Bills wide receiver battle provides intriguing fantasy upside

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills have a handful of young players fighting for playing time at the wideout positions. We break down the fantasy implications.

After years of underwhelming wide receiver production, the Buffalo Bills used the draft to inject some youth into the position. Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Da'Rick Rogers and T.J. Graham are all fighting for targets alongisde veteran Stevie Johnson.

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Johnson missed Sunday's preseason opener with a hamstring injury, so the kids got a chance to show their stuff against the Indianapolis Colts. Woods got one of the starting positions and was productive, catching four passes on five targets for 32 yards. Graham was the starter, but had just one reception for nine yards. The Bills offense was put on training wheels with raw rookie E.J. Manuel at the helm, limiting the first team receivers on the stat sheet.

Goodwin didn't record any catches or targets, but he did show off his blazing speed in the return game, taking a kickoff 107 yards to the house. He seems to have the return job on lockdown.

Rogers went undrafted amid multiple character concerns, but he's been staying out of trouble and caught a touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel on his only reception of the game.

Out of all the young receivers, it was unheralded Marcus Easley who led the team in receiving, hauling in seven catches for 94 yards. He spent his rookie year on the practice squad.

Fantasy impact: Johnson has one starting job sewn up, but the battle for the No. 2 position remains open. Woods is the current favorite to win the job, and the coaching staff likes Graham in the slot. Goodwin may be limited to special teams in his rookie year.

There is a lot of raw talent in this group and some good fantasy upside for Dynasty owners, but the 2013 outlook isn't as rosy.  Assuming Manuel wins the QB job, the team will use a run-first offense with a limited passing game, leading to a low fantasy ceiling for the pass-catchers. Johnson remains the only Bills receiver I can confidently recommend for re-draft players.

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