From the Gut: The AFC East
By Sigmund Bloom
August 20th, 2012

This is a good time to review where we are at on offenses as a whole, and the possible downstream effects on the players within those offenses. The height of draft season is upon us and sometimes the level of quality and risk in an offense can be a good tiebreaker between similar players when you are making decisions on the clock.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills offense has potential to be one of the more productive units in the league in theory, with an offensive-minded head coach in Chan Gailey. The die has been cast for a quick-hitting, spread pass offense with two very capable running backs (Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller) and a young offensive line that should be an improvement over their 2011 unit which actually gave up the fewest sacks in the league last year. The main cogs of the passing game, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson, were hurt for most of the second half of the season.

In practice, that offense hasn't looked very dangerous so far in preseason games. One issue has been that none of the candidates for the #2 wide receiver job have seized the job. Tight end Scott Chandler has had a very good camp by most reports and he should be on your waiver wire speed dial if he has a hot start to the season.

Fitzpatrick, Johnson, and Fred Jackson are still relative values at their third, fifth, and 12th round ADP, especially Jackson if you're needing an RB2 in that round. The Bills averaged over 30 points a game in the first six contests of 2011, so we shouldn't underestimate them no matter how they look in preseason. The defense/special teams is also worth considering in the next to last round with their D/ST12 ADP with road games against the Jets and Browns and home contest vs. the Chiefs to open the season.

New England Patriots

The only real question mark here is the offensive line. Logan Mankins is back in pads, and Sebastian Vollmer should be activated soon. Nate Solder could be leaky at left tackle, but I trust the offensive coaching staff and Tom Brady to adapt the offense however the need to so they can maximize the value of the murderer's row of passing game weapons they have.

Brady is my number one quarterback and worth a pick in the second half of the first round, maybe even in the top 4-5 in certain scoring formats. He could be in the center of a perfect storm of an even greater magnitude than the 2007 record-breaking outburst. Brady, McDaniels, and Belichick love to pour it on, and Brandon Lloyd's downfield dimension will give Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Rob Gronkowski even more room to operate.

The main hesitation to buy into the Patriots passing game this preseason has been "Too many mouths to feed". My answer to that is "the pie can just get bigger". I don't see why 6,000 passing yards and 45 passing touchdowns should be considered out of reach for this unit. Gronkowski is worth a late first in PPR leagues. Welker's worth a third, but just spent your fourth on Lloyd instead.

Stevan Ridley seemed like the leader and potential candidate for the Benjarvus Green-Ellis role, but he has been banged up and fumble-prone lately, so Shane Vereen is coming on. Neither is worth a pick before the 8th round, but Vereen and Ridley are worth fliers as part-time backs in a very potent offense. Brandon Bolden is a name to remember if Ridley puts the ball on the turf often early in the season.

New York Jets

We're always on the lookout for the offense that looks like a garbage dump. You don't want to get the stink on you in the draft if you can avoid it. The New York Jets are certainly one of those offenses this year.

Mark Sanchez looks deflated despite the coaching staff's attempt to pump him up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. Tim Tebow could have fantasy value when he takes over, but quarterback is deep enough to discourage you from spending a late-round speculative pick on him when the length of the wait to be able to use Tebow is unknown.

Shonn Greene looks like, well, Shonn Greene, so a late-round pick on Bilal Powell might be warranted. He has turned it around since a poor rookie season caused many prematurely jump ship on the Matt Waldman favorite.

Powell is probably the only draftable Jet at ADP. Santonio Holmes is hurt after an offseason filled with bad vibes. Stephen Hill might have value when Tebow takes over, but this is still the Jets, and he's still an inconsistent rookie. Dustin Keller has teased us and let us down before, so this is not the year to think he somehow transcends the poor offense around him and suddenly puts it together for a whole season.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins haven't been quite as bad as the Jets, but they are doing nothing to instill confidence this preseason. Looking for fantasy value in this group is a somewhat fruitless task.

Ryan Tannehill may start at quarterback, with Matt Moore struggling and David Garrard sidelined, but note that it is more by default than Tannehill being ahead of schedule. The offensive line is still caving in on the right side, and the wide receiver corps is arguably lacking a starting quality outside wide receiver.

Davone Bess might be a nice firewall in PPR leagues week-to-week because, well, someone has to catch the ball. Reggie Bush has never really won our trust, and Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller splitting touches in a potentially limp offense, why would you want to stake a fourth round pick on his success this year?

The two Jets-Dolphins matchups in week three and week eight might end up being the worst two offensive games of the entire season.

As always, thanks for reading. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.

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