With rookie quarterback EJ Manuel on the shelf for four to six weeks with an LCL sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Bills have announced that they will turn to Thad Lewis under center against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6.
#Bills QB Thad Lewis will start for Buffalo against the Bengals— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 7, 2013
What is Thad Lewis' fantasy value while EJ Manuel is out?
Manuel suffered the injury on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns when he got hit in the knee while scrambling. Buffalo's offense was a mess after he departed, as undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel couldn't get anything going. After Tuel's dreadful performance, head coach Doug Marrone clearly believed that an alternative option was needed.
That option comes in the form of Lewis, who is in his fourth NFL season out of Duke. The Bills acquired Lewis from the Detroit Lions during the preseason after injuries to Manuel and Kevin Kolb. Lewis didn't make the 53-man roster, but Buffalo added him to the practice squad, where he has resided for the first five weeks of the season.
Lewis has played sparingly at the NFL level, although he did start a game for the Cleveland Browns last season at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lewis acquitted himself quite well to the tune of 204 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception and a completion percentage of nearly 69 percent.
Lewis also showed some flashes during his preseason appearance with the Bills this year, and Marrone feels comfortable with his ability to run the offense, according to Howard Simon of WGR 550 in Buffalo.
Marrone on Lewis: has complete understanding of offense. can run read option and has great arm— howard (@hsimon62) October 7, 2013
There are no guarantees for Lewis, though, as the Bills may be on the verge of signing Pat White as well, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Bills sent home Dennis Dixon but kept Pat White in Buffalo. White scheduled to work out for Raiders Tuesday, but Bills could sign him first.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
Former Redskins QB Pat White is leaving Buffalo to go for his scheduled workout Tuesday with the Raiders.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
Should Buffalo sign White, it's possible that Lewis will only have one game to show what he is made of. Lewis seemingly has the tools necessary to act as a solid caretaker for the Buffalo offense, but he isn't an explosive playmaker like Manuel has proven to be or White potentially could be.
With a great deal of uncertainty still surrounding the Bills' quarterback situation, it wouldn't be advisable to jump on Lewis from a fantasy standpoint. Also, wide receivers Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods will take a hit in terms of value due to Lewis' ascension.
Running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson should continue to see plenty of carries, though, and Lewis is likely to look for them in the passing game as well.
Even though Lewis seems to be a better option for the Bills than Tuel as of right now, he's a non-factor in fantasy football, especially in Week 6 against a Bengals offense that shut down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Week 5.
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