Andre Roberts went from the Jets to the Bills this offseason, and he's expected to be a reserve receiver and work on special teams. He's coming off a standout season as a return man in 2018, posting career bests in both kickoff (1,174) and punt return (324) yards. As a receiver, however, Roberts has been at 14 or fewer catches four years in a row. He's only worth drafting in deeper leagues that reward points for return yardage.
Roberts is coming off an impressive week of minicamp practices and appears to have the inside track on the fifth wide receiver spot, Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News reports. Roberts' skills as an elite return man give him an edge over almost every other depth receiver competing for a job this summer, but the veteran is also opening up some eyes in the passing game. Entering his 10th NFL season, he does have a few decent campaigns on his receiving ledger, most notably a 64/759/5 line in 2012 with the Cardinals, while he's come close to that a few other times, also earlier in the decade. We'll slot Roberts as a solid five on the depth chart for now -- behind Zay Jones, John Brown, Cole Beasley and Robert Foster -- in addition to being the team's clear-cut best return option.
The Bills agreed with Roberts on a contract Wednesday, Dianna Russini of ESPN reports. On the heels of posting career bests in both kickoff (1,174) and punt (324) return yards last season, Roberts earned All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors. He'll now move within the AFC East from the Jets to the Bills, where he should take on a similar workload on special teams. When it comes to offensive contributions, however, Roberts will have a tough time nudging fellow receivers John Brown, Cole Beasley, Robert Foster and Zay Jones out of the lineup.
Roberts isn't expected to re-sign with the Jets this offseason, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. On the same day the Jets let 2018 Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers walk in free agency, the organization will now apparently cut ties with another special-teams Pro Bowler in Roberts, a standout kick returner. While Roberts should command heavy interest on the open market as a return man, it's far too early to speculate who might take over his former role in New York.
Roberts capped his season with three catches for 28 yards on four targets in Sunday's 38-3 loss to New England, giving him a total of 10 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Roberts saw more action on offense than usual due to injuries to the Jets' wide receiver corps, but the majority of his value comes on special teams. He was among the league's best returners this season, recording 132 or more kick return yards four times, while also topping that mark once as a punt returner and scoring a touchdown of each kind. There should be a robust market for the free agent's special teams services.
Roberts will have an elevated role in the offense Sunday at New England with Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and Jermaine Kearse (Achilles) sidelined, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. Roberts rarely has been used on offense this season, but his return ability hasn't gone unnoticed. Overall, he leads the NFL in kickoff return yards (1,115), kick return average (29.3) and punt return average (14.7), earning him a Pro Bowl nod. In the four contests in which he's earned at least 38 percent of the offensive snaps in 2018, Roberts has hauled in five of his 11 targets for 37 yards and one TD. On Sunday, work will be available, but Robby Anderson, Chris Herndon and Elijah McGuire are better bets to receive attention from Sam Darnold.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||@New York Jets||32||27.38|
|2||09/15||@New York Giants||10||20.75|
|4||09/29||New England Patriots||14||21.68|
|16||12/22||@New England Patriots||14||21.68|
|17||12/29||New York Jets||32||27.38|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||16||8||93||1||5||11.62||13|