The Vikings and Bills are two teams that could establish new fantasy football studs in 2013, and audiences will get to see an early glimpse at how that could come to be. The teams will face each other Friday night and bring new elements of speed to offenses with already devastating running games.
For the Bills, their running game is fronted by C.J. Spiller, whose average draft position is sixth overall and he looks entirely deserving of this amount of hype so far. He has the trust of his coaches to keep feeding him the rock, and in the team's preseason opener versus the Colts, he looked fearsome while carrying the ball four times for 36 yards. It's worth mentioning that his day came to an end after fumbling a handoff from E.J. Manuel, but that's nothing to be concerned about at this point.
Speaking of Manuel, he will not start versus the Vikings despite an encouraging preseason debut, where he led an efficient two-minute drill that culminated with a touchdown pass. Kevin Kolb will instead get first cracks, and that's not so much an indictment on Manuel as it is head coach Doug Marrone allowing Kolb a rebuttal for the sake of competition. Manuel is still the favorite to be under center Week 1, and fantasy owners would prefer it that way, given Manuel's upside as a dual threat quarterback. Dynasty owners will hope for that as well, and also look for Robert Woods to continue his strong summer showing. A few more solid performances from him will let him have the receiver spot across from Stevie Johnson locked up.
As for the Vikings, we know what their identity is with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, but expect them to keep him on the sidelines while they continue to assess their passing game. The Vikings attempted 33 passes to just 15 rush attempts to open the preseason, and with new receivers in Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, that trend ought to continue. Jennings only saw two snaps in his Vikings preseason debut though the team is expected to take the training wheels off him in due time.
Patterson asserted himself in the passing game a week ago, and he is ready to prove that he is worth the first-round investment the Vikings made in him. He showed the same explosiveness as he did on tape at the University of Tennessee, and he will see extended action this summer in an attempt to build a rapport with Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. Patterson has the look of a home-run threat who could have a Josh Gordon-like impact in his rookie season, giving him the potential of a WR3/WR4 in standard scoring leagues.