Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's time to drop Peyton Manning...

... from your fantasy football team

Posted by Karl Brenkert on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Now, hear me out before you call me crazy, but I think it's time to trade Peyton Manning. I know, Manning is a lock for the MVP at this point in the season. He has 3,249 yards passing and 33 touchdowns with only 6 interceptions this year, and if he continues at this pace, he'll finish the year with over 5,700 yards and 58 touchdowns. Both numbers would obliterate the NFL single-season records. But Manning has never thrown for more than 5,000 yards in his career, and there are reasons to believe he won't be able to keep up his current pace.

First of all, Peyton Manning is 37 years old. On Monday, he had another MRI on the ankle that he sprained over a month ago. The nagging injuries are not healing as quickly as they used to, and this is the time of the season when they seem to accumulate. In addition to the high-ankle sprain, there is speculation that he's dealing with an injured shoulder and perhaps an injured knee, as well. The League has figured out one of the only ways to slow him down is to rough him up like the Colts, Jags, and Chargers have recently done.

It's not likely that the remaining teams on the Broncos schedule will take it easy on Peyton. This week, the Broncos host the No. 1 overall defense of the division rival and undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Then they get the Patriots, the Chiefs again, and the Titans, all of whom are among the league's top 10 defenses. The Broncos end the season against the Chargers, Texans, and Raiders. Only the Texans are not in the top 20 defenses. So far this season, Denver has played one of the easiest schedules in the entire league. Going forward, they play one of the toughest.

Another problem that Manning may have is the weather. Peyton has a reputation of under-performing in cold weather games, and the statistics seem to back up that theory. He is 0-4 in playoff games when the temperature is below 40 degrees. When the Broncos lost to the Ravens in the playoffs last year, it was 13 degrees at kickoff. In the double overtime game, Manning finished with 290 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The Colts, who know Manning better than anyone, opened their dome this year when Manning came to town. When winter comes to Denver, Manning will start to look mortal.

Despite his health, schedule, and history in cold weather, it's probable that Manning will set career marks for passing and touchdowns this season. In order to reach 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, he needs to put up 250 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game the rest of the way. While these are decent fantasy numbers, they are nowhere near the 361 yards and over 3.5 touchdowns he's averaged so far. They are also numbers you can get from lesser fantasy QBs. Ben Roethlisberger, brother Eli, and Joe Flacco all average more than 250 yards per game, and they may still be available on your waiver wire.

If you were to put Manning on the market, you could fill a lot of holes in your lineup. It wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for Nick Foles and Calvin Johnson. Or Marshawn Lynch and Alshon Jeffery. Or Gronk and Philip Rivers. If you've got the guts to let Manning go, you could assemble the parts to do something Manning has trouble doing every year. You could make a run in the playoffs.

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