Let's face it, we might need to replace Peyton Manning with another quarterback for at least a few games this fantasy season. I'm shaking in my boots with you.
For those of us who thought Peyton's streak of 200-plus games would undoubtedly continue this season, here are a few options to put the mind at a little more ease, as impossible as that may sound.
These are five guys that are more than likely available to be picked up in most fantasy leagues.
After all, replacing a perennial top five fantasy quarterback isn't easy, or, as Reggie Wayne would say, vanilla.
We don't even know who the starter is in Washington yet, but whoever it is will have a pretty decent schedule. The Washington Redskins open against the New York Giants, but if the elder Manning brother doesn't return for a little while, owners will have matchups against the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams to look forward to in Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.
Fortunately for Dalton, and the Cincinnati Bengals in general, they don't have the hardest schedule in the NFL—far from it, actually. Dalton starts his career against the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos. Fantasy owners could be looking at a 2-0 record when/if Peyton comes back healthy just by starting Dalton the first two weeks.
Henne has been under a lot of criticism this offseason, but he has arguably the easiest first four games of any quarterback in the league. The secondaries of the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers don't really strike fear into opposing quarterbacks' hearts. Take a chance on Henne while Peyton is recovering.
McCoy has shown glimpses of what he can do in the NFL this preseason. He and rookie wideout Greg Little could be a fairly formidable connection for the next decade in Cleveland, but all you need are two opening games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts until Peyton comes back. Not a bad deal at all.
The Harvard graduate showed skeptics just what he's capable of last season. Fitzpatrick was one of the most pleasant surprises for fantasy owners in 2010. The Buffalo Bills open up against the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals. Even if Manning comes back after Week 1, you might still consider starting Fitzpatrick with those matchups!