Faceoff - QB J.P. Losman, Buffalo Bills
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Upside - by David Yudkin
The Bills defense and special teams played magnificently over the latter part of 2004, providing the team exceptional field position and enabling the offense to rely on Willis McGahee.
Even Drew Bledsoe performed much better, averaging 1.6 TD and almost 200 yards passing per game over the last 7 games of the season (up from 1.0 and 170 early in the year). Bledsoe, of course, has moved on to become a part of the Cowboys' youth movement at QB, leaving Losman as the starter in Buffalo.
Losman is currently projected as the #29 quarterback with just 2,676 passing yards and 17 TD. Even Bledsoe managed a #19 ranking last year, and while Losman is raw and inexperienced, he should still be considered an upgrade.
After all, the Bills still have two talented WR in Eric Moulds and Lee Evans, both of whom should make a run at 1,000 yards receiving. If the Bills develop another receiving threat to go along with that duo, Losman could have a much better season than he's projected for.
The defense and special teams should be solid again, but it's likely that they won't produce the same amount of turnovers and prime starting field position that they did last year. During their hot stretch last year, the Bills had the good fortune of having to travel under 60 yards on average to reach the end zone-excluding last second change of possessions at the end of halves and it was closer to 50 yards.
Factoring all these items together, the Bills will most likely have to pass more instead of less, and Losman should actually perform better than Bledsoe did.
Downside - by Marc Levin
J.P. Losman is taking over what should be a solid offense – great WRs in Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and Josh Reed combined with a potentially elite young running back in Willis McGahee should be a formula for NFL success (it worked for Tommy Maddox and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh). The problem for Losman is that he is still VERY raw, and has not shown particular aptitude in his play in training camp or preseason.
Plus, the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line has questionable pass protection even before you factor in the injuries the team has suffered to its depth at the position (two OGs were lost for the season during training camp). Finally, the Bills are a defensive minded, ball control team. These factors are all signs of a poor fantasy showing for Losman in 2005. Inexperienced QB who is still learning the game, unsettled protection from the offensive line, heavily run based and conservative offensive scheme, and an elite scoring defense that will rarely force the quarterback into a position where he will have to run up the score to win the game. Sounds a lot like Kyle Boller with better receivers – that will not set the fantasy world on fire.