Bills Sign Scott Chandler
Bills signed TE Scott Chandler to a two-year deal. At least for now, Chandler again sits atop the depth chart and the Bills can feel confident that they have stabilized the position heading into the NFL Draft.
Chandler rejoins the raw but talented Chris Gragg, a second-year player who projects to cause matchup nightmares in the passing game when he develops. Blocking TE Lee Smith will also return, as well as former Kansas City Chief Tony Moeaki. Moeaki quietly came aboard late last season and, if healthy, has the talent to be a pass-catching factor. It’s certainly not out of the question the Bills will add to the position via the draft as well.
Known more for his work in the passing game than for his run-blocking prowess, the 2013 season saw the 28-year-old Chandler set career highs in targets (79), receptions (53), and yards (655). However, his touchdowns fell from six in each of the previous two seasons, to just a pair last year. Nine of the 12 scores from 2011 and 2012 came while he was targeted in the red zone, which occurred 23 combined times over those two seasons. Bills’ passers targeted him just six times inside the 20-yard line in 2013, costing the 6’7″, 260-pounder the opportunity to capitalize on his best asset.
Chandler’s drop in touchdowns led directly to his placing four slots lower in standard fantasy scoring than he did in 2012, despite the uptick in catches and yards. He has been and will continue to be a touchdown-dependent fantasy asset. His weekly viability is usually a function of whether or not he gets into the endzone, no matter what his season-end rankings suggest. Chandler has averaged 3.7 weeks per season as a top 12 tight end in standard scoring, and four in PPR leagues, over the last three years. His best total was five top 12 weeks in 2012.
There are many likely reasons for the drop in Chandler’s red zone targets, from a rookie quarterback taking most of the snaps, to a new coaching regime, to pure randomness in a relatively small sample. Yet the odds that it will snap back into the low teens are not great.
With Gragg’s anticipated involvement spike, a run-based attack (Buffalo led the NFL in rushing attempts in 2013), and a deepening arsenal of offensive weapons, it’s doubtful Chandler will be more than a desperation play and back end TE2 in fantasy, at best.
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