The Buffalo Bills finished the 2006 season at 7-9. With room for improvement in the receiving corps, the team did very little. Or nothing depending on the level of kindness one wants to show. With the growth of QB J.P. Losman and the emergence of WR Lee Evans, maybe Bills management felt there was no reason to address those areas.
Losman improved over his 2005 season especially in his accuracy. Going from a completion rate of 49.6% to a 62.5% covers-up any detractors to the statement that he improved. While his 14 INTs were acceptable, the seven lost fumbles were not. If he can hold the INTs steady while learning to hold on to the ball, he may be able to lead the Bills to an improved record. However, he is going to need a receiver or two to step up when opposing defenses pay more attention to WR Lee Evans.
Evans broke out with 1,292 yards receiving. Given two consecutive seasons of 48 receptions, the leap to 82 last season indicates an improvement that is likely permanent. With YPC averages of 17.6, 15.5 and 15.8 in his first three seasons, Evans provides added points in leagues with bonuses for TD reception length. Unfortunately for Evans, he has no obvious #2 to help draw away double teams.
Given the consistency of the Bills rushing totals the past two seasons, rookie Marshawn Lynch should be expected to get a 1,000 yards if there is a more than slight splitting of carries with last season's #2 rusher, Anthony Thomas. If Lynch is everything the Bills hoped their first round pick to be, then a return to the 1,200 yard levels of Willis McGahee is reasonable. The question is what kind of TD levels to expect. If Losman can find more receiving options to move the ball inside the twenty, then McGahee's 13 in 2004 is more reasonable. If not, then mid-single digits is the likely total.
In the past two seasons, the reception yards of the top TE have been negligible (233 and 178) as have those of the top receiving RB (139 and 156). Will Lynch be a good enough receiver in his rookie year (350+ yards) to become a viable option for Losman? Can Losman incorporate that aspect into a game plan he has spent a year-and-a-half using that did not rely upon a RB or TE?
On special teams, Rian Lindell has a good leg and is only held back by the offense's ability to get into scoring position. The defense is OK, but the special teams play of Terrence McGee and Roscoe Parrish offer the potential for a return TD and will thus make the Bills one of the last ones drafted in deep leagues, and amongst the first added once the need arises.
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