By Ari Gilberg
In every relationship, goodbyes are always tough – sometimes borderline unbearable. You’ve been through so much with your partner that you feel as though your life is tied to his/hers, to the point where it’s simply unfathomable to picture yourself without that individual in your life.
Towards the tail end of every relationship, however, you start to realize that deep down inside you’re better off without that person – every bone in your body is telling you this – but you just can’t seem to let go. Every time you’re about to cut this cancer from your life, all the memories quickly flood back – the highs, the lows, the good, the bad – and you can’t bring yourself to do it.
Well, it’s time for you to sack up.
Just like any other relationship, when it comes to fantasy football sometimes you need to forget about the past and focus on the future. “Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my (fantasy football) life with?”
When it comes to Peyton Manning, the sad realization is that answer is “no.”
I know what you’re thinking, this is the same man who two years ago finished with a stat line of 5,477 passing yards, 55 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions to lead all players in fantasy points scored, according to ESPN. And to that, I’d respond, “There are three key words in that sentence: Two. Years. Ago.”
In the fantasy football cut-throat world of “What have you done for me lately,” Manning has not only failed to come close to replicating his historic 2013 performance, he’s failed to even perform as a top-20 quarterback. It is evident the 39-year-old quarterback has suffered a dramatic drop-off over the past year.
In his last 10 games played, dating back to Week 14 vs. Buffalo last season, Manning has thrown for more than 300 yards just twice, he’s thrown more interceptions, 13, than touchdowns, 10, and he has shown no signs of improvement in new head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. His arm strength has deteriorated, his accuracy has dwindled, and his passes continue to flutter and hang in the air for just a second too long.
Manning has played so poorly that there have been legitimate questions on whether the Denver Broncos would be better off starting backup Brock Osweiler over the future first-ballot Hall of Famer, according to Fox Sports.
Currently, Manning, who’s totaled 52.3 points through the first five weeks this season, is ranked as the 23rd highest-scoring fantasy football quarterback, averaging a paltry 13.1 fantasy points, according to ESPN. If that number isn’t shocking enough, here’s a list of some of the uber–talented quarterbacks currently ranked ahead of him:
- Blake Bortles – 66.9 points
- Ryan Fitzpatrick (with just four games played) – 58.2 points
- Jameis Winston – 57.9 points
- Kirk Cousins – 56.2 points
- Colin Kaepernick – 52.6 points
The fact that Fitzpatrick, in one fewer game, has totaled more fantasy points than Manning illustrates just how dire this situation has become. Fitzpatrick has surpassed 13 points every game this season, Manning has failed to even reach double digit points-scored in three. Fitzpatrick is currently owned in fewer than 10 percent of leagues on ESPN, while Manning is owned in 99.8 percent.
I’m not suggesting that you drop Manning – although I wouldn’t blame you if you did – but, at best, he’s a situational second-tier (QB2) quarterback, one you should only start if he has a juicy matchup against a poor defense.
It’s time to look past the name and simply look at the stats. At 39 years old, and with four neck surgeries under his belt, Manning is simply no longer the reliable every-week starter he once was.