2011 Fantasy Outlook: Eli Manning Closes the Gap on Big Brother
2010 Review: Eli Manning, No. 10
As it is with younger brothers who follow in the footsteps of their elder siblings, it is nearly impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other. Wanted or unwanted, this dogma is exceedingly prevalent in the case of the Manning brothers seeing that in some circles, the elder (Peyton) is considered somewhat of a fantasy football god.
Whether this notion is either completely cuckoo or legit, there's no argument against his status amongst the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks.
That said, after witnessing the rise of his younger brother’s numbers the past couple of seasons, we can also conclude that Eli’s position on the divine totem pole of fantasy QBs is now no more than just a single rung below Peyton and the rest of the elite.
Coming into the 2010 season, Eli was viewed as a fantasy quarterback on the rise after putting up career highs in completions, completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and, most importantly, fantasy points per game. With a young receiving corps that was one of the best in the NFL, consisting of Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, there was little to stand in his way from reaching the next level.
That is, until you throw a little thing called the “injury bug” into the mix.
The Giants' top two receivers, Nicks and Smith, would miss three and seven games respectively, while Manningham, though active for 16 games, would fight through various injuries throughout.
Will Eli ever surpass his brother in fantasy? If so, when?
But the receivers weren’t the only ones hit by the bug, as it spread deep into the offensive line as well. However, Giants OL coach Pat Flaherty was able to work a little magic and somehow keep Eli upright for the majority of the season; Manning suffered his fewest sacks ever (16) for a full season.
If you were wondering, yes, there is a reason I am making note of the obstacles Eli had to deal with in 2010, and the reason is this:
When the injuries start to pile on and the road ahead seems as hopeless and bleak as could be, some QBs pack it in, knowing they at least have a quasi-understandable excuse for their poor numbers at the end of the season.
Eli Manning is not one of those quarterbacks.
In fact, Eli went on to put up the best fantasy numbers of his career despite the numerous hardships he was forced to endure.
Of course, we can't ignore him throwing up a career-high 25 interceptions as well, but that shouldn't take away from his accomplishments.
2010 saw Eli go over the 4,000-yard passing plateau (4,002), have his finest year-end completion percentage (62.9 percent) and finally get his passing touchdown total up over the sacred mark of 30 in a season (31). To top it off, Eli finished the season with another career-best ranking, finishing seventh on the QB list with 291.1 total fantasy points (18.2 points/game).
As I said before, it’s tough to mention one brother without the other, and so I must this one last time.
Peyton Manning had to endure much of the same turmoil as Eli this past season, and just as his younger brother did, Peyton stood strong and fought through the adversity. Whether they acquired this trait from their father, Archie, or looked to each other for the strength to persevere, one thing is for sure: The Manning brothers are becoming more and more like each other every single year.
Don’t sleep on either one come draft time.
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Pros and Cons for 2011
(+) Despite numerous injuries to the WR corps, Eli managed to put up career bests in TDs (31), completions (339), completion percentage (62.9 percent) and fantasy points (291.1)
(+) The Giants are one of the few teams in the league with three legit high-level receivers to throw to (Nicks, St. Smith and Manningham)
(+) Hakeem Nicks is the real deal, folks, and Eli knows it
(+) Like his big brother, Eli is one of the most durable QBs in the NFL and hasn’t missed a game over the last six seasons
(+) Though inconsistent in 2010, the Giants running game is solid/dynamic enough to keep defenses honest and take the pressure off Manning
(+) Though Peyton is clearly the master of facial expressions, Eli plays a strong second fiddle to manningface.com
(–) It’s gotta be tough being the younger brother of a living legend who looks like he could play well into his 50s
(–) Eli still throws a ton of interceptions—beware in leagues that take away points for this
(–) Whenever he gets rattled early in a game, he seems to have a tough time pushing through it
(–) Inconsistency—Eli has a tendency to disappear for weeks at a time
For the rest of Eli Manning's Player Profile, CLICK HERE
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