As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart.


Johnny Manziel — QB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns fought it for as long as they could, but Johnny Football’s time is officially here.

Johnny has played here and there during games that have gotten out of hand or filled in due to injuries for Cleveland, but this is really the first time the leash has been fully taken off of Manziel.

Josh McCown had been having a nice season statistically for the Browns, but the wins haven’t been there. Once he returned in Week 3 from an early season injury, McCown strung together six good starts. He threw for no fewer than 211 yards in any of those games (including three 341+ yard games, one of which he gained 457 yards), and less than two touchdowns only once.

Injuries proved too much for McCown eventually, though. Manziel was forced into the spotlight, and impressed in the first half of a game against the Bengals on TNF, but struggled to close out the game. He finished with just 168 yards and a TD, also gaining 31 yards on the ground.

Manziel kept the starting job for Week 10 on the road against the Steelers, finally giving us a career game. Johnny was forced to air it out in a losing effort, but hey, he proved he’s capable. Manziel completed 33-of-45 passes for 372 yards and a TD. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough for the Browns to finally give Johnny Football a crack at the starting QB job for the remainder of the season.

This is going to be the stretch in which we find out if Manziel is capable of being NFL quarterback or not for real.

The Browns are on their bye week now, which means it’s the perfect time to prepare Manziel. His first game as the official starter of the Browns will come in classic Johnny Football “Hollywood” fashion — Monday Night Football hosting the Ravens. The same Ravens, I might add, that McCown torched for 457 yards earlier this season.

Cleveland’s schedule isn’t easy by any means, but it’s not unfair to expect Manziel to win a couple games: BAL, CIN, SF, SEA, KC, PIT.

I actually like Johnny Football as a DFS option in Week 12 when he faces the Ravens. We’ll see what he’s able to do with the rest of his opportunity.

Find me on Twitter @julianedlow