New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills
EJ Manuel – Last years’ rookie class was nothing short of miraculous. Don’t expect anything close to RGIII’s rookie stats but Manuel could still turn out to be a viable plug and play option. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the pressure from Patriots’ players like Jerod Mayo and Chandler Jones. It’ll be equally interesting to see how Manuel abuses one of the worst secondaries in the league, sans Aqib Talib. If the Bills keep Manuel rolling out of the pocket for rushing yardage and keep passes short to the likes of CJ Spiller and Scott Chandler, there could be a waiver wire buzz around Manuel after Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams – With Jonathan Stewart out for several weeks Williams could actually prove to be a reliable start for the first time in three years. That is as long as Mike Tolbert doesn’t step up and take over Stewart’s role. Williams should be the main man for the first time in a long time opening the window of opportunity. Seattle’s defense is a monster on steroids so you should be looking for more towards his workload and how he looks overall as opposed to his stats in this one. A solid outing against a stout defense could lead to starting lineup looks in the weeks to come.
Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears
Andy Dalton – A lot of people in fantasy drafts entrusted Dalton as their starting quarterback in the hopes that he can makes the kind of jump Matt Ryan did last season. While Dalton does not have the weaponry of his Atlanta counterpart, the chance still exists for Dalton to climb the ranking ladder here in 2013. Someone outside of AJ Green is going to have to step up but once someone earns the extra looks, Dalton could skyrocket. The Bears will be a great test as they offer one of the best defenses in the NFL. If he can impress here an argument could be made he can be started against anyone.
Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns
Mike Wallace – Just because he’s the most obvious answer doesn’t make him any less of the right answer. Ryan Tannehill had an above average rookie year that got overshadowed by two of the best quarterback debuts in the history of the league. Tannehill did a lot with a little as Reggie Bush was the best receiver on the roster. Even still, guys like Brian Hartline were still able to put up valuable fantasy numbers. Wallace is clearly head and shoulders over Hartline in the talent department. It’ll be telling to see how quickly Wallace adjusts from Ben Roethlisberger to the new Miami offense. The only downside here is Joe Haden in coverage for Cleveland so don’t hit the panic button if the numbers are modest. Look more for things like overall targets and the trust Tannehill has in Wallace.