Monday, August 09, 2010

The fantasy rock that is Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning has now played for 12 seasons. He has never missed a game with injury. In every season he has played, he has had at least 3,700 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns. He's had 10 4,000 yard seasons and five 30+ TD seasons. He has never ranked lower than 7th in passing yards; he's been in the top-three nine times. He has never ranked lower than 5th in passing touchdowns; he's been in the top-three eight times. And he does this despite resting during Week 17 (and sometimes Week 16) so regularly that you even have to build that into your draft plans.

Peyton Manning is the most bankable superstar in fantasy football; if you draft him, he will give you good numbers. Maybe, of course, you have reasons for not using a high pick or auction dollars on a quarterback. The difference between the 1st and 10th QB is smaller than the difference between the 1st and 10th RB. It's easy to get a cheap QB to produce 85-90% of the top QB's production, while it is more difficult (and usually requires luck) to find a cheap RB to produce 85-90% of the top RB's production.

To win a fantasy football championship, you'll need to take some risks. You're going to draft some players knowing they have the potential to bust. You're going to have to take some players for whom you more hope than know you'll get production. But you should also draft players that you know are going to keep your team productive from week to week, who at the end of the season will have provided you with outstanding fantasy numbers.

There's really only one major negative to drafting Peyton Manning: those brutal times of wondering when the Colts will rest starters, and counting on your backups during Week 17 (if your league goes that long). I keep telling myself that won't go on forever, that after something like six straight years of resting starters Week 17, someday the Colts will actually have to play 16 regular season games hard. Someday, I guess.

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