running back Fred Jackson with 66. In 2013 no one had more than 53 catches. Maybe something changes, but with a defensive minded coach it’s not a guarantee.
Of course Jones is currently the 61st wide receiver coming off the board. That’s a promising spot given the chances he should have, and he’s a nice target as a WR5 to fill out your roster (and definitely in dynasty formats). However, that’s about all he’s worth at this point given the likelihood that Watkins and LeSean McCoy dominate the touches.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings: