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Bills' Nelson, Chandler benefit without clear No. 2

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Posted Aug. 04, 2012 @ 10:18 a.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

As long as there is no clear-cut No. 2 receiver in Buffalo, fantasy football owners should strongly consider Bills WR David Nelson and TE Scott Chandler.

Donald Jones still appears to be the front-runner for the outside receiver spot opposite Stevie Johnson, but until someone can consistently hold down that job and get targets, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will use the middle of the field, where familiar options Nelson and Chandler shined last season.

Nelson was second on the team in receptions (61) and receiving yards (658), and he added five touchdown catches. At 6-5, 215 pounds, Nelson’s size created matchup problems for opponents. His 10-83-1 receiving performance in Week Two prompted owners to jump on the Nelson bandwagon, and he didn’t disappoint by catching 6-84 in Week Three, but Nelson’s production fell off after that. He never notched more than 62 receiving yards in a game and had five games with two or fewer catches.

Nelson’s value is higher in PPR leagues, though it will be important to watch how the Bills rotate RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, as they could take away targets from Nelson. Unlike Jones, or the other candidates for the No. 2 receiver spot, Nelson will be the team’s go-to option out of the slot. With the Bills often using a spread formation, Nelson will get his snaps.

Chandler had a breakout campaign last season, catching 38-389-6 for a Bills franchise that has long been without a receiving threat at tight end. Like Nelson, his stock skyrocketed early in the season (four touchdowns in the first three weeks), but he was not nearly consistent or productive enough to be more than a No. 2 tight end in fantasy.

In addition to being a solid red-zone target for Fitzpatrick, Chandler doesn’t have any strong competition at his position. His blocking skills keep him on the field often, and his backup, Lee Smith, is mainly a blocker. One player to watch, though, is Dorin Dickerson, who might play an H-back-type role for the Bills, and has intriguing pass-catching skills. Chandler is no more than a bye-week or injury fill-in at this point, but his touchdown potential makes him a player worth watching early on.

Ideally, the Bills will find a mainstay at the No. 2 receiver spot, but until then, Nelson and Chandler are viable, late-round options playing in an offense that spreads the football around and moves downfield effectively.

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