Even though Peyton Manning recently admitted that he may not be able to throw the ball as hard as he did earlier in his career, the legendary quarterback is still worth the first overall pick in your 2014 fantasy football draft.
For the past several years, the discussion for who should be the first player off the board has mainly revolved around Adrian Peterson and whichever running back was hot in the previous season. From Chris Johnson to LeSean McCoy, the running back position has dominated the top of draft boards for years. With Manning’s unreal 2013 season, however, the conversation is about to get a lot more interesting.
If you look at it in terms of pure points, Manning dominated everyone. The 38-year-old quarterback totaled 406 points in standard scoring leagues, and the next two closest players were Drew Brees with 348 points and Jamaal Charles with 295 points. That is 58 more points than Brees, and an astounding 111 more points than Charles.
Granted, quarterbacks normally score more points than running backs, but Manning’s numbers clearly earn him a spot over any running back you might have considered drafting with the first pick.
Normally, playoff teams are decimated in the offseason because of contract negotiations and free agency, but the Denver Broncos have been able to keep the offense mostly intact. While dual-threat Knowshon Moreno is no longer with the team and reliable receiver Eric Decker is now with Rex Ryan, the Broncos were able to sign receiver Emmanuel Sanders and are hoping that Montee Ball can step up and fill Moreno’s shoes. Manning also still has Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas as his main targets.
Finally, the fact that Manning visited with mastermind Nick Saban to try and figure out ways to improve his performance shows that he wants to redeem himself with a Super Bowl victory. It will be nearly impossible to improve on his stats from 2013, but if anyone can do it, it would be Manning.
The fact that he can’t throw the ball like he did in his younger days is not a concern. Manning is worth the first pick in my book is because he still has great weapons to get the ball to, he has been a dominant player the last two seasons and he is still hungry enough to try and figure out how to have an even bigger year in 2014. If that doesn’t make him worthy of the first pick, I don’t know what does.