How does Dion Lewis' latest setback change the look of the Patriots' running game? Can Tyrod Taylor improve upon his 2015 breakout season? ASL's Brian Murphy takes a look at the fantasy news from around the AFC East.
Time for a spin around the AFC East for another fantasy football divisional round-up.
Buffalo Bills: What does Tyrod Taylor have for an encore?
When Tyrod Taylor signed with the Bills in March 2015, he was expected to be the No. 3 QB behind Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel. Seventeen months later, Taylor is Buffalo's undisputed franchise quarterback, having inked a six-year, $92 million deal earlier in August. He earned that payday by totaling 24 touchdowns, just seven turnovers and more than 3,600 yards from scrimmage in his first season as a starter. His rushing ability, while enhancing his injury risk, also keeps his fantasy floor high and his ceiling even higher. Taylor still resides in QB2 territory due to his lack of polish as a passer, the Bills' dearth of established receivers (Sammy Watkins, then what?) and the possibility that he's a one-year wonder. But as a QB2, Taylor possesses a lot of value in the middle rounds of a draft. With some good health, this former NFL afterthought could easily jump into the top 12 at his position.
Miami Dolphins Is DeVante Parker ready for his close-up?
It's easy to see why the Dolphins made Parker a first-round pick in 2015. He made a handful of highlight-reel grabs during his rookie year. He averaged 19.0 yards per catch, and compiled 445 yards and three touchdowns over his final six contests. Parker wasn't a problem on the field; it was just tough for him to get on it in the first place. He dealt with myriad foot problems last year, stemming from a broken foot he suffered during his final season at the University of Louisville. The foot is reportedly healed, but it's worth noting that a hamstring injury forced him to miss a week of practice earlier this month. Parker is such an explosive player, he should become Miami's top outside receiver in no time this fall, and he has the skills to be a WR2 in fantasy. But, as with many players, his level of success will be largely determined by how his body -- especially that troublesome left foot -- holds up.
New England Patriots: Without Dion Lewis, what will this running game look like?
If I was writing this one day earlier, this question would have been about the Patriots' passing game with Jimmy Garoppolo, because the impact of Tom Brady's four-game suspension is the biggest fantasy topic surrounding the Pats. But some breaking football news has resulted in an article audible. The Boston Globe reported Sunday that running back Dion Lewis needs a second operation on the same knee in which he tore his ACL last November. ESPN's Adam Schefter followed up with some clarity shortly thereafter, stating that Lewis will undergo a cleanup procedure. Lewis should play at some point this year, but he is reportedly out indefinitely for now and is a candidate to be placed on short-term injured reserve. To make matters worse, it was also reported Sunday that tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who graded out positively as a run blocker last season, may miss all of 2016 because of a hip injury. So, digest all of that. Then try to figure out how the Patriots will cover for those losses. The most likely beneficiary is James White, who, like Lewis, is a very proficient pass-catcher out of the backfield and would be less affected by Vollmer's absence than bulldozing lead back LeGarrette Blount. After Lewis went down on Nov. 8, White recorded 33 receptions through New England's final eight regular season games, including a 10-catch, 115-yard outing versus the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13. As White has carried the ball only 31 times through 17 games, he is almost solely a PPR commodity, but one who just saw his stock skyrocket this weekend. Blount will still handle the early downs and get all of the goal-line touches. But White is now a stellar mid-round choice in those PPRs.
New York Jets: Does Ryan Fitzpatrick have more Fitzmagic in his bag?
Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had to wait and wait and wait. But following protracted free-agent negotiations, they finally got their man back under center. When thinking about Fitzpatrick, some Jets fans probably recall his Week 17 clunker that cost the team a playoff spot first. But he's also the man who directed a very productive passing offense and helped the Jets return to respectability after four forgettable campaigns. He was fantasy's No. 11 QB in 2015, and replacing Chris Ivory with Matt Forte gives him another viable target. Things will look even rosier if the Jets can get something out of their tight ends and backup wideouts. It's silly to think that Fitzpatrick will top his 33 TDs and 4,175 total yards -- let's not forget how he flamed out in Buffalo after some initial success -- but he's currently the 25th quarterback off the board in ESPN drafts. He's 23rd in Yahoo drafts. That's a pretty low price to pay for someone who should be considered at least a strong QB2.