Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-27 passing in his NFL debut against the New England Patriots. Although there were a few close calls, he didn’t throw any interceptions and finished with 16 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues.
Keep in mind, this was Manuel’s first ever NFL start, it was against a Bill Belichick defense and it was his first game back since having preseason knee surgery. To put up those numbers and keep Buffalo in the game until the final drive is encouraging, especially for a rookie who was widely heralded as undeveloped.
Manuel is in an offense tailored specifically to his skill set, and is surrounded by young, explosive talent. Doug Marrone‘s up-tempo offense will give Manuel plenty of opportunities to score, and with his natural big-play ability, leadership and desire to win, E.J. should do just that.
They say the former college standout doesn’t make the same mistake twice. “They” in this instance might only be Marrone and Manuel himself, but E.J.’s development thus far has been rapid and, quite frankly, impressive. Manuel will continue to improve throughout his rookie year, and is worth picking up and stashing on your bench now.
No one is expecting big things from Buffalo or E.J. Manuel this year, but this team will surprise people. Manuel’s ceiling is extremely high, and as he continues to build chemistry with his receivers, he should turn into a solid backup, if not an all-out fantasy stud.