As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each season and week of DFS, different factors are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into a starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, suspension or simply a change to the depth chart.
The news on Sammy Watkins has been getting progressively worse all season. It started with him playing through a sore foot if he could tolerate the pain, turned into missing a game, and has evolved to the point that the star WR has been placed on IR — which will keep him out a minimum of seven more weeks.
In all likelihood, it appears just a matter of time until surgery is elected and Watkins is sidelined for the remainder of 2016.
Buffalo was a grind it out running team to begin with. That obviously won’t change, but the passing attack can’t be avoided just because Watkins is gone. With Tyrod Taylor at the helm, expect Robert Woods to get the majority of the looks as the next man up.
Woods is an easy receiver to forget, especially with Watkins on the field. During the two games Watkins played this season, Woods only saw a combined seven passes come his way (bringing in five for a mere 30 yards).
With Watkins out of the mix the past two games? Yup, it’s been a totally different story.
Woods has been targeted 18 total times in Weeks 3 and 4, making 13 grabs for 140 yards. It’s nothing heroic, but I’d expect him to begin meshing more with Tyrod Taylor AKA T-Mobile as the “go-to-guy” and inevitably find his way into the end zone a handful of times (as he has throughout his career).
I mentioned Woods can be forgettable at times as he’s never been the top option on a team that isn’t exactly known for slinging the ball. However, he’s had a really solid career for the Bills.
Here’s a quick look at his career in Buffalo:
2013: 14 G, 40 REC, 587 YDS, 3 TD.
2014: 16 G, 65 REC, 699 YDS, 5 TD.
2015: 14 G, 47 REC, 552 YDS, 3 TD.
2016 should set up to not only be a bounce back season for Woods, but also a career year.
Keep in mind this is a high second-round pick we’re talking about (41st overall in 2013 out of USC — where he went for nearly 1,300 yards and 15 TDs as a sophomore), so the talent has always been there. Woods has 11 career touchdowns through three seasons with the Bills, and has always been solid yardage-wise when you consider he’s typically been a third option.
The other thing that should help keep Woods’ targets remain high is the fact that the Bills simply don’t have anyone else. Charles Clay will produce as a TE and LeSean McCoy will get his looks out of the backfield, of course. Otherwise, Taylor will target Marquise Goodwin downfield for an occasional bomb, but he’s only hauled in 4-of-15 targets this season.
Woods is going to be the guy that moves the chains and gets the red zone looks when it comes to the Bills’ passing game. I’d keep an eye out for him to breakout, and I’m expecting 800+ yards and about six touchdowns over the final 12 games of 2016.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.