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The case for Peyton Manning

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The case for Peyton Manning

Postby joshyboy72 » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:10 pm

A little something to chew on for all you Manning disputers, courtesy of The Huddle. It's a bit long so I made the important info red.

The Huddle wrote:The Case for Peyton Manning -- Five Reasons to Draft Him #1 Overall
Paul Sandy
July 13, 2005

So you’ve drawn the first overall draft pick in your fantasy league. You did a little dance. Made a little noise. Now it’s time to do a little research.

The choice you make with that glorious #1 selection will set the tone for the entire draft. Nay, the entire season. But the reality is that tone has gotten a bit monotonous in recent years. Running backs have become the focal point of fantasy football. Marshall Faulk. Edgerrin James. Priest Holmes. LaDainian Tomlinson. Conventional wisdom says these are the types of players you take with the #1 overall selection. You might have already decided to call the name of a running back with that fateful first pick.

But maybe, just maybe, times have changed. Maybe the league has changed. Maybe you’ve changed. And maybe running backs aren’t the end all be all. Maybe the other positions have closed the gap. Maybe you can build your team around another type of player. And maybe you’ll be the one break the mold. Maybe you’ll think outside the box. Maybe you’ll throw away the box. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll take a quarterback. Maybe Manning.

Here are five reasons why Peyton Manning may indeed be the perfect player to take with the first overall draft pick:

1. The man can almost single-handedly lead your team to the playoffs.

If there’s a litmus test for the first overall fantasy pick, this is it. When you’re drafting #1, you need a player who can score points. A boatload of points. Points from yardage. Points from touchdowns. So many points that you always have a shot to win, even when the rest of your team stinks. Emmitt Smith used to have this ability. So did Marshall Faulk.

But who has it today?

In my mind, only two players in the NFL currently possess this level of dominance week in and week out: LaDainian Tomlinson and, of course, Peyton Manning. In virtually every fantasy football league, regardless of scoring system, these should be the top two contenders for the #1 overall pick.

Tomlinson is hands down the most gifted running back in the NFL. He is a rare triple threat—with the ability to rack up big points via rushing yardage, receiving yardage, and touchdowns. Despite sitting out the second half of a handful of games due to injuries in 2004, he still managed a league-high 17 rushing scores and 1,700 all-purpose yards. He is listed at the top of many fantasy preseason rankings. A worthy honor? Perhaps, but the case for Manning is undeniable.

The Colts quarterback tossed an NFL record 49 touchdowns last season. To illustrate the magnitude of this statistic, consider that Manning had more passing touchdowns in 2004 than the Houston Texans have had during the entire existence of the franchise (39). No, Mr. Carr, you’ll get no apologies.

2005 Passing Statistics: Weeks 1-16
Player QB Rat. Comp. Att. Yds. Int. TDs
Peyton Manning 121.1 335 495 4551 10 49

Exactly how Manning’s lofty stats translate into fantasy points varies from league to league, scoring system to scoring system. However, any way you cut it, the outrageous yardage and touchdowns are enough to light up any fantasy scoreboard. On the way to earning the MVP award, Manning threw three or more touchdowns in nine games. He averaged 300+ yards in the first 16 weeks, twice throwing for more than 425 yards.

These are huge numbers. Pair them with even a mediocre backfield and wide receiving corps and you’ll still have an excellent chance at winning on any given week. Hit the bull’s eye on any running backs or receivers later in the draft and you can consider your ticket to the postseason officially punched.

At this point, the savvy fantasy owner is thinking, “I know Manning scores a ton of points, but quarterbacks are a dime a dozen. Besides, running backs are the bread and butter of every fantasy squad. I need to get a stud RB with my first pick.” This brings me to my second argument in the case for Manning.

2. Excellent running backs can be found later in your draft.

The current crop of running backs is as deep as it has ever been. Why? It’s simple math, really. The NFL has recently had an influx of top quality ball carriers. At the same time, the existing running backs are performing at a high level deeper into their careers.

