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Fantasy Check

Rethinking P. Manning's Value

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I just finished writing a submission for The League question of the day, and it got me thinking about how underappreciated Peyton Manning is from a fantasy perspective.

No fantasy expert is picking Manning as the No. 1 fantasy quarterback. In fact, he's ranked third on ESPN, CBSSports.com, RotoWire.com, Fantasy Football Today and just about any other site you can name.

No one is suggesting Manning will have better fantasy numbers than Drew Brees or Tom Brady, both ranked 1-2 on most draft boards. Those players have the potential to throw for 4,500 yards and 40-plus touchdowns. Manning's days of flirting with record-breaking numbers are probably over, in part because his offensive options are diminished from the Colts' heyday five years ago.

But if you take into account durability and reliability, Manning has no peer in fantasy.

Manning has started 176 straight regular season games, so fantasy owners know he's going to be there during their playoffs, and he has missed throwing for 4,000 yards just twice in 11 seasons. He never has thrown fewer than 26 touchdowns in a season. Talk about consistency.

Consider before 2007, Brady had never thrown for more than 28 touchdowns in a season, and before last season, neither did Brees.

I was at a fantasy draft party two weeks ago, and the No. 1 overall pick was Manning. It seemed absurd at the time, but lately I've started to convince myself otherwise. While Manning doesn't have the best upside of the top three quarterbacks, he's without question the safest and thus arguably should be the first at his position off the board.

When it comes to first-round picks, especially in leagues with expensive buy-ins, that kind of security can be inestimable.

Just ask fantasy owners who drafted Brady last season.

By Gene Wang  |  August 31, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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I drafted Brady at 2.7 over the weekend after brees went off the board at 1.12 and Brady went at 2.2, so I'm reassured by your comments. This draft will be interesting. I went WR-QB-WR-RB-RB and ended up with Larry Fitzgerald, Manning, Marques Colston, Ronnie Brown, and Lendale White. The scoring system is weighted towards TDs rather than yards, so I think I've got an intersting bunch.

Posted by: Steve | August 31, 2009 12:42 PM

Geno,
I've had this same thought about Peyton, who happens to be my quarterback on both teams I've drafted so far.

But I think you can look at it another way. Before last year, Brady had never missed a start due to injury either. Quarterbacks are prone to big injuries eventually, and Peyton, one could argue, is about due for a season-ender.

Obviously I wouldn't wish that on him or my teams, and he does make quick reads to go with his quick release to keep him out of harm's way ... I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Keith McMillan | September 1, 2009 12:43 AM

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