Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy could split third-down snaps for Bills

Even without a marquee quarterback, the Buffalo Bills should have several players who register on the fantasy sports radar this season.

Running back LeSean McCoy, wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin and Robert Woods, and tight end Charles Clay will all generate interest when fantasy drafts fire up this August.

But what about Fred Jackson?

With McCoy as the "bell cow" of the Bills' backfield -- as coach Rex Ryan put it at the NFL owners meetings last week -- the best spot for Jackson to make an impact this season could be on third downs.

Last season, Jackson took 72 percent of third-down snaps with four or more yards to gain for a first down. He ran eight times in those situations (for no first downs) and caught 15 passes (for seven first downs), otherwise serving as the team's best blocker in blitz pick up.

The Eagles used McCoy on 41 percent of such plays last season, with Darren Sproles leading the team's runners with 48 percent of third-and-long snaps. McCoy ran twice (both for first downs) and caught two passes (one for a first down) in those situations.

Ryan envisions both McCoy and Jackson taking third-down snaps this season.

"We're deep in the backfield, with Boobie Dixon and Fred Jackson," Ryan said last week. "Obviously, we're deep. They'll all play, there's no question about it. Specific roles, is [Jackson] always going to be a third-down back? No.

"When you have a talent like Fred Jackson back there, that'll be part of his role. He won't always be the third-down back. LeSean will be a third-down back as well. But it's nice to have these kind of options."