In 2004, we witnessed the emergence of several young ball carriers recently out of college. Guys like Julius Jones, Kevin Jones, Willis McGahee, Chris Brown, Domanick Davis, Steven Jackson, and Rudi Johnson emerged as dependable fantasy starters. Equally important, last season Curtis Martin, Tiki Barber, Warrick Dunn, Emmitt Smith, and Jerome Bettis proved that the bell doesn’t necessarily toll on a running back’s career after age 29. Meanwhile, most of the premier RBs—trusted studs like Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson, Corey Dillon, and Ahman Green—continued to post solid stats. And let’s not fail to consider the addition of promising rookie running backs that will enter the league this year. Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, and Cedric Benson to name a few.

The volume of quality RBs makes it difficult to rank the position top to bottom. It also leads to some widely-ranging opinions. You could make the case that Jamal Lewis should be ranked among the top five RBs. I could just as easily formulate a pretty convincing argument that he shouldn’t be in the top 10.

With so much debate on the topic of running backs, don’t be surprised to see some topflight ball carriers still on the board in the third, fourth, and fifth rounds of your draft. In fact, it’s fairly likely many leagues will see the NFL’s top rusher last season, Curtis Martin, drop into the third round of their draft or beyond. When was the last time that happened? It probably never has.

The point here is that in 10, 12, and even 14-team leagues, you can draft Manning with that first overall pick and still end up with a formidable starting backfield. In addition to Martin, proven players like Fred Taylor and Bryan Westbrook, both of whom finished with 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2005, could be available to pick when it’s your turn again. As could young up-and-comers like Steven Jackson, DeShaun Foster, Tatum Bell, and rookie Ronnie Brown. All are capable of carrying a fantasy squad.

3. No other player is as consistently good.

To be deemed a success, first-round picks need to avoid let-downs. When your top draft pick has a poor performance, your team can have a tough time winning. Games with zero touchdowns and below average yardage are a bitter pill to swallow. In recent years, Manning has been better than any player in the NFL at avoiding these types of disappointing performances.

Last season, he posted multiple touchdown efforts in the first 13 games of the season—an NFL record. All told, he only had two games without multiple touchdowns and one of those came in Week 17, a game that he rested up for the playoffs and only attempted two passes. When it comes to yardage, Manning is equally consistent. He only had two games in which he posted fewer than 200 yards—again, one of those came in Week 17.

Perhaps most impressive is his ratio of touchdown passes to games played. Manning has started 112 career games and tossed 216 touchdown passes—an average of 1.9286 per game. Folks, that’s the highest of any QB in NFL history with 150+ touchdowns. Any fantasy owner would love to get two touchdowns per game out of his or her QB. Of course, Manning’s owners did even better last season when he averaged 3.2666 touchdowns per game.

How does Tomlinson compare? Not quite so good. The Chargers workhorse had five games with fewer than 100 all-purpose yards. While he scored a touchdown in all but one game, Tomlinson only logged multiple touchdowns in four games last season. In fairness, he was nicked up and missed sizeable portions of many games. But, of course, that didn’t make it any easier for his owners to stomach. And that brings me to my fourth argument.

4. Manning doesn’t get hurt.

A simple observation: Players need to be on the field to score points. There’s no disputing that Manning has an uncanny knack for staying healthy and staying on the field. If it weren’t for Brett Favre, the football world would be looking at Manning’s durability in a collective awe. With 112 consecutive starts, Manning owns the longest career-opening streak of any QB in NFL history. In Week 5 this season, he’ll climb into second place for consecutive starts among quarterbacks, surpassing Ron Jaworski (116).

While you likely wouldn’t place Manning among the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL, you can’t argue with his ability to avoid contact. He was sacked only 13 times last season, second only to Favre among QBs who started every game. It’s no wonder that Manning has missed just 139 snaps in his entire career—and only one of those snaps was due to injury. Let that sink in for a minute…

… Now consider how the league’s best running backs stack up. In recent years, Tomlinson and Holmes have experienced an assorted list of bumps and bruises. Holmes has been unable to finish the season each of the last two years. Tomlinson frustrated owners last year by sitting out extended chunks of games. The fact is, it’s a rare occasion when Manning takes a hit. As a result his joints are rarely put under the awkward contortions of his running back counterparts. That makes him perhaps the safest pick in the draft.

