Fantasy Football 2011: Is This the Year Peyton Manning Falls from the Top?

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Fantasy Football 2011: Is This the Year Peyton Manning Falls from the Top?
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Peyton Manning has had five straight 4,000 yard seasons. He has hit that mark in 11 of his 13 seasons. He has thrown at least 26 touchdowns every year. He’s had 30-plus touchdowns in four of the past five years and six times in his career.

Most importantly, he has never missed a start.

They say all good things must come to an end. Is this the beginning of the end for Manning?

Hardly. Even if he struggles a bit this year, I am confident that Manning has a few good seasons left up his sleeve. What’s important to fantasy owners is how he’ll do this year.

That is a valid concern. After all, Manning seems to be recovering from his neck injury much slower than he has past injuries. You wonder if the lockout played a role, since he did not have access to team trainers.

Manning is a preparation junkie. By now, he has thrown more passes to all of his skill position players than any other quarterback in the league, and it’s not even close.

Not only does he get on the same page with his starters, he knows the tendencies of the backups in case an injury forces them into action.

Manning could start the season a little rusty, especially by his standards, but I would be surprised if he wasn’t ready to go when the season begins. He is as proud of his consecutive-games streak as almost any of his other accomplishments.

Will Peyton Manning Have a Down Year?

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Once things begin to click, he’ll likely be his old self, throwing for about 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns. He won’t be as dominant as he has been the past few years, but he’ll still be pretty darn good.

He should be a steal for fantasy owners. I think Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are safer picks. I’ll a little uncertain about Michael Vick, but I would not have an issue with somebody taking him as even the first quarterback off the board.

Personally, I would take Manning before Vick. I can even see Matt Ryan going before Manning, as the Falcons look serious about opening up their offense. After that, though, I see no reason why Manning would be passed upon.

Matt Schaub should put up big numbers, but nobody in league history has the track record of Peyton Manning. Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, etc. are great quarterbacks, but I can’t put them on a better year than Peyton Manning.

The neck concerns make Manning a nice value pick for the first time since early in his career. I would be hard-pressed to pass on him in the sixth round where he seems to be going in drafts.

I think we’re all worrying for nothing. He’ll deliver like he always does.

How about you? You think Peyton Manning is in for a down year, or will he continue to compile historic numbers? 


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