32 Questions Part 2 - AFC East
By Sigmund Bloom
July 19th, 2011

Buffalo Bills - How involved will CJ Spiller be in the offense?

There were high hopes for the top 10 overall pick in his rookie year, but by the end of the season, Fred Jackson emerged as the lead back in Buffalo yet again and Spiller was relegated to a 7-to-10 touch change of pace role with plays designed to get his speed in play in space few and far between. BuffaloBills.com writer Chris Brown expects Jackson to do the "heavy lifting", but Spiller to get more touches per game than he did last year. Head coach Chan Gailey compared Spiller to Jamaal Charles, whom he helped convince Kansas City to draft in 2008. Gailey emphasized that like Charles, Spiller needs to work on ball security to get better, but that he could have some "big years" if he can improve in that area. Gailey also said that he envisioned Spiller as an "outside/inside back and slot (receiver)" who will get better running the ball inside. To win your championship, you need to get some players outside of the top 6 or 7 rounds that end up being startable players at their position. Spiller is a great candidate to do this in PPR leagues, and the buzz coming out of training camp/preseason should be your best indicator as to the likelihood of Spiller breaking out this year. After the delayed impact of similar players like Charles and Darren McFadden, you can't overlook Spiller as long as the news is positive in August.

New York Jets - What will the WR corps look like after free agency?

2010 starters Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are both free agents, but most offseason reports have Holmes returning and Edwards leaving. The receiver who left Pittsburgh in disgrace for a paltry price of a fifth-round pick was producing like a high end WR2 last year, as a clear #1 for the Jets, he could become a fantasy #1 receiver this year, whether he's in New York or elsewhere (Washington?). It was revealed this offseason #3 receiver Jerricho Cotchery playing with a herniated disc that was surgically repaired in February. He is a bounce-back candidate, and a strong campaign from Cotchery and a re-signed Holmes could leave fourth-year TE Dustin Keller out in the cold. If the Jets can't land Holmes, Keller becomes a much better sleeper at TE. Expect Holmes to sign a huge deal with New York early in free agency and flirt with the top 10 in 2011.

New England Patriots - How will the work in the backfield be split up?

New England's offensive identity is Tom Brady and Wes Welker in most people's minds, but they have been one of the most productive and efficient teams at running the ball in the league for a while now. This was made clear last year when the Patriots had not one, but two undrafted, unheralded running backs put up quality fantasy numbers. Just as the fantasy world was adjusting to Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead being the guys to own in Foxboro, the Patriots had to muck up the picture by drafting Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley on the second day of the annual selection meeting. Some advocate staying away from the New England backfield altogether, but it looks as if any of these backs can be had in the eighth round or later because of the confusion. Vereen has caught the eye of beat writer Mike Reiss, who predicted that Welker would lead the team in receptions back in 2007 before most even predicted he would have a sizable role. Reiss has said Vereen is the only "all-around" back on the roster and that Vereen is in position to be one of the rookies making the quickest impact for the team. He's worth a bench spot and late-round pick.

Miami Dolphins - What running back(s) will they bring in to help Daniel Thomas?

The Ronnie and Ricky show is over in Miami, as both are free agents and the franchise moved back into the second round of the draft to get Daniel Thomas after trading away their pick to get Brandon Marshall last year. Thomas is certainly big and rugged enough to be the lead back in South Florida, and his value would be preserved if the team only brings in a third-down back like Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush. Ahmad Bradshaw has said he wants to play for the Dolphins, which would destroy Thomas's worth. A return by Brown or Williams would hurt more than the mere addition of scatback, but wouldn't be the disaster that a Bradshaw signing would be for the Thomas camp. With the Giants likely attachment to Bradshaw and other teams needing RB help more than Miami (Denver, Cincinnati), chances are early drafters who stuck their neck out for Thomas will be rewarded.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.

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