The Bills started last season 5-2; knocking off the Patriots and looking like a whole new team. The Bills finished last season 1-8; losing momentum and looking like a team without a direction. This defensive line is looking fierce, with Marcell Darius, Mario Williams (maybe I'll coin the term M&M for these guys), and Jairus Byrd playing as one of the best safeties in the league. If this defense can keep their act together all season then this team will win plenty of games, but they still might not be able to overtake the patriots as division leaders. I would put this defense in the top 10 in the league and would advocate drafting them in the 13th or 14th round.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick had serious issues with picks last season, earning him the name "Pickspatrick," he did play quite well. If you look at his career stats, you'll see that one of his biggest weaknesses is his propensity to fumble the ball. Even though he only lost two fumbles last season, he put the ball on the ground 7 times. The year before he put the ball on the ground 8 times and lost 5 of them. Those fumbles and interceptions are going to kill you in fantasy, especially if Fitzpatrick can't be a more consistent passer. Now I can cut him some late season slack. Playing QB in Buffalo in December is not one of the easiest tasks in the world, but he should play well all season after signing a huge contract extension last year. I think we can expect 3,900 yards and 28 touchdowns from Fitzpatrick this season, but he seems like he is destined to end up with 16-20 interceptions and another 4-6 fumbles. I think he is a strong QB2 in all fantasy leagues, and will fill in admirably if your starter succumbs to injury.
The running situation became a lot more clouded once Fred Jackson went down and C.J. Spiller stepped up and starting playing football. I was high on C.J. Spiller each of the two years he was in the league, but the boy just could not become a real football player. Instead, Fred Jackson stepped up and became one of the biggest surprises of the early season. I would imagine that Fred Jackson will win a competition between the two players IF his age hasn't caught up to him. He has had truly limited carries throughout his career, but at 31 years old and coming off of an injury, it could be difficult for him to get back in shape for the season. On the other hand, Spiller is 24 years old and is finally growing up. He was an excellent back during the final few weeks of the season, and I would be surprised if he did not beat out Jackson during training camp. I do worry that he will have lost some of his ferocity from last season, but his pure physical power and speed should top what Jackson can give at this point in his career. I would say that Spiller is a solid 5th round pick, but could be replaced there by Fred Jackson if Jackson can beat him out in camp.
The passing game for the Bills is much less uncertain. Steve Johnson (I always thought he was Stevie Johnson) should be good for 70-80 catches and a little over 1,000 yards. I can't see him having a huge season, but he should be good for about 150-170 points this season in fantasy. He will certainly have some 16-18 point games, but he will also have a few 2-3 point games. It is simply the nature of the position. Avoid playing him if you can against the Jets, although he has played pretty well against Revis in the past. The second receiver on this team, David Nelson, was a decent player all through last season. He has shown real improvement during his first two years in the league and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up getting 800 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. Scott Chandler, the Bills tight end, is completely infuriating from a fantasy prospective. He is purely a goal-line player who managed to score 6 touchdowns with only 389 yards this season. When you see him on waivers with 12 yards and 2 touchdowns you might wish you had him, but I would strongly suggest against picking him up. He has been a journeyman until last season, and while he might be worth drafting, especially in deep leagues, he will probably not be worth holding on to. If you have an amazing team with a poor tight end, you could consider adding him and hoping that he has a nice season, but I wouldn't count on it.
As indicated above, this defense should play well this season, but the Bills do not have a great kicker. Don't even consider him as an option. Period.