The departure of WR Steve Johnson leaves a starting spot open on the outside with the Buffalo Bills. The team, and fantasy football owners alike, think that second-year wide receiver Robert Woods is ready to step into that starting role.
When Woods was on the field last season, he looked very comfortable with QB E.J. Manuel. Woods hauled in several long bombs (9-20+ yards, 4-40+ yards) and the former USC standout even made a couple tiptoe catches on the sideline. Woods is expected to start opposite of rookie WR Sammy Watkins this season and the promotion will instantly add to the young wideout’s overall fantasy appeal.
Despite battling injuries and inconsistent quarterback play all season, Woods still had six games in which he hauled in over 60 receiving yards. He may not have recorded any 100-yards games, but he still matured into a legitimate deep threat wideout in his first year in WNY. Woods will take another big step forward in 2014.
Manuel missed a good chunk (six games) of last season, and as a result, the sophomore signal caller will be out of sync with every receiver on the roster this summer. The offense will have to put in a lot of time on the field this offseason to get back on track and Woods will have to work tirelessly to regain that trust with his young quarterback.
Woods missed a lot of time last year as well with a nagging ankle injury. He already had surgery this off-season to repair the ankle and the wideout’s health will suddenly be a concern all season long. If he misses time in OTAs or training camp, the wideout will be behind even more.
The bottom line is that Woods is still an unproven fantasy commodity. The youngster hasn’t had much real NFL experience (40 career catches) and is bound to make more rookie mistakes, so fantasy fans shouldn’t expect him to be an All-Star fantasy option from Week 1.
Woods is one of the true sleeper wideouts this fantasy season. He won’t be drafted within the first eight rounds and will quickly be forgotten about as the draft moves on. If you are looking for a sleeper to grab as a WR5 this August, look no further than Robert Woods.
Bye Week: 9
Projected Round: 12
Auction Value: $1