Let’s be honest, being selected in the first round of the NFL draft is bound to get some extra attention on you, especially if you are the only quarterback taken in the first round.
That was the situation Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was put in after last year’s draft. The general consensus around the league before the draft was that Manuel was a signal caller who had a chance to succeed in the NFL, but he was the type of player who could use some work, therefore he was valued as a third-round pick.
The Bills shocked everybody when they picked up Manuel with their first-round choice, and made a bold statement that he was the one they wanted to be their franchise quarterback.
Manuel had an up-and-down rookie season in which he missed six games due to a knee injury, so he wasn’t given a full season in which to gain experience. Fast forward to the 2014 NFL Draft, and the Bills made another shock selection in the first round by trading up to draft the electric wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Watkins will have an instant impact even in his rookie season and should elevate the team to greater heights than last season. Along with the big addition of Watkins, Buffalo got to see steady improvement from another 2013 early-round selection in Robert Woods, who should develop into a nice receiver over the next couple of years.
With the improvements on the outside and the oft-injured C.J. Spiller supposedly healthy heading into training camp, is there a chance to see the fantasy football value of Manuel rise this year?
While Manuel does present an intriguing fantasy option as a dual-threat quarterback and a shiny new weapon to play around with for Watkins, he is not at a point yet where fantasy owners should be hurrying to pick him up. At best, Manuel would be a solid option in a bye week or injury pinch for fantasy owners, but he shouldn’t be considered much more than that in 2014.
Until he can shake his injury prone label and string together a few promising performances, he should remain a waiver wire option for the time being.