Fantasy Football 2014: Favorable Landing Spots For Johnny Manziel

By Adam Pfeifer
Johnny Manziel
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


Johnny Football.

Man, I wish I had a nickname like that, consisting of my first name and what I do. Adam Fantasy?

Nope. Sounds weird.

There isn’t a more polarizing rookie in this year’s crop than quarterback Johnny Manziel. He parties, he hangs with celebrities, oh, and he also throws passes. Manziel is going to be a starting quarterback during his rookie year and he is going to post fantasy relevant numbers. It’s simply going to happen. His play style and skill-set offer major fantasy upside. I mean, this is a guy who rushed for 2,169 yards during his two seasons at Texas A&M, while running in for 30 touchdowns during that span. Manziel is one of only four signal callers to post a 20/20 season (passing, rushing TDs) in college football history, joining the likes of Cam NewtonTim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick. Guys who run the ball like he does immediately become fantasy relevant, no matter how good or bad they are throwing the ball. Just look at Tebow, for instance, who scored over 100 fantasy points back in 2010, despite starting just nine games. He then went on to finish as a top-20 fantasy quarterback the next year, despite completing just 46.5 percent of his passes and starting 14 games.

Manziel is a far better passer than Tebow, folks.

Manziel has the upside and peripherals to be a star in fantasy football, but he does have to land in the right spot, of course. With the draft a week away, plenty of speculation has been thrown around regarding Manziel’s potential new home. It makes sense, too, considering he is one of the more polarizing players in this year’s crop. So, where might Johnny Football see the most fantasy football success?

Cleveland Browns

I really, really want Manziel to go to the Browns and instantly become the starting quarterback. Not because I’m a Browns fan, because I’m not. But rather for selfish fantasy football reason.

Of course.

Cleveland seems to be one of the more likely landing spots for Manziel at number four overall. They flip-flopped between Brian HoyerBrandon Weeden and Jason Campbell last year, and while Hoyer showed flashes, when you need a quarterback and a talent like Manziel is there, you don’t hesitate.

Very quietly, Cleveland ranked number one in football in pass attempts per game last year (42.6). They did just acquire free agent runner Ben Tate, but that won’t drastically change their offense. With weapons like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron on the outside, this team will want to throw the ball quite a bit, and Manziel should thrive throwing them the football. Pro Football Focus also ranked the Browns offensive line as a top-12 unit from a season ago, and with Joe Thomas leading the way, Manziel should have some solid protection. And, as Vic Carucci states, new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be implementing an outside-zone rushing attack which forces the linemen to move laterally, possessing athleticism and versatility. That would be great for a guy like Manziel, who wants to run to the outside and get in space. And, in 2008 with the Texans, Shanahan was relatively pass-happy, as Houston, typically a run-heavy team, ranked 7th in the league in pass attempts (34.7).

Manziel has massive upside in general, but especially in Cleveland.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

This one is interesting, because I fully expect Tampa to snag Manziel’s teammate at A&M, wideout Mike Evans at seven overall. However, they have shown tons of interest in the quarterback, so here we are.

Tampa did just bring in veteran Josh McCown, and have already stated that as of right now, he is the starting quarterback. Still, he’s 34-years old and his 2013 campaign was a major anomaly. Manziel would have some nice weapons if he landed in Tampa Bay, but tossing passes to the likes of Vincent Jackson may look very, very similar to another wideout. Mike Evans is almost a clone of the veteran Jackson, which is why this entire situation is so intriguing to me. 

Mike Evans:                                Vincent Jackson:

Height- 6’5″.                               Height- 6’5″.

Weight- 231 lbs.                       Weight- 230 lbs.

40 time- 4.53                            40 time- 4.46

Vertical- 37.0                           Vertical- 39.0

20-yard shuffle- 4.26           20-yard shuffle- 4.00

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings need a quarterback more than Kel needed orange soda.

I think he has a chance to fall to them at pick number eight, and if he does, don’t expect him to fall any more. Manziel would be a nice fit in Minnesota, as they can suddenly become very creative on offense. They already have two deadly offensive weapons in Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson, and with Manziel and possibly a read-option looming, this offense could become very fun to watch. It wouldn’t exactly be the best volume play for his fantasy prospects, but he could have the best success in Minnesota. Lean on Peterson, but he will likely run the ball more on Minnesota than any other team that is targeting him (unless my Buffalo Bills traded up to get him).

Keep an eye on the Vikings this week.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.



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