Peyton Manning: Breaking Down Fantasy Projection for Broncos' Star QB

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 09:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos leaves the field against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 31-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts watched their star quarterback Peyton Manning miss the 2011 NFL season with a neck injury and were faced with the very same uncertainty in 2012.

With Andrew Luck coming out in the 2012 draft, the Colts did the right thing by moving on from Manning.

With that said, there is plenty of juice left in the veteran QB’s tank, and the Denver Broncos will see that firsthand. So will you if you take Manning in your fantasy draft.

Experts in the media are claiming that Manning is back to 100 percent health, and that is a scary proposition for the rest of the NFL. Manning is one of the greatest QBs of all time, and if he regains his form of old, he will lead Denver to a lengthy playoff run.

As for his fantasy value, let’s just say he could be the greatest mid-round steal you ever come across.

Imagine calling Peyton Manning a sleeper?


Passing Yards

In Manning’s 13 years of on-field action, there have only been two seasons in which the star has thrown for less than 4,000 yards over the course of 16 games.

Not only do I expect him to play all 16 games, there is little doubt that with the playmakers around him and the offensive line in front of him that he will eclipse 4,000 passing yards and be closer to 4,500.

As much as Broncos head coach John Fox likes to rush the ball, the fact that the depth at running back is a concern and Manning can make the short passes as well as the long bombs will result in Manning throwing the ball 350 times at least.



Depending on the fantasy league you play in, the value of touchdowns for quarterbacks is different. Whether your league awards four or six points for touchdowns, you should expect a healthy dosage of TDs from the veteran QB this season.

Manning is looking to come back from a missed season and will be trying to send a message that he is far from done in the NFL. With over 30 touchdowns in six seasons, there is little doubt that Manning will find the end zone through the air at least 30 times.

With star wide receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, a plethora of solid pass-catching running backs and a tight-end duo of Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, 30 touchdowns and 4,000 yards are very obtainable.


Where to Pick Peyton

As much as these numbers will give you a top-five QB in the NFL, he is not being selected that way.

With the neck surgery, the entire 2011 season missed and the move to a new team all lowering his stock, you can grab a player that is first-round caliber in the late-third or early-fourth in most standard leagues.

While it is always smart to grab a top-tier QB like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees early in the draft if you can, waiting until the third round to get a sleeper-stud like Manning is the perfect plan.

With a stellar cast of characters on your fantasy team, the comeback season for Manning will make you look like a genius and win you the title. If you snag Manning in the third round, prepare for glory!


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