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Advanced stats show Jackson to be a tough tackle

Ever watch the Bills last season and wonder just how many yards after first contact running back Fred Jackson gained?

Well, there's a stat for that. It's called yards after contact (YACo), and Jackson finished 10th in the NFL last season with 708 such yards. Titans running back Chris Johnson led the NFL, with a whopping 1,071.

Christopher Harris of espn.com has an interesting article on some of the advanced stats Web sites like footballoutsiders.com and profootballfocus.com use to evaluate players. They are, of course, just one tool to use when preparing to build your fantasy team, but there is some useful information in the article.

For example, I would feel a lot better about taking a guy like Saints receiver Robert Meachem in the mid- to late rounds after seeing his yards per target and catch percentage in 2009.

What's your take on advanced stats in the NFL? Just a matter of time before they catch on like they have in baseball, or never going to fully arrive because of the inherent dependence on the performance of others (quarterback, offensive line, etc.)?

---Jay Skurski

Bills not well represented on top 100 list

The fantasy writers at Yahoo! Sports recently released their list of the top 100 fantasy football players.

Topping the list is Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, followed closely by Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.

Bills fans have to travel way down the list to find a member of their team. Running back Fred Jackson is ranked 76th, just ahead of rookie back C.J. Spiller, who is 83rd.

Also on the list is receiver Lee Evans, who is not ranked in the top 100, but does receive a ranking of 97 by Brandon Funston. Interestingly enough, none of the other three writers rank Evans in the top 100.

That doesn't speak too highly of the prospects for the Bills' passing game.

---Jay Skurski

Bills committee will vex fantasy owners

Fred Jackson proved last season he's too good to be left on the bench.

The Buffalo Bills didn't draft C.J. Spiller in the first round to watch him sit.

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and hasn't totally forgotten how to play.

Dealing with the dreaded running-backs-by-committee approach has become a fact of life in fantasy football, but more perplexing is the triple threat. That's especially true when all three backs are in (or set to enter) the prime of their careers, and the major reason why Mike Harmon of Fox Sports has the Bills ranked first in his list of running back committees.

As Harmon points out, Spiller is rising in mock draft charts, but I would be very hesitant to take him with a top draft choice. Even if he does earn the starting job, it likely won't come until the middle of the season, more than halfway through the fantasy campaign.

Draft position will be key when rolling the dice with a Buffalo runner in this year's draft. What's your take, who should go first?

---Jay Skurski

Bautista, Jimenez surprises among fantasy MVP candidates

The fantasy baseball season's first half is complete, and there have been plenty of surprises.

Chief among those would be Toronto's Jose Bautista leading the bigs with 24 home runs and Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (15-1) taking a run at 30 wins.

The question is, which player has been the fantasy baseball MVP so far? The answer of course, depends on how you view the question. It would be easy to simply look at the player with the most points, but Bautista and Jimenez, for example, have added value for owners because of where they were drafted or how munch money was spent on them in auction leagues.

Therefore ...

---Jay Skurski

Early running back rankings

Jay Clemons' latest Fantasy Clicks column on Sports Illustrated's Web site offers an early look at how running backs can expect to be ranked when the avalanche of fantasy football previews begins to hit the shelves (and Internet) in coming weeks.

In the column, Clemons considers Bills rookie C.J. Spiller a "tier 3" back, good for 1,100 total yards and eight touchdowns. Fred Jackson, last year's starter, falls into tier 4 (950 total yards and five touchdowns), while former first-round pick Marshawn Lynch is a tier 5 back (800 total yards, four touchdowns).

As a group, Clemons' ranks the Bills backs 10th. What do you think about his rankings? Or is it even too early to tell?

---Jay Skurski

Former Bison Niese solid as of late

Jonathon Niese's performance since coming back from injury has been noticed by national fantasy writers.

Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! Sports had the following recently to say about Niese, a former Buffalo Bison.

"The Jonathon Niese breakout story has been well-screened for most of the year, in part because of a hamstring injury in May that wrecked his stats for a while. He's been outstanding in five of his last six starts since he rejoined the rotation, with the latest gem coming Friday at Washington (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K). The numbers under the hood support Niese as a mixed-league option: he's getting ground balls 50 percent of the time, his K/9 rate is fine at 7.13, and he's trimmed his walk rate under three."

Niese hasn't lost a game since May 16 and the Mets have won his last six starts. He next pitches Wednesday against Cincinnati. Get him in the lineup.

---Jay Skurski

CC, Weaver set for two starts

Two of fantasy baseball's best pitchers will take the hill twice during the upcoming 15th week of the season.

The Yankees' CC Sabathia has a particularly inviting week, facing the light-hitting A's and Mariners. Sabathia has been awesome as of late, including an eight-inning start Thursday at home against the Mariners.

Also rolling along is Angels pitcher Jered Weaver. In his last six starts, Weaver has a strikeout-to-walk ratio 50 to 6. Bananas. Weaver gets the White Sox and A's in Week 15.

Here's a list of the other scheduled two-start pitchers for next week. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

---Jay Skurski