I’ve come to realize that the NFL is a lot like a child with self-esteem issues. The league seems plenty attention-seeking. Every time I let myself wander over to getting excited about the upcoming baseball season and fantasy baseball preparation, something big seems to happen in the NFL world that draws me back to football. It sure has been a busy offseason in the NFL, and we’re only in the middle of March.
Coming in the next few days, I’ll throw out some random thoughts on some of the big names who already have signed and how their moves will affect the fantasy values of the players around them. Of course, there are countless other moves coming soon, too, that will warrant discussion, such as the fates of Jay Cutler, Torry Holt, Marvin Harrison and others.
While it is really early to speculate how certain offseason moves will pan out, it still is fun to look ahead and wonder just what might be. So, I offier a quick look today at the saga of Terrell Owens and his move to Buffalo, and what that may mean for others around him.
Terrell Owens has experience in leaving town in a tornado. In both San Francisco and Philadelphia, Terrell was a firestorm of controversy, and even a casual observer could tell that it was only a matter of time until he was asked to move on. In every transition, the one thing that remained consistent is that Terrell flourished in his new digs for at least one season. His first year with Philly, Owens finished with 1200 yards receiing and 14 touchdowns. His first season with Dallas netted him 1180 yards and 13 trips to the end zone. It is safe to say, looking at the small sample that we have to work with, that Terrell Owens will have at least one productive season with the Bills before the wheels fall off.
He definitely is older than he was when starting with Philly and Dallas, respectively, but he is a guy with something to prove. Remember that when leaving both San Fran and Philly, Owens basically forced the issue with totally outrageous comments and actions. This time, Owens was floored when told about his cut from the Cowboys. According to one teammate, Owens wasn’t mad because he was in utter shock. Could this cut be the one move that truly puts Terrell in his place? Only time will tell. However, I think it is safe to say that he’ll say the right things and do the right things to make this season a decent one.
That being said, I don’t think I’d trust Terrell as anything more than a high-end WR2 this season. Trent Edwards is no Steve Young, Donovan McNabb or Tony Romo. The Bills play multiple games against historically solid defenses in New England, Miami and even the Jets have improved defensively. This is also the farthest north that Owens has called home in the NFL, and additional games in the northern states this winter cold take its toll on his aging body.
However, again, Owens will do everything in his power to have a solid season, and that translates into improved stats for those around him. Marshawn Lynch, who has been struggling with the law as of late, is a very talented running back who saw increased defensive fronts as the season went on last year. Owens will open up the field and give Lynch some breathing room. Lynch carries risk, which will keep him cheaper on draft day, but he also has the potential to have a decent season for the Bills and could be a good value pick.
Trent Edwards is another player who stands to directly benefit from Terrell Owens’ signing. Before, he had Lee Evans and a group of question marks to throw to. Now, Owens and Evans will form a solid one-two punch and make things harder for opposing defenses to cover. Trent Edwards will have options. Yes, there is a good chance that Owens will take issue with Trent, especially when TO realizes that Edwards is the least talented QB who’s ever thrown to him at the NFL level, but again, it is a good assumption that Terrell will walk the line for at least one season. While I wouldn’t want Edwards as my starting QB this season, he does make a sneaky cheap backup option for perhaps a bye week fillin depending on the matchup. I recently got him for $1 in an auction dynasty draft.
Lee Evans has always been a streaky player — but will see more open field opportunities with Terrell drawing coverage away from him. However, Owens will demand most of Edwards passing attention, too, and Trent isn’t exactly going to be gunslinging it a ton of times. For now, I look at Evans as a decent backup WR with upside — but I wouldn’t want to start him on my roster.
Tony Romo’s fantasy value takes a hit, somewhat, with Terrell Owens leaving Dallas — but I do think that the move will make him a better NFL quarterback now that he doesn’t feel like he needs to direct all his passes one way. Romo has enough other WRs with upside around him to still be considered a solid top-7 QB, if not top-5 (although it is hard for me to rank him ahead of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers — and a case could be made for either Philip Rivers and/or Jay Cutler ahead of Romo as a fantasy QB option.
Roy Williams sees a significant uptick in value, as he becomes the main down-field threat. Of course, with Jason Witten, Marcellus Bennett, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and others, it isn’t that Romo doesn”t have options. There is enough talent there to keep Roy from constantly being double-teamed. This could be Roy’s first real opportunity to show people that he was worth a high first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2004.
How do you think the Terrell Owens move to Buffalo affects everyone’s fantasy value? We’d love to hear your opinion.