The Buffalo Bills are going to win games because of their ground game, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had in the pass game. Now this recommendation is operating under the assumption that E.J. Manuel’s knee injury is not serious (watching it live, it looked much more like a bruise/stinger than a ligament tear, but I’m not a doctor) as Jeff Tuel looked Woods’ way plenty but missed him on all six targets with one going for six points in the other direction.
I like the upside of Robert Woods, especially if Stevie Johnson (back) misses extended time, based on his involvement early this season and his success in college. He’s a rookie in Buffalo so he isn’t on highlight shows all that often, but don’t forget that he totaled 187 catches for 2,138 yards and 26 touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons at USC. It is that excellence in warm weather that could pay dividends for Woods’ fantasy football owners late this season when Buffalo opens the fantasy playoff season with back-to-back warm weather games in Weeks 14 and 15.
As a pro, his numbers aren’t going to jump off the page at you (16 catches for 265 yards and two scores), but dig a little deeper and you’ll fall in love with his potential. His 16.6 yards per catch is no fluke: He ranks second in the NFL among all receivers (minimum 30 targets) with a 15.5 aDOT (average depth of target), trailing only the professional burner Torrey Smith (16.8).
The Bills offense has started to look the rookie’s way more and more as the season has progressed, a trend that should continue as Buffalo tries to stop defenses from loading the box. He’s been targeted at least eight times in three straight games after being targeted eight total times in his first two professional games, and even though the majority of those passes have fallen to the ground, it shows that the Bills are willing to give him a chance. If Johnson misses an extended amount of time, Woods’ upside only increases (again, assuming Manuel is healthy) as the Bills don’t have many lock down corners left on the schedule.
I expect Woods to improve as a possession receiver as he gains experience, making him a versatile threat. I prefer Woods to Kenbrell Thompkins and Cecil Shorts for the rest of the season, two receivers that are owned in over 80 percent of fantasy football leagues while Woods is owned in roughly one third.