As we continue to prepare for the NFL season, we’re excited to welcome aboard Michael Jacob to our fantasy football writing team. He’ll be contributing a weekly player spotlight to our comprehensive coverage. In his first spotlight, he’ll focus on a pivotal player who stole the headlines this offseason and is confounding fantasy football owners prepping for drafts: Peyton Manning. –Zach Thompson, Lead Editor, FantasyCPR
Once upon a time, Peyton Manning was a player that you would have considered taking in the first round due to his exhilarating play at quarterback and the serious points that he was capable of putting on your fantasy point total. His fantasy impact was so great that some fantasy owners last year even took the risk of taking him in the second, third or fourth round when his injury status was still very questionable.
This year the question is whether to take a risk on Manning. He has a lot of upside because we know how he run offenses and we know that he is going to be the centerpiece of whatever offense he is playing for. Peyton, however, is stepping into an offense that ranked 31st in passing offense. As much as that statistic relates to Tim Tebow’s loopy throwing motion, it is also directly correlated to the inconsistent receivers and average offensive line.
Although the Broncos made some offensive signings including Peyton’s old buddy Brandon Stokley, it will most likely not be enough to bring back the old Peyton. Peyton Manning in his prime had Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley. He also had the option to hand off to Edgerrin James who could tear up a field back then. It will be exciting to see what Peyton can do with offensive weapon Eric Decker.
The other elephant in the room is the question of Peyton’s injury. Sure Peyton and the Broncos staff are going to tell you that he has never looked better but everyone is thinking, “is Peyton going to get hit a couple of times and re-injure that neck of his?” No one knows. That is where most of the risk in taking Manning stems from.
My final suggestion: pass on Manning. His upside is strong but there are just too many questions. Is he getting too old? Will he re-injure himself? Is the Bronco’s offense strong enough to survive? Unless you can predict the future, you can’t answer those questions. Stay safe: draft a top eight quarterback from last year. Take Manning if he slips to late rounds.