Where to Draft Peyton Manning

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET

Many fantasy owners have ridden to their championships on the back of Peyton Manning. He has been consistently great for so long that brand name alone has historically made him a first or second round fantasy pick. His production leveled off last season where others have picked up, which leaves us with the question, 'Where should you draft Peyton Manning this year?'

Peyton ManningThings can change as we get closer to the season, but here in late July our friends at Fantasy Football Calculator show Peyton's ADP at 4.01. That means that in a 12-team league, he's being taken with the first pick of the 4th round (37th pick overall). Fantasy Football Nerd's weighted consensus has Peyton ranked 46th overall which would be near the end of the 4th round. Across both platforms, Manning is generally the 5th quarterback off the board after Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

This will be the first time that someone like Wilson has ranked ahead of Manning. Peyton is projected to score 293 fantasy points this year with Wilson projected just 9 points more. Wilson pales in comparison to passing yards and touchdowns, but he moves ahead with a projected 588 rushing yards to Peyton's 11. Manning actually rushed for a negative 24 yards last season, so we're left to count on his passing talent, which for fantasy owners has always been a blessing...or has it?

There's no denying that Manning is as brilliant a QB as they come, but an anonymous defensive coordinator recently told ESPN's Mike Sando that the Broncos are very concerned with Manning's mobility and arm strength. In the second half of last season, Manning threw 10 interceptions – 3rd most in the league. In 2013, Manning racked up 409 fantasy points. Last year it was just 308 meaning that fantasy owners scored 6 points LESS from him every game. In 2013, Manning threw for more than 300 yards in 12 games. Last year it dropped to just 7 games.

To be fair, Manning's numbers last year were more in line with his historical performances, but at age 39 we should start to put some realistic expectations on him.

Looking at the Denver schedule this year, Manning has an easy schedule with some tasty fantasy matchups. He has an elite wide receiver in Demaryius Thomas who has publicly assured us that he'll be the number 1 WR in the league this year. There's reason to be optimistic about what Peyton will accomplish in 2015, but there's also reason to be cautious.

If Peyton goes before the 4th round, stock up on other skill position players and wait on your QB. Be thrilled if he's there at the end of the 4th or start of the 5th, but don't be surprised when someone drafts him too early based upon his name. He's still a great QB but too expensive for rounds 1-3.

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