Fantasy Football 2012: Choose Your Quarterback—Eli vs. Peyton Manning

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Fantasy Football 2012: Choose Your Quarterback—Eli vs. Peyton Manning
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New Broncos QB Peyton Manning (4,700 yards passing, 33 TDs with Indy in 2010) hasn't thrown an official NFL pass since January 2011.

Today's special hermano y hermano installment of "Choose Your Quarterback" pits the Giants' Eli Manning against the Broncos' Peyton Manning—the No. 6 and No. 12 passers, respectively, in my rankings of the 32 presumed starting quarterbacks.

(The above countdown will remain fluid throughout training camp and preseason play.)

Here's a week-by-week fantasy breakdown of Peyton vs. Eli...just in case you're torn on which Manning offers better draft-day value:

Week 1—Eli (vs. Dallas) over Peyton (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 2—Eli (vs. Tampa Bay) over Peyton (@ Atlanta)
Week 3—Peyton (vs. Houston) over Eli (@ Carolina)
Week 4—Peyton (vs. Oakland) over Eli (@ Philadelphia)
Week 5—Peyton (@ New England) over Eli (vs. Cleveland)
Week 6—Peyton (@ San Diego) over Eli (@ San Francisco)
Week 7—Eli (vs. Washington) over Peyton (BYE)
Week 8—Peyton (@ New Orleans) over Eli (@ Dallas)
Week 9—Eli (vs. Pittsburgh) over Peyton (@ Cincinnati)
Week 10—Peyton (@ Carolina) over Eli (@ Cincinnati)
Week 11—Peyton (vs. San Diego) over Eli (BYE)
Week 12—Eli (vs. Green Bay) over Peyton (@ Kansas City)
Week 13—Peyton (vs. Tampa Bay) over Eli (@ Washington)
Week 14—Eli (vs. New Orleans) over Peyton (@ Oakland)
Week 15—Eli (@ Atlanta) over Peyton (@ Baltimore)
Week 16—Peyton (vs. Cleveland) over Eli (@ Baltimore)
Week 17—Eli (vs. Philadelphia) over Peyton (vs. Kansas City)

Final Tally

In a grand upset...Peyton edges Eli, 9-8.


Breakdown

  • At first blush, it seems like Peyton (AFC West) has the easier intra-divisional draw over Eli (NFC East) for six Sundays, but check this out: In 2011, the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins allowed a combined weekly average of 678.1 yards passing...whereas the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders yielded a combined weekly average of 677.1 yards passing. Using that fascinating stat, Eli has (fractionally) better odds for big passing numbers against divisional foes this year (I realize how convoluted that all sounds, but work with me here).

  • We're splitting hairs with the matchups from Weeks 1, 3, 4, 5, 13, 15 and 17, which reiterates just how close the Manning brothers could be in the August drafts.

  • From the above board, I seemingly hold the Bengals' pass defense in the highest regard. Conversely, I apparently don't have much faith in the Saints' cornerbacks and pass-rushers.

  • From Weeks 4-15 last year (spanning 11 games), Eli Manning averaged 40.36 passes per outing—a dream figure for fantasy owners who worship at the church of More Reps, Bigger Numbers with quarterbacks. By extension, Eli (4,933 yards passing, 30 total TDs last year) deserves to be recognized as a top-six quarterback and a top-35 overall asset in the August drafts, regardless of how the Giants handle the rigors of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

  • Yes, Peyton has two formidable receivers (Demaryius Thomas/Eric Decker), two productive tight ends (Jacob Tamme/Joel Dreessen) and three intriguing running backs (Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman), but who's to say how Manning will function in a new city, with a new club, new coaches and a seemingly good-as-new neck in the short term?

  • Good/bad news for both quarterbacks: Neither one has a distinct advantage for the fantasy-playoff period of Weeks 13-16.

  • I'm willing to bet that Peyton throws for 300 yards against Houston in Week 3 (possibly to counteract an early deficit). Eli's seasonal best may come against the Packers in Week 12, highlighting perhaps the most titanic NFL matchup after Thanksgiving.

 

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

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