The Buffalo Bills surprised the nation by signing Terrell Owens to a one-year contract on March 2. Even though this marriage has “bad idea” written all over it, Buffalo is rolling the dice by bringing on the declining malcontent. If the decision leads to a playoff berth, the front office will be heralded for the genius move. More likely however, is that Buffalo will miss the playoffs yet again. From a fantasy perspective, how does the signing affect TO and his new and former teammates?
Do not make the mistake of drafting Owens as your top WR in 2009, as he is likely to finish outside the top 10-15 WRs. In fact, I wouldn’t even rely on him to be your WR2. Yes, he notched over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in 2008, but the Bills don’t get into the red zone at the same clip as the Cowboys do. Furthermore, Owens is 35 years old and has seen a marked drop in his production, so much so that most teams around the league weren’t even willing to offer him a deal. I would expect about 900 yards and 4-6 TDs from Owens in 2009, followed by a possible retirement before the 2010 season.
Here’s where the signing makes sense for Buffalo. As the only receiving weapon on the team, defenses keyed in on stopping Evans, which led to his inability to find the end zone (despite securing a 1,000-yard season, Evans reached the end zone only three times). Presumably, teams will respect Owens underneath and that should allow Evans to use his speed to beat single coverage. Add it up and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Evans triple his TD total, while slightly increasing his already-respectable yardage numbers.
It can be a chore to work with TO when you are the team leader and the voice in the huddle. This year is going to show us exactly the type of QB Edwards is and whether he can be a star QB or not. Edwards completed over 65% of his passes last year but only amassed 2,700 yards, due to constantly having to check down. Theoretically, by opening up the field for Evans, Owens should help Edwards’ numbers, and we could see the Buffalo QB reach 3,000 yards and 20 TDs. It all depends on Edwards’ ability to lead in a TO-plagued locker room.
With Owens leaving town, someone is going to have to step up and fill the void in Dallas. The team is very confident that Austin can be that player. If Dallas doesn’t make any major additions at the position before the preseason, Austin is a veritable sleeper heading into 2009 drafts.
The one WR on the market that makes perfect sense for the Cowboys to add is Jones. The Arkansas alum would fit nicely into the role that TO once held, so much so that I expect him to sign with the Cowboys any day. In Dallas, Jones would have serious upside, and you can use the 1,000 yards and 10 TDs of TO as a baseline for his production. When you factor in his youth and growth potential, he could definitely surpass that baseline.
R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years. He is addicted to fantasy sports and loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
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