Fantasy Football 2013: EJ Manuel Named Week 1 Starter

By Adam Pfeifer
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports


Well, it appears Tuel Time in Buffalo has officially come to an end.

After rookie quarterback EJ Manuel underwent a minor knee surgery, everyone in Buffalo was preparing for fellow rookie signal caller Jeff Tuel to be under center for at least Week 1. However, each day we heard that Manuel was recovering extremely well, and now, on September 4, 2013, Manuel has been named the starter for opening day. As a Bills fan, this makes me absolutely ecstatic because now they might actually have a chance to knock off the much hated New England Patriots. What are you laughing at? It could happen. Anyway, the Bills offense is much more appealing in terms of fantasy with Manuel taking snaps, rather than Tuel.

Now, as much as I love Manuel, you aren’t starting him unless you went with the streaming approach during your draft, or you are in a two-quarterback league, in which case, I actually encourage you to put him in your lineup. The Patriots defense isn’t bad by any means, but they do give up a ton of yards, and Manuel should have to throw a lot to keep up with the likes of Tom Brady. And believe it or not, the Bills have actually played the Patriots very hard over the last year or so. During their past four games against the Pats, Buffalo is averaging a very solid 28.5 points per contest. They do put up points against this defense, and considering this is the most talented offense they’ve had in a while, I don’t expect that to change. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can post serviceable fantasy outings during past meetings, I can’t wait to see what the ultra-talented Manuel can do. I have him as my 16th quarterback for Week 1, but he honestly has the upside to finish top-12.

As for the talent around him, this helps everyone. Running back C.J. Spiller, who you weren’t even thinking about sitting anyway, gets a boost because the defense can’t just 100 percent dial in on Spiller. Manuel provides that dual-threat ability that should keep opposing defenses honest, and considering it’s his first career start, I see a ton of check downs to Spiller. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson, meanwhile, is now worth consideration. He recently stated that the Pats “can’t stop” him, and with Manuel under center, he’ll have a much better opportunity to prove that to be true. Rookie Robert Woods could also be a deep sleeper candidate for those in much deeper leagues. Buffalo will have to throw the ball a lot, and over the past two seasons, Donald Jones had some of his biggest games against Buffalo in a similar role. Woods is a much more talented player than Jones, folks.

I’m very excited to watch Manuel’s debut against one of the greatest to ever play the game, Tim Tebow.

Wait, he got released? Okay, I guess that other guy isn’t too bad either.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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