“Johnny, Johnny, Johnny.”
Let me take you on a Manziel fantasy value journey, starting with the “good.”
- No more “money” sign. How the heck does that translate to fantasy value? Well, it certainly shows a new Manziel, and anything other than what we saw last year is an upgrade. Staying away from using the “money sign” seems to me that Johnny Football has turned over a new leaf, which is a good sign. I have to give him props for that.
- The game has appeared to slow down for him. You often hear that phrase coined, but it’s true. From watching the games, Johnny is more poised in the pocket. He’s taking time to go through his progressions and knowing when and when not to run. He just looks like an NFL starting quarterback.
- In his limited action on Thursday, Manziel completed 10 of 18 passes for 118 yards and a passing touchdown and hauled the rock three times for 19 yards.
- Josh McCown got his “showing” before Manziel and performed terribly, throwing two interceptions (here’s one of them), thus making a potential case that Manziel is leading the quarterback battle in Cleveland.
- Not only was Manziel solid in the second preseason game, he was in the first as well. Throughout this preseason, he’s gone 17-of-20 for 160 passing yards and a touchdown. He’s also had five carries for 33 yards and another touchdown.
- We love running quarterbacks in fantasy, and that’s what makes Manziel so exciting and gives him upside.
- Cleveland has a solid run game with Isaiah Crowell, Terrence West and 2015 draft choice Duke Johnson.
- He’s not guaranteed the starting job. Head coach Mike Pettine recently reiterated that Josh McCown is the starting quarterback. “We feel good about Manziel as No. 2 and McCown as No. 1,” he said, according to the team website.
- He’s not projected well, and by that, I mean that I personally have him as my QB26, behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota but ahead of Robert Griffin III. I don’t know if he’ll be the starter or for how long.
- The supporting cast is not great. Cleveland brought in Dwayne Bowe, who has been productive in the league in the past. The rest of the pass-catching corps consists of Andrew Hawkins, Brian Hartline, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel, newly converted receiver Terrelle Pryor, rookie wideout Vince Mayle and tight end Rob Housler. Though some of these guys have talent and value, the Browns don’t boast a high-powered offense.
Verdict: Manziel is a backup/low-end quarterback for a league of 14 or more teams. He’s a late-round pick with upside due to his rushing ability.
Follow me on Twitter @RichardJanvrin
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