Peyton Manning: Updated Fantasy Football Analysis and Outlook

Zach KruseSenior Analyst ISeptember 30, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning entered the 2012 season as one of the most unpredictable players in fantasy football. 

Three neck surgeries, an entire season missed and a release from the only NFL team he's ever played for helped make Manning one of the more interesting fantasy football subplots leading into this season. 

His muddy outlook is starting to get more clear, with three games available to base some early conclusions of Manning's 2012 fantasy season. 

Here's an updated look at Manning for the rest of the season:

Fantasy Outlook

In three games, Manning has sandwiched one terrible performance with two encouraging starts against really good defenses. 

After throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, Manning tossed three first-quarter interceptions in a seven-point (ESPN standard leagues) fantasy finish in Atlanta.

But just when some were ready to write off Manning, he threw for 330 yards and two scores against the Houston Texans last week. 

That's probably going to be the story of Manning's season: big statistical games with some duds thrown in the mix. 

The big days—Manning was in the top 10 of quarterbacks scoring-wise in both Week 1 and 3—are enough to keep him as a legitimate No. 1 fantasy quarterback for the rest of the season. During any given week, Manning should be and will be pre-ranked in the top 10.

Unless you have another sure thing at quarterback, Manning is worthy of staying as your starter the rest of this season.  

Another encouraging sign is Manning's health, which hasn't been a factor so far this season. He has taken some hits but bounced right back up after each one.

And while his arm strength may not be all the way back, he's slowly adapting to his new physical skill set. The deep balls downfield have become more and more rare. 

Overall, Manning has shown enough in three games to feel comfortable with him this season. It will always be to your advantage to have a capable backup in case the 36-year-old does suffer another injury, but Manning looks like a sure-fire starter for most weeks in 2012.