Fantasy Sports Fantasy Football

2014 Fantasy Football: To Draft Peyton Manning in the First Round or Not?

Peyton Manning

Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NFL Draft is one week away. However, it’s never too early to talk about the upcoming fantasy football season. There were plenty of players who improved and, on the flip side, diminished their fantasy value by switching teams. Other players got a boost in value from a player leaving and opening up a vacancy at a position.

Participating in mock drafts is a good way to strategize  from every draft position. If you have a pick in the top three, you are definitely drafting a running back. Yet, if you are drafting in the middle of the first round, do you reach for a running back or take the leap and select Peyton Manning?

Manning is clearly the No. 1 quarterback heading into the 2014 season. He had his best season in his career with 5,477 passing yards, 55 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Though, he is unlikely to repeat those numbers. The Denver Broncos lost Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.

The quarterback position is very deep right now — Manning, Drew BreesAaron RodgersCam NewtonTom BradyMatthew StaffordNick FolesMatt RyanAndrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick are all legitimate fantasy starters. If you can avoid drafting a quarterback in the first two to three rounds, you’ll still have a wide selection of top-tier quarterbacks at your disposal.

Instead, target a top-10 starting running back. After LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson are taken, there is still Matt ForteMarshawn Lynch and Eddie Lacy available in the middle of the round. There are very few three-down backs that passing on one is tough to do. If you do pass on any of these running backs, you’ll be stuck with two RB2-ranked rushers like a Chris Johnson and DeMarco Murray.

Manning is great but, even though the NFL is turning into a passing league, having depth at the skill positions will be better for your fantasy team on its way to a championship.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BPiv_Sports.