Shark Bites

In his 1st action since the big Sammy Watkins trade, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor looked out of sorts. He completed just 8 of 18 passes for 53 yards in Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles -- and was picked off twice. He had "as tough of a time as one could remember in his two-plus years in Buffalo," insider Joe Buscaglia wrote. In Taylor's defense, he played without Jordan Matthews and behind an offensive line that was regularly beat by the Eagles pass rush. But the QB has also reportedly been inconsistent in training camp. Remember that he's learning a new offense under OC Rick Dennison. One of our favorite late-round QB targets at the start of this month, Taylor is tough to like as more than a lower-end QB2 now.

New Bills WR Jordan Matthews suffered a chip fracture to his sternum in his 1st practice with the team Sunday, ESPN's Mike Rodak reports. The team announced Monday that it's considered a "week to week" situation. Any time that Matthews misses so close to the season just after joining a new team will obviously inhibit his ability to learn the offense and build rapport with QB Tyrod Taylor.

Bills RB Jonathan Williams practiced on Friday night, according to the Buffalo News' Jay Skurski. So much for the hamstring injury HC Sean McDermott said he suffered in Thursday's preseason opener. Williams was impressive in that one, carrying 4 times for 39 yards. If healthy, he's in line to serve as Buffalo's #2 RB.

The Bills made a pair of blockbuster trades on Friday afternoon. They sent WR Sammy Watkins and a 6th-round pick to the Rams in exchange for CB E.J. Gaines and a 2018 2nd-round pick. Then they acquired WR Jordan Matthews and a 2018 3rd-rounder from the Eagles in exchange for CB Ronald Darby. Whoah. This is a downgrade in WR talent for the Bills, although Matthews has obviously been more reliable from a durability standpoint. We'll see how he fits into an offense that also just signed slot WR Anquan Boldin. Although Matthews is moving to a run-heavier offense than the 1 he was part of in Philly, he looks like the best bet for targets in Buffalo.

Bills RB Jonathan Williams turned 4 carries into 39 yards in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Vikings. He had runs of 8, 15 and 17 yards -- plus a 9-yarder called back by a holding penalty. Unfortunately, Williams' night ended with a hamstring injury. We'll see how long that keeps him out, but he certainly looks like the #2 RB in Buffalo -- and the handcuff to LeSean McCoy.

Eagles HC Doug Pederson said Tuesday that WR Jordan Matthews' role won't be reduced this year. It's been a tough offseason for Matthews. He was bandied about as a trade candidate, watched Philly add Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, dealt with knee tendinitis and has recently seen Nelson Agholor create all sorts of buzz. Matthews, though, is in the thick of his prime at 25 and has racked up 219 catches over his first 3 NFL seasons. This is a talented dude who doesn't deserve to be phased out of the offense. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Eagles' WR usage in preseason action.

The Bills have signed WR Anquan Boldin to a 1-year, $2.75 million deal. Boldin turns 37 in October but remained effective last year, posting a 67-584-8 line. He averaged just 8.7 yards per catch but caught 70.5% of his targets and was the team's top option in the red zone. Boldin figures to take over slot duties in Buffalo. He'll battle WR Zay Jones and TE Charles Clay for target behind top dog Sammy Watkins. In a low-volume passing game, Boldin will probably struggle for WR3 value. His arrival also hurts Jones' 2017 projection. The rookie figures to start on the outside but has more target competition on his hands.

Bills insider Joe Buscaglia believes WR Zay Jones is in the lead for the team's #2 WR job. He's competing primarily with Andre Holmes for that spot. Jones has improved every day in camp, per Buscaglia, and impressed with his route-running skills. Buscaglia compared the rookie to former Bills WR Stevie Johnson. We've already projected Jones to win the #2 spot on the depth chart and consider him a nice value at his dirt-cheap 14th-round price tag.

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (knee) has been a full participant at training camp so far, according to insider Zach Berman. "If I’m out there, they’re going to treat me like I’m 100 percent, so that’s how I’m going to play,” Matthews said. “I’m definitely getting better every single day. It’s a process. But every single day I go out there, I feel a little bit more like myself.” Good news here, but we're not putting this knee tendinitis issue completely to bed considering it's lingered for a year. He's also contending with a push from WR Nelson Agholor. Matthews has come off the board as WR48 in recent MFL10 drafts. He's a fine value at that point.

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews will be limited at the start of training camp as he continues to deal with knee tendinitis, HC Doug Pederson said Monday. Matthews dealt with the issue throughout the offseason program. Pederson doesn't expect the problem to stretch into the regular season, but it bears monitoring over the next few weeks. Matthews is a fine value right now at his 9th-round ADP.

