The lengthy playoff drought of the Buffalo Bills will continue this year, with a 6-9 record heading into Sunday’s season finale against the New England Patriots. An unsettled quarterback situation has not helped, as rookie EJ Manuel has missed five games due to ongoing knee issues, but the future looks bright with a young group of wide receivers that has shown some promise and a running back in C.J. Spiller that is still firmly in his prime.
Robert Woods heads into Week 17 third on the Bills in receiving yards (560) and tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (three), despite missing two games with an ankle issue. He has had the ups and downs often associated with rookie wide receivers, including most recently being ejected from last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins after throwing a punch. It is worth noting that he has 26 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns in the eight games he and Manuel have played together, compared to just 13 catches for 154 yards in the five games Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel have started under center for the Bills.
Steve Johnson will remain a veteran presence in Buffalo’s receiving corp for the foreseeable future, since he is under contract through 2016, but he has been away from the team due to a personal issue and the team’s younger wide receivers (Woods, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham) are in line for some extended playing time against the Patriots on Sunday. Woods is the most polished player in the group, and as long as Manuel returns after missing last week’s game he should benefit the most from Johnson’s unfortunate absence.
I don’t think Woods will emerge as an elite fantasy wide receiver in 2014, but he has a chance to be an asset in PPR leagues if Manuel puts this season’s knee issues behind him and is able to play a full 16-game slate.