In Week 5, E.J. Manuel was injured on a running play in the third quarter and would not return. Rookie backup Jeff Tuel took over and was mediocre, which was expected. He went 8-of-20 for 80 yards and an interception, scoring only one fantasy point.
With 10 days in between games, the Buffalo Bills had time to find a replacement until Manuel comes back. There were reports that they were interested in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. He ended up signing with the Minnesota Vikings, so they had to go another route.
Head coach Doug Marrone said in a press conference that the starting quarterback would come from outside the organization, which means Tuel would remain on the bench. Enter Monday morning, and Marrone changed his mind.
#Bills QB Thad Lewis will start for Buffalo against the Bengals
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 7, 2013
Marrone called up Thaddeus Lewis from the practice squad. The organization was also interested in Pat White and Dennis Dixon, but Lewis knows the system and has familiarity with some players. In his one start with the Cleveland Browns last year, he went 22-of-32 for 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Now, what does Lewis starting mean for fantasy owners of Bills players? Well, it depends which player you own.
If you own either Stevie Johnson or Robert Woods, you could see a drop in production. Tight end Scott Chandler, on the other hand, should see an increase in targets as he’ll likely be the security blanket for the new starting quarterback. I believe Freeman would have been the better option for this receiving corps. They are very similar to what Freeman had in Tampa Bay.
As far as the running backs go, their value will increase as well. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller should see more carries to keep Lewis from throwing the ball more than necessary. They are two versatile players than can run the balls effectively. Spiller is an extra threat as he can catch screen passes out of the backfield and gain tons of yardage.
As if this was a question, but just to make sure — do not pick up Lewis. There are much better options for a bye week replacement or in two-quarterback leagues. Don’t start any of the Bills’ receivers this week if you don’t have to. Lewis will no doubt struggle against the Bengals’ pass defense and will face a lot of pressure.
Despite the Bengals only allowing 82 rushing yards in Week 5, Spiller and Jackson should wear down the defense and should be started in all leagues.