5. He’s in his prime. And continues to get better.

At 29 years of age, Manning is in the prime of his career. Some would argue that he will never duplicate last season’s record-setting, MVP effort. I disagree. The Indianapolis offense is a machine. With three Pro-Bowl caliber receivers, a top 10 running back, and an athletic tight end, Manning has all the tools to continue his incredible run.

What’s more, Manning is a student of the game. This isn’t a guy who spends his off-season fishing or working on his golf game. He hosts a quarterback camp where he does nothing but work on becoming a better passer. He studies defensive schemes, works on fundamentals, stays in shape. In a decade or so, don’t be surprised if Manning’s work ethic begins to draw comparisons to that exhibited by Jerry Rice for so many years.

If you’re lucky enough to draw the first overall draft pick this season, you are in an enviable position. For the first time in a long time, you have a choice to make. It’s no longer a foregone conclusion that your top selection overall has to be a running back. Peyton Manning has asserted himself as a contender for the coveted first selection. The case has been presented. The facts are before you. And now, you’re on the clock.
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Postby VaderFin » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:12 pm

Sorry, I'm just not drafting a QB #1...I don't care who it is.
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Postby terpfan » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:16 pm

I just don't understand why so many people think that just because he threw 49 TDs last year and he is "in his prime" that he is now going to repeat those numbers year after year. He's had so many years of great years but not #1 overall years that its hard for me to believe that will change because of one incredible season. The last time a QB flirted with the top 5 it was Kurt Warner, and we all know how that turned out...
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Postby J2thez929 » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:16 pm

Good facts but unless the league I'm in counts passing TDs as 6 points, I don't think I can get myself to draft him #1 overall
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Re: The case for Peyton Manning

Postby deluxe_247 » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:29 pm

The point here is that in 10, 12, and even 14-team leagues, you can draft Manning with that first overall pick and still end up with a formidable starting backfield. In addition to Martin, proven players like Fred Taylor and Bryan Westbrook, both of whom finished with 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2005, could be available to pick when it’s your turn again. As could young up-and-comers like Steven Jackson, DeShaun Foster, Tatum Bell, and rookie Ronnie Brown. All are capable of carrying a fantasy squad.


i dont know about anyone else, but i would be pretty scared going into this season with 2 of these RBs as my starters. (martin and westy would most likely be gone in the larger leagues reffered to)

as ive said before..i dont think manning will put up those kind of stats as he did last year again....thus i dont think he warrants that early of a pick unless you are in a 8 man league, where there is more talent to be had at RB when it comes back to you.
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Postby koffeeboy » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:34 pm

the discrepancy between LT and the RB's you can compliment Manning with at 24/25 (12 team, serpentine) isnt good enough...

as opposed to getting LT and complimenting him with a RB/WR combo at 24/25 and getting a good QB (Brady, Pennington, etc) in Rd 4 or 5.
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Postby koffeeboy » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:35 pm

And I didnt even have to read that damned long article to know I wont draft him # 1.
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Re: The case for Peyton Manning

Postby ES03 » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:41 pm

deluxe_247 wrote:
The point here is that in 10, 12, and even 14-team leagues, you can draft Manning with that first overall pick and still end up with a formidable starting backfield. In addition to Martin, proven players like Fred Taylor and Bryan Westbrook, both of whom finished with 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2005, could be available to pick when it’s your turn again. As could young up-and-comers like Steven Jackson, DeShaun Foster, Tatum Bell, and rookie Ronnie Brown. All are capable of carrying a fantasy squad.


i dont know about anyone else, but i would be pretty scared going into this season with 2 of these RBs as my starters. (martin and westy would most likely be gone in the larger leagues reffered to)

as ive said before..i dont think manning will put up those kind of stats as he did last year again....thus i dont think he warrants that early of a pick unless you are in a 8 man league, where there is more talent to be had at RB when it comes back to you.


