After the blockbuster announcement on Twitter coming from Ian Rapoport that Sammy Watkins had just been traded, the Bills continued their wheeling and dealing and acquired WR Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick from the Eagles in exchange for CB Ronald Darby. With Matthews likely on the outs with Philadelphia heading into the final year of his rookie deal, there had been tons of trade rumors and the Eagles finally pulled the trigger on a deal which returns a starting corner they desperately needed. Let’s break this down a bit further in terms of fantasy implications.
Fantasy Reaction: Bills Offense
The landscape has changed drastically in less than 24 hours yet Buffalo will still continue to post their hitch onto veteran runner LeSean “Shady” McCoy as he will be the main weapon in both the run and now even more so the passing game. QB Tyrod Taylor will have to rely more than ever on McCoy in the offense in the early going as he starts to build a new rapport with the incoming Jordan Matthews. Luckily as Matthews will develop likely as Buffalo’s WR1 before the season’s end, the Bills signed veteran free agent Anquan Boldin who will likely soak up most of the early season targets and well as redzone opportunities that he saw previously in Detroit. Add in new rookie sensation Zay Jones from East Carolina University, who according to the Bills website, claims has looked every part of a “top 3 wideout” and has been playing in both the outside and slot position during camp. He has the talent and tenacity to become the true WR2 on the team and was already winning the spot before Boldin was signed just a few days ago. This is great for not only a re-draft late flyer but great news for the dynasty enthusiasts out there who have or are looking to snag Jones in rookie drafts. I think the biggest bump for the current moment is going to be TE Charles Clay, who posted a 57-552-4 line in 2016. He could be relied upon just as much as Shady McCoy in the early going until we see the identity of the offense shape into what it’s suppose to be. For Taylor, I really don’t feel there is too much of a drop off as most would think. He makes plays with his own feet and adds additional running yards to his fantasy stat line which gives him a safe floor.
Fantasy Reaction: Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews was able to grab 73 receptions for 804 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in his 2016 season with the Eagles. But when it comes down to it, the swap of Sammy Watkins for Jordan Matthews isn’t quite an equal 1 for 1 move as they’re entirely different players. Matthews plays predominantly in the slot and is more likely a replacement for Robert Woods, who was signed this past offseason to the Los Angeles Rams. Jordan Matthews played 58 percent of his snaps in the slot, which is also where most of his production came from (84 targets, 54 receptions, 604 yards, and 2 touchdowns). For Buffalo last year, Woods accumulated 54 percent of his targets and 62 percent of his yards from the slot. Matthews will likely command the most targets for the Bills even with Shady in the backfield with the upside to be a WR1 some weeks. But for now, the outcome of “J Matt” is looking like a solid WR2 option. The deep ball plays that Watkins once possessed will move to the rookie Zay Jones and the consistent hands of Boldin will be used on the other side of the field when lining up in 3-wideout sets.
Currently, the average draft position (ADP) for Jordan Matthews in PPR is the 2nd pick in the 11th round, which is a dream come true. Don’t expect that dream to become a reality in the coming weeks as we get closer to fantasy drafts taking place as the opportunity and target share left for Matthews will drive his ADP much higher to what I think may be the 5th round.
Luckily, Andy, Mike, and Jason will be giving their expert analysis and breakdown of Matthews heading to Buffalo on Monday’s podcast! Also don’t forget to keep up with the Ulimate Draft Kit as rankings and tiers will be adjusted with all this crazy amount of news happening in one day. If you haven’t purchased the UDK yet, don’t miss out before your draft gets here!