Through the first four weeks of the season, the only Buffalo Bills wide receiver with any value in most fantasy leagues was Jordan Matthews, whose 32.2 points rank 56th among wide receivers under ESPN's PPR scoring.
With Matthews out indefinitely with surgery scheduled on his injured thumb, there is virtually no reason -- at least yet -- to look toward the Bills for help at wide receiver in your fantasy league.
Andre Holmes, with 21.5 points, ranks 85th among wide receivers in PPR points. Rookie Zay Jones, with only 9.7 points, ranks 108th at his position. The only other Bills receiver to have registered points is Kaelin Clay, with 3.8.
Is there any hope for Holmes or Jones to slide up the charts by replacing Matthews' production (10 catches, 162 yards, 1 touchdown) in the coming weeks? Don't bet on it.
Jones has played in 83 percent of snaps so far this season, a number that will probably remain steady even with Matthews out. Jones has only been targeted on 11.9 percent of his routes run this season and has caught only 28.6 percent of his targets. Even though Jones might see the most snaps of Bills receivers going forward, there is no guarantee that quarterback Tyrod Taylor targets the rookie second-round pick or that the two connect on their targets.
Holmes, who has played in 46.9 percent of snaps this season, is expected to see an uptick in playing time with Matthews sidelined and will most likely start in his place this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. But that does not necessarily mean Holmes will match Matthews' 80 percent snap share in the Bills' upcoming games.
When I asked offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on Monday about whether the Bills would replace Matthews' snaps with one player (i.e. Holmes) or go with a committee approach, Dennison said, "We’ll make that decision as it progresses. We just got finished with a game. I think we’ll make the right decision for us. It might be different personnel. We may still be in three-wide, and have different wideouts. I don’t know. We’ll work on that one."
The Bills do not have many other options other than Holmes from which to choose. Clay has played in 13.5 percent of snaps this season and has been mixed in as a potential deep threat, but has caught only one of his four targets, for a 28-yard gain. The only other healthy receiver on the Bills' roster is Brandon Tate, who has been inactive twice this season and has played in only eight offensive snaps.
Walter Powell, a fourth-year receiver who served a four-game suspension to begin this season, was released Monday. That suggests the Bills could look either to their practice squad -- Brandon Reilly or Malachi Dupre -- or outside the organization for a wide receiver if they decide to add another to their 53-man roster. In either case, that player would have zero fantasy value until proven so on the field.
Buffalo's passing game continues to be centered around tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy -- not any of its wide receivers. Clay has been targeted on 23.1 percent of routes run, while McCoy has been targeted on 27.7 percent of his routes. The two players have combined for 50.5 percent of Taylor's targets this season, and that number might only go up with Matthews out.