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Fantasy Football Breakdown: The Dangers of Drafting Eli Manning

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IApril 24, 2009

The pressure that comes with the NFL Draft is no secret. Making the wrong selection can not only set a franchise back years, but it can also cause those making the decisions to lose their jobs. Luckily as fantasy owners, our draft day decisions do not hold the same kind of importance. That said however, making a crucial draft day mistake can lead to a long and painful season.

With that in mind, Kyle Smith, a newbie to the Bruno Boys, takes a look at the dangers of drafting Eli Manning of the New York Giants.

There were six games in the 2008 season where Eli Manning actually helped his fantasy owners notch a victory. It could be argued there were less, depending on scoring formats. I’m assuming anyone who reads this has passed the first grade, so you should know that means there were 10 contests in which Manning was a non-factor, or worse, a detriment.

Eli shooting up fantasy draft boards last season after winning the Super Bowl was easier to predict than a Lions game last season, even though he was coming off a year where he completed just 56.1 percent of his throws with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

His total numbers did improve in 2008, as he completed more than 60 percent of his passes, 60.3% to be exact. It was the first time in his career that he surpassed that mark, while also tossing 21 scores and only 10 interceptions.

Even though he improved across the board, you will not see Eli Manning on any of my teams in 2009. Why? Because of the inconsistency we mentioned above. One of the more underrated aspects of winning fantasy leagues is having players perform at a reasonably consistent level week-to-week. In fact, of the six games I mentioned that Manning actually benefited his fantasy owners, three of them took place in New York’s first four games, and none were after Week 12. Which means another thing, he absolutely bombed in the fantasy playoffs.

Here were Manning’s numbers from Weeks 14-16: 48-for-89 (53.9 percent), 495 yards (163.0 per game average), two touchdowns, and two interceptions. So, unless you had DeAngelo Williams on your squad to go with Manning, you likely didn’t win anything.

This season, I like Manning even less than previous years. The reason is simple: Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg, causing the Giants to release him. I don’t care if they do acquire, the man who led the NFL in drops last season, Braylon Edwards to be the new Plaxico. Manning’s inaccuracy simply does not lend itself to fantasy success. In the 12 games the Giants after Week 7, including the playoffs, Manning completed less than 60 percent of his passes nine times. On top of that he only had three multiple touchdown games, which incidentally equals the amount of times he failed to throw a score.

To be clear, I’m not saying Manning is utterly undraftable, even though personally I’d rather have Cooper Manning on my fantasy team than Eli, but he’s not the type of player fantasy owners can rely on. 

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