It is true that Peyton will not repeat last season, but it's also true he's a good bet for 4500/40..he is a viable option for #1 overall depending on how much weight is given to passing yards. I would not be scared at all to have a 2 RBs from a list of Westy/Carnell/S. Jackson/Tatum Bell/Curtis Martin/Lamont Jordan...there would even be higher talent left in a 10-12 team league. To win a fantasy league, you have to show balls, and know your break-out players. Peyton will outscore all RBs in most formats, and it would be a dramatic difference in leagues that award 25-30 yds a pt for passing. You take Peyton, you can almost guarantee that your team has the highest scorer week in and week out.

Bennett>Coles.
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Postby 9er Fan » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:53 pm

I would have to consider it in a passing TD = 6 points league. The thing that is tough though (obviously) is how many RBs will be off the board when you draft again: Let's say CPepp, McNabb, Moss, Owens, Harrison and Holt are off the board. That means 16 RB are gone before you draft again. Then let's say you draft 2 RBs (giving you among the worst starting RB in your league... Then you draft your #1 WR with the final pick in the 4th round...

Taking a QB with the #1 overall pick just really starts a snowball effect that is tough to recover from, unless you draft very well and/or get lucky.

Then when you see Trent Green on the board in the 7th, you're kicking yourself...
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Re: The case for Peyton Manning

Postby deluxe_247 » Wed Jul 13, 2005 6:05 pm

ES03 wrote:
deluxe_247 wrote:
The point here is that in 10, 12, and even 14-team leagues, you can draft Manning with that first overall pick and still end up with a formidable starting backfield. In addition to Martin, proven players like Fred Taylor and Bryan Westbrook, both of whom finished with 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2005, could be available to pick when it’s your turn again. As could young up-and-comers like Steven Jackson, DeShaun Foster, Tatum Bell, and rookie Ronnie Brown. All are capable of carrying a fantasy squad.


i dont know about anyone else, but i would be pretty scared going into this season with 2 of these RBs as my starters. (martin and westy would most likely be gone in the larger leagues reffered to)

as ive said before..i dont think manning will put up those kind of stats as he did last year again....thus i dont think he warrants that early of a pick unless you are in a 8 man league, where there is more talent to be had at RB when it comes back to you.


It is true that Peyton will not repeat last season, but it's also true he's a good bet for 4500/40..he is a viable option for #1 overall depending on how much weight is given to passing yards. I would not be scared at all to have a 2 RBs from a list of Westy/Carnell/S. Jackson/Tatum Bell/Curtis Martin/Lamont Jordan...there would even be higher talent left in a 10-12 team league. To win a fantasy league, you have to show balls, and know your break-out players. Peyton will outscore all RBs in most formats, and it would be a dramatic difference in leagues that award 25-30 yds a pt for passing. You take Peyton, you can almost guarantee that your team has the highest scorer week in and week out.

Bennett>Coles.


i do think manning will once again be the #1 fantasy QB this year, but id say your estimate of 40 TDs is still higher than mine. id put him upper 30's at best...and i think the dropoff from him to the next guys will be much less dramatic than it was this year. last year was his career year, and i dont project his draft position according to a career year.

as far as the RBs, the drafts im in have never dropped martin that far, even in the 10 man ones. in a 12 man you might be able to land jordan, jackson or westy...but thats not even a given. in a 14 man league, forget about it. i would much rather take LT2 with that first pick, get one of those RBs mentioned...like jordan...and then get a trent green or a bulger in the 5th...guys that i believe will be within 10 tds of manning anyways.

in my experience it doesnt always take "showing balls" to win a championship. there have been a number of times where i have played it safe...drafted my 2 RBs first, and won the title. showing balls can bury your team just as fast as it can win it for you.

i think you can consider LT2 a sure thing also...and id much rather take him than any QB, regardless of league scoring. the dropoff from quality RBs is pretty steep compared to that of QBs, combined with the fact that you only start one.

so basically..IMO the dropoff from peyton to the other top 5 QBs this year will be less than the dropoff from LT2 to guys like jordan-bell.

coles>bennett
Last edited by deluxe_247 on Wed Jul 13, 2005 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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