Peyton Manning is a very interesting fantasy player this year. A lot of people will draft him on his long time reputation as the best QB in fantasy football, but how long can he live up to that reputation? A lot of people – especially people who comment on Patriots blogs – think last season was the beginning of the end for Manning and the Colts. Which one is it? I’m going to debate myself and try to find out. This is something I do all the time in my head while I’m working on my draft rankings, but this year I’m going to do it out in writing. In public. Which is going to be even more schizophrenic than it sounds.
PRO: Manning is the #1 QB in fantasy football this year. You heard me, Numero Uno. Reggie Wayne is one of the great WRs in the league. Dallas Clark is probably the best TE in the league. Maybe you’ve heard of Joseph Addai? He’s pretty good. Manning has all the weapons he needs to put up big numbers again.
CON: Forget it. Manning is easily behind Drew Brees AND Tom Brady in the QB rankings. In fact, you might be able to put Rivers or Warner ahead of him too.
PRO: Brees? You mean you’re going to count on Lance Moore and Jeremy Shockey? Ha! Warner is old, Rivers can actually SEE Tomlinson visibly age and Brady is coming off a knee injury and doesn’t have a starting RB. Neither one of those guys have the complete offensive tools that Manning has.
CON: Tools? Marvin Harrison left town. Dominic Rhodes was their leading rusher and HE left town. Who’s going to make up those yards? A rookie? Give me a break.
PRO: Yeah, a rookie. RB Donald Brown will be a force in the backfield and WR Anthony Gonzalez has been waiting for his big break. 664 receiving yards last year and this is his 3rd year. That means breakout. That means it’s going to be showtime for AGonz this season. Man, AGonz is a terrible nickname, isn’t it?
CON: Wasn’t he one of the Ghostbusters? Anyway, you could see last year that the Indy offense wasn’t clicking. They struggled against younger teams. They lost to Green Bay and Jacksonville. Teams don’t fear them anymore. There are very few "guaranteed" wins on their schedule this year. I’m not sure they even get to 10 wins again.
PRO: What?! The schedule is one of the arguments FOR Manning. Since the Colts didn’t win the division, they don’t have to play a first place schedule. They miss out on games against division winners Carolina, NY Giants, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and San Diego.
CON: Yeah, but they do have to play second place teams Baltimore, New England and Denver. Thank you wild card! Those games aren’t going to be easy. And Manning is getting all whiny about losing assistant coaches. He’ll be distracted.
PRO: While Brady lost his offensive coordinator too. And talk about being distracted – Brady spent an entire off-season cavorting around Brazil with a supermodel. Remember in high school when Coach said "No screwing around the night before the big game"? The equivalent here is "No screwing around for 8 months non-stop before the big season".
CON: That’s your Pro-Manning argument? Brady has had too much tail?!
PRO: Hey, if you spent all that time being nursed back to health by Giselle, would you wake up and say "Hooray! Time to do wind sprints until I puke!" Brady won’t be the same. Tiger wasn’t the same after HE married a supermodel, was he? That stuff messes you up man.
CON: I wish I had that problem. Still, I’m not buying it. Manning is a very good fantasy quarterback, but not one of the best. If you draft him on reputation, you’ll be disappointed.
PRO: I wouldn’t draft him in the first round, but if he slips into the late 2nd or early 3rd round, he’ll provide a huge return on that investment. At that draft position, he’s pretty much a sleeper. You have to take him there instead of risking a "sophomore slump" with Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan.
CON: I thought too much "sleeping" was one of the problems with Brady?
PRO: I don’t think he slept much.