2014 Fantasy Football: Is Peyton Manning a must pick in Round 1

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Updated: May 4, 2014

Peyton Manning2014 Fantasy Football: Is Peyton Manning a must pick in Round 1

I am sure you have a waste basket full of your wadded up mock draft sheets at this point, just a few days away from the real NFL draft. Lots of people use the mock drafts to prep for their own fantasy picks when the time rolls around for that draft. It is a good way to get used to picking, if you are a rookie to the fantasy football world. Also, it helps you with your draft choices, since you are doing research on players for your mock draft. You just naturally start learning more about player after player. It becomes somewhat of a science at that point. And we all become mad scientists when it comes to our fantasy leagues.

One pick that is sure to be a common theme when the fantasy drafts get into full swing, is Peyton Manning going #1 overall in many fantasy leagues. Manning chewed up the fantasy world last season as well as the real NFL world. He was the top QB on the field and on fantasy boards each week. Choosing Manning is not a bad idea with your first round pick. They guy is not going to forget how to do what he does overnight. I would caution though, that he is not likely to meet the numbers that he and the Broncos put up last year. That 2013 performance will likely be the pinnacle of #18’s career. Those stats are just going to be hard to match for any quarterback, even Peyton in the 2014 version of himself. He will surely light up defenses again, but you need to have the right expectations for his fantasy stats this year. He may finish in the top three or four QBs at the end of the season, and that may be enough for you to justify taking him in the first round.

Will the revamped Broncos be better overall? I should think so with all the defensive improvements they made in free agency. The defense will not help Manning directly with fantasy points, but it will make a difference in a roundabout way of course. If the defense puts Manning’s offense in better field position and creates more turnovers, then surely the Broncos will score early and often. It was not like Denver had a tough time scoring on anyone last year…well except for the Super Bowl. Sorry Denver fan! The Denver Broncos did lose Eric Decker, who produced some fantasy points for himself and Manning. Well, let’s be honest, Manning generated the points for Decker, who will be very lucky to get 60% of the stats he had last season with a future first ballot hall of famer getting him the ball.

Also the Broncos did lose former Georgia Bulldog, Knowshon Moreno to free agency. Moreno signed a one season contract with the Miami Dolphins. Sure, he was a steady runner for the Broncos, and he actually made it easier for his QB to rack up fantasy points. But his backup, Monte Ball should take over the starting running back position nicely. Ball has not been an elite player in the NFL so far, but what he did in college was amazing and he did it on a consistent basis. So I feel like the Broncos have faith that Ball can fill the shoes that Moreno left behind. Peyton Manning has a way of making all his offensive starters look much better than what they would be on another team. Great leaders have that uncanny knack.

If I were to pick a different QB than Manning just on a hunch that the Denver signal caller could fall from his elite throne in 2014, I would have just a few options. Drew Brees is steady and was the second best fantasy QB last year, so he is an option. Nick Foles came from nowhere in 2013 to be a legit threat to dominate the league in 2014. Or just as easily, he could be a flash in the pan, but I doubt it. The numbers he put up for Philly, after getting the starting job from Michael Vick, were truly awesome. Another quarterback that I would have to consider taking as soon as the first round, would be Matt Ryan. I know you can get him in later rounds so that is the better option. But Ryan is poised to put up some great numbers in 2014. He has Julio Jones coming back and Roddy White should be 100% to start the year this fall. Ryan had a decent year passing the football a year ago, although it is hard to tell it from the dismal record the Falcons ended their season with.

Choosing Manning is mostly going to be the default for most guys in the first round of fantasy balling, if a QB is what you are bound and determined to draft. I am aware of that fact. But a QB may not be the best choice, when running backs that can rack up big time points are so scarce. There are many quarterbacks that you can rely on for a 300 yard passing game, but not too many rushers that can even gain 100 yards in a game anymore. Rushing the football is becoming a lost art of war. I would really have to weigh the options with my first pick between even the great Peyton Manning and let’s say Adrian Peterson. If you miss out on Manning there are at least nine other quarterbacks that can generate very good fantasy points. I cannot say the same for the next nine running backs behind AP. Fantasy is all about value, and Manning’s value is still riding high after the past couple of dynamic seasons. But the question is about the overall position’s value. Is a top QB better than a top runner combined with another decent runner that you could get back to back, if you let the flashy QB go to the next guy.

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