It’s a motto that’s driven me crazy for the last few years: “you can’t spell elite without E-l-i“. This obviously holds completely true in its most literal and lexical sense (you really can’t spell elite without those three letters), but I also admit that the idea of the phrase is correct as well. Eli Manning is an elite NFL quarterback. He’s a two-time Super Bowl MVP with an affinity for leading comeback wins. Yet when assessing Manning as a fantasy football player, suddenly his value on paper doesn’t quite match his value on the field for the New York Giants.
When it came to quarterbacks in 2012, Manning finished at No. 15 in fantasy points. He managed to throw for just under 4,000 yards with 26 touchdowns, but turnovers were a problem. He had some monster weeks where he looked great in every way possible, but there were also times when he looked completely pedestrian. There just seems to be a degree of unpredictability that hinders Manning’s play and for fantasy owners, that’s not a good quality.
Since 2005 Manning has only finished in the top ten among quarterbacks in fantasy points three times. He has two incredible weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, but consistency has not been a strong suit for the Giants’ offense. Manning’s potential for big games is undeniably huge. But fantasy owners shouldn’t draft him with the expectation that he’ll come up big every week.
Take Manning as your starter if you have other, more reliable pieces in your lineup too. I believe that he can be best used as a solid backup to play based on his weekly matchup, though. Expect plenty of good from Manning in 2013, but don’t be surprised by the bad as well. 4,000 yards is a definite possibility, but no one can say whether he’ll enter the fantasy elite.