First Down: Johnson's 13 a lucky number for Bills, fantasy owners


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Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. Clark Kent was born on a planet controlled by fantastic astronomical influences. And Steve Rogers was injected with a Super-Soldier serum.

To acquire his superpowers, Buffalo’s Captain Consistent, Steve Johnson(notes), simply shaved his dreads then grew a mohawk.

No longer standing in Terrell Owens’(notes) shadow, Johnson, similar to Brandon Lloyd(notes), has ascended from the depths of the waiver wire, contributing steady WR1 numbers. His 11.0 per game average in standard formats ranks No. 12 among wide receivers. Quickly developing into one of the AFC’s premier red-zone weapons, he’s hauled in six touchdowns in his past five games. At his position, only megastar Calvin Johnson(notes), Hakeem Nicks(notes) and Kenny Britt(notes) have crossed the chalk more. Though he’s only surpassed the 70-yard mark once this season, Johnson’s uncanny ability to puncture the end zone has made him a marvel in a virtual game the “ballin’” receiver only recently learned the intricacies of.

His shocking performance begs the question: Is Johnson must start material?

Does Charlie Sheen know how to party?

Johnson deserves every week consideration as a starter, even in shallow leagues. Despite being equipped with only marginal speed and quickness, the former seventh-round pick from Kentucky has the ideal size (6-foot-2, 202-pounds), route-running craftiness and hands needed to fill the possession role within Chan Gailey’s spread offense, a system which elevated Dwayne Bowe’s game(notes) in 2008. With Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) playing like Tyler Thigpen(notes) 2.0 and due to the Bills’ shortcomings on defense, continued standout efforts are likely. A favorable remaining schedule, particularly during the fantasy playoffs, only enhances Johnson’s chances of sustaining a WR1 value. Take a look (Note: percentages are a reflection of how well a receiver has performed above or below the league average versus a specific team):


Matchups against generous secondaries in Cleveland and Miami mean Johnson, along with many of his teammates, could single-handedly have owners rolling in green. Owned in 72-percent of Yahoo! leagues, the upstart is long gone in competitive formats, but considering he’s still a generic commodity, his price-tag via trade isn’t exorbitant. This past week in Yahoo! leagues he was shipped for Eddie Royal(notes), Aaron Hernandez(notes) and Ronnie Brown(notes) in one-for-one deals.

This week’s clash with Chicago is a difficult task – only three receivers have splashed pay-dirt against the Bears this year – but given his significant height advantage over tiny Tim Jennings(notes) (5-foot-8), he will again be the apple of Fitzpatrick’s eye inside the 20. Coming off his second consecutive 10 target game, he should again finish in range of 50-70 yards with a touchdown.

In a season where savvy owners could’ve constructed an elite WR corps by simply hawking the waiver wire – Brandon Lloyd, Mike Williams (Sea), Mike Williams (TB), Austin Collie(notes) and Britt also went largely undrafted – Buffalo’s “pleasant surprise” is just one of many unsung heroes who could carry owners to championship glory.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 46 receptions, 611 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns

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Image courtesy of US Presswire

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