Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Player Haters' Companion - Eli Manning

It's August and fantasy football is upon us. Any mistakes you make in your upcoming drafts are mistakes that could haunt your season like corned beef haunts your lower GI. You've looked at the angles. You've giggled at your opponents keepers. You've fallen asleep trying to read Matthew Berry's 100 fantasy football facts - the abridged version. Everyone knows Aaron Rodgers is a winner, and Ocho Cinco is too worried about the demise of his reality show to even care that he got released by the Dolphins, so we're making it easy by picking the players we love to hate and hate to draft.

Player You Hate: Eli Manning

You can't spell Elite without Eli. That's what they've been saying. Guy is just a soft-spoken champion. Just going out there and winning games. Well, sure, that was true last season. CBS Sports even billed last season as "the passing of the torch with Eli Manning becoming the better quarterback than brother Peyton." Sure, pick on the guy with the broken neck...who does that? Oh. Whatever.
The point is that while Eli put together a pretty nice season, finishing the 6th best fantasy QB behind Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Cam Newton, we should pull up on those reins a little before we go calling him Elite. In fact, we're going to take it a step farther by putting him on our hate-list. Not only does he mope around the field like he lost his puppy when things aren't going his way, there's the little matter of 2010 to consider. Also known as the year he lead the world in interceptions with 25 (he also had 31 TDs, which is not too shabby). Consider if your league settings only allowed, say, 4 points for a passing TD but -2 points for an INT. You know what you'd do? You'd hate the ever-loving snot out of Eli Manning. But that's not all. You have to go back to 2005 to find a year in which Eli was a top 5 fantasy QB. In each season between '05 and '11 he ranged between the 9th and 12th best QB. It's what you might call a "comfort zone." Granted, his receivers are better now then they ever have been, and the NFC East should see some high scoring games. But if you are on average the 10th best QB in fantasy then you are in no man's land. Too good to be a backup, not good enough to build a championship (fantasy) team around. But given that he's probably the 10th best fantasy QB in the league, and he should be drafted somewhere after the 6th round, we're going to draft an actual elite QB and then bide our time until we can get a decent backup in the 10th or later.


Anonymous said...

It's fantasy posts like these that make me wonder if fantasy football has totally crapped all over football. It's never more apparent than in any fantasy article about Eli Manning.

It IS possible to rate Eli's so-called fantasy value without diminishing his extraordinary leadership and play last season. That was a year-long performance of pure greatness. Not my words, but my old high-school basketball coach who often uses Eli Manning as a source of inspiration for his athletes.

It's getting real tired: this whole "Eli, yeah but..." BS.

ericdedwar said...

That's a fair complaint. Fantasy doesn't take into consideration a lot of intangibles, and sometimes those intangibles are more evident in the playoffs. BUT - statistics do speak for themselves - your boy has a tendency to toss a lot of INTs around. And that's hurt the Giants before and I suspect it will hurt them again. He really is not a top tier QB by any metric except Super Bowl wins, and that's not a great measure of his individual talent. I'd say ALL fantasy and most actual owners, if given a chance, would take Rodgers, Brees or Brady before they took Eli - those three represent the current established elite at that position. And before you get into arguing that he's the 4th best, don't. There is a lot of legitimate debate that Rivers, Stafford, Romo, possibly even Schaub and Newton are going to have better years at that position than Eli.

J said...

My only hesitation with taking Eli high is the Giants running game, which I don't think is all that good. Teams can drop a zillion guys into coverage, and the INTs go up.

I've never liked him as a person. I have no use for any pro athlete who believes certain cities are beneath him, and by gawd, I will hold out until you trade me to a city that is worthy of me (and that city is always NY, LA, Chicago, or Denver, for whatever reason). But as far as fantasy goes, I think he's a decent play. I would love to have him as a #2, but somebody in my league always thinks a Super Bowl win guarantees gaudy regular season numbers and will draft him too high.

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ericdedwar said...

J, you are correct, he is a low-end No. 1 QB. I'll take the Big 3 plus, Stafford, Schaub, Romo, Rivers. So there you have it, best case for me he's the 8th best guy. Low end No. 1's have their place, but he's going to get drafted like he's a proven numbers guy - and he's definitely not.