Bills RB Jonathan Williams likes how he fits in new OC Rick Dennison's zone-blocking scheme. “There’s a lot of room for you to use your instincts,” Williams said. “It’s that stretch, one step, downhill cut and I think that fits my game just because that’s the type of back I am. A lot of people think I’m a big bruiser, but I feel I’m more of a slasher and I feel like slashing fits this offense.” Williams will head to training camp as the favorite for the #2 RB job. That spot has produced a pair of top-31 non-PPR RBs (and top 40 in PPR) over the last 2 seasons in Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee. Williams could present some standalone fantasy value in 2017 -- and be a weekly starter if LeSean McCoy goes down.

Chris Brown of the Bills' official website expects TE Charles Clay to be busy in new OC Rick Dennison's offense this season. As Brown points out, a TE finished top 2 on the team in catches and/or TDs in 5 of the last 10 seasons Dennison has served as an OC or QBs coach. Also working in Clay's favor is Buffalo's question mark at WR. Sammy Watkins has had trouble staying on the field, and the group behind him is unproven. Clay has finished 16th and 17th among TEs in PPR points in his first 2 seasons with the Bills. While his ceiling might not extend much higher, he's a big value at his current TE26 ADP.

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews says he expects to be ready for the start of training camp, per beat reporter Jeff McLane. Philly’s camp opens up on July 27. Matthews missed practice time this spring with knee tendinitis, although the team never expressed any concern. The 25-year-old enters a contract year with a lowered ceiling following the arrival of Alshon Jeffery.

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews was sidelined for Tuesday's minicamp practice with knee tendonitis. Matthews also missed the last couple of weeks of OTAs with the issue and battled it at times last year. The Eagles haven't expressed any concern, but Matthews' status will be worth monitoring when training camp opens next month.

Bills WR Zay Jones was a full participant in Thursday's minicamp practice, according to insider Chris Brown. The rookie ended up missing about 3 weeks with a sprained knee. He's still in line to serve as Buffalo's #2 WR this season. We'll see if the Bills land either Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker.

Bills HC Sean McDermott admitted that he's "concerned" with TE Charles Clay's knee. "It's something we have to manage moving forward in order to have him on the field for us, which is important moving forward," McDermott said. "He's a weapon for us." Clay has dealt with knee trouble since arriving in Buffalo back in 2015. It didn't cost him any games last year, but he was a regular on the injury report. A coach admitting concern this early in the year is certainly worrisome. Clay ranked 16th among TEs in PPR points last season and shouldn't be drafted as more than a TE2 this summer.

Bills WR Zay Jones suffered a knee injury in Tuesday's OTA practice. The team is calling it a "knee sprain" and labeling the rookie "week to week." We should get more details in the coming days. For now, there's no reason to believe Jones is in danger of missing any regular-season or even training-camp time. But any time on the sidelines is a missed opportunity for a rookie expected to play a significant role this year.

The Bills added QB Nathan Peterman in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. A broken hand and the emergence of Josh Dobbs crushed Peterman’s first 2 college seasons at Tennessee. He transferred to Pitt in 2015 and started the past 2 years, completing 61.1% of his passes with 47 TDs vs. 15 INTs. He ranked 8th in the nation in passing efficiency in 2016. Peterman is solid-but-unspectacular on tape, drawing Kirk Cousins comparisons from scouts and our own Matt Schauf. He’s also coming from a pro-style offense, which will help his transition to the next level. The Bills have been unwilling to commit to Tyrod Taylor as their long-term starter, so Peterman has a shot to get on the field sooner than later.

7:41pm EDT 4/28/17

The Bills traded up to the 37th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft to select East Carolina WR Zay Jones. He certainly checks the production and measurables boxes. Jones set Division I records for single-season catches (158 last year) and career catches (399). Then he went to the Combine and earned a 94th percentile SPARQ score, running a 4.45-second 40 and faring well in the agility drills for a 6’2, 201-pounder. Jones is decidedly less impressive on tape, though. Much of his production at East Carolina was manufactured. And he doesn’t appear to play as athletically as he tested. On the plus side, he understands how to create separation — especially against zone coverage — and possesses a strong pair of mitts. In Buffalo, he has a pretty clear path to the #2 WR job, with only guys like Philly Brown and Andre Holmes to beat out. But, at least in the short term, Jones will be clearly behind Sammy Watkins for targets in a run-heavy offense. He'd do well to return WR3 value in 2017.

After trading down from 10th overall, the Bills drafted LSU CB Tre'Davious White. He should find an immediate shot to replace CB Stephon Gilmore, who signed with the Patriots in free agency. White picked 6 passes across 4 years, with no more than 2 in any season. He defensed a career-high 14 passes as a senior. White also delivered punt-return TDs in each of the past 3 seasons. Should he start, playing across from CB Ronald Darby might help direct throws to his side of the field. There's fantasy upside here if he starts.

 
 
 

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