Eli Manning's Week 1 Performance Symbolizes Feast or Famine Fantasy Output

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half on September 8, 2013 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If you have Eli Manning on your fantasy football team, you can't be surprised by his performance on Sunday night.

He threw for 450 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in the New York Giants' 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It was the Jekyll and Hyde showing that has come to be almost synonymous with Manning.

In the first half, he looked utterly hopeless, and it was Manning faces galore. He was forcing too many throws and taking way too many risks, few of which were paying off. Then in the second half, the veteran QB turned it around, torching the Cowboys secondary and hooking up with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to great success.

By the time the game was over, Manning's fantasy owners were probably looking at 20 or 30 points. Not a bad haul after that turnaround in the second half. The three picks didn't end up hurting all that much, either.

It was the kind of night that underlined the fact that there are few quarterbacks who are as maddening in the realm of fantasy football. In fact, Manning has probably taken the crown away from Philip Rivers to make himself the top feast or famine QB.

Sure you're going to get performances where he'll throw for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns. He's also going to have his games where he throws three interceptions and only has 150-200. Sometimes you get a little bit of both in one game, like on Sunday night.

You should already know by now that having Manning as your No. 1 fantasy QB can be hazardous to your health. It's the kind of gamble that could win or lose your league. Come playoff time, getting those 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns can be all the difference. Conversely, Manning could have one of his stinker games and doom you to finish runner-up or worse.

He's not going to all of a sudden turn into his brother where he's automatic for 250-300 yards and three touchdowns. After such a huge performance, you have to remember there will be the unbearable lows that make you wonder why you ever got him in the first place.

Most fantasy players have already drafted their teams, leaving no other way to get Manning other than a trade. Perhaps you're in a league where the owner already has a starting QB and has Manning stashed away on the bench.

If that's the case, trade for the Giants signal-caller at your own peril.