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Double or Nothing - Eli Manning
Double or Nothing – Eli Manning
By: Armando Marsal
It never fails, as a fantasy analyst there are going to be times where I will be wrong about a player. Last season was no different, as I was pretty pumped about certain players that did not quite pan out as I expected. One player in particular was Giants quarterback Eli Manning who I was very bullish on, a quarterback I had ranked in my top 10. If you followed football last season, you know that decision ended poorly for me as he finished as the No. 23 quarterback. This offense was in a bad place last year for numerous reasons, but I am willing to jump back on the Manning train and take the double or nothing approach on him.
According to the Merriam-Webster, double or nothing is defined as follows: with the result that a gambler either wins two times as much money as he or she has already won or loses all of the money.
It is always tough to know what Manning you are going to get on any given season and unfortunately for me, I got bad Manning last year. As you can see in the chart below, there are a wide range of outcomes when it comes to him. He has finished as a top 10 quarterback in five of his last 11 seasons, but has also finished outside the top 20 in three of those seasons. Last year, Manning was awful to say the least, however, it was not entirely his fault for the lack of production. To start off, there was absolutely no run game on this offense. Moreover, the offensive line ranked one of the worst in the league. In fact, the Giants O-Line ranked 26th by PFF at the end of the season. This unit allowed the fourth most sacks last season. To top it off, Odell Beckham got hurt in Week 5 and missed the remainder of the season, and Brandon Marshall also got hurt in the same game and missed the rest of the season as well. Needless to say, it was an ugly season for this offense who finished 21st in total yards and 31st in points.
Despite last season, there are several reasons to like Manning this year and that is why I am going back to the well (I actually just took him in the Scott Fish Bowl with my 9.02 pick). The Giants, like all of us who were watching this team, realized the same thing that we did and addressed the issues. They started off by drafting a very good running back with the No. 2 overall pick in Saquon Barkley, then with their No. 34 overall pick they selected guard Will Hernandez, and last but not least they inked tackle Nate Solder who used to protect Tom Brady’s blind side. To top it off, Pat Shurmur is now the head coach for the Giants and he did a fantastic job with the Vikings offense last season. The Vikings finished with the 11th most yards and 10th most points last season, averaging 356.9 yards and 23.9 points per game. Keep in mind, Case Keenum was the starting quarterback for pretty much the entire season.
I am certainly not expecting Manning to finish as the sixth or seventh quarterback this season, but I would not be at all shocked if he finished top 12, which would be considered a QB1 in 12-team leagues. With the new additions to this offensive line, Manning could face less pressure on a weekly basis, giving him a bit more time to make decisions. Barkley adds a dynamic to this offense that is has not had in a while, arguably since the Tiki Barber days. Barkley is an all-around back with exceptional talent, so defense will have to focus on the run game now and he can also block, which makes him that much more valuable. We saw what Evan Engram and Sterling Sheppard are capable of, which gives Manning two really good weapons to throw to. Not to mention, a healthy Odell Beckham who is one of the league’s top receivers. Manning might not have to throw as much as we have seen him throw, but that can be a good thing for someone who at times makes silly decisions. In addition, Shurmur’s offensive scheme is one that
consists of short passes, which will also limit potential mistakes.
Manning is in a good position to succeed this season and his current price is basically free, as his ADP is late 13th round and QB22. If you solely look back on last season’s numbers and do not take everything else into consideration, then yes, taking him this late makes a lot of sense. However, I am in the minority here and possibly on my own island, but I am expecting him to bounce back this season. He is certainly past his prime at this point of his career, but this is one of the better situations offensively he has been in for a while now. There is definitely risk with Manning and starting off the season with him as your No. 1 quarterback is not ideal, but it is a risk I am willing to take. Without a doubt, hedging and taking another capable quarterback could be a good idea for those with less risk tolerance, but I typically like drafting just one quarterback in typical PPR formats, so chances are I will not have an insurance plan. For those who like waiting on quarterbacks, Manning is an ideal target in the late rounds that could end up producing like a QB1.
I will be double or nothing on Manning this season because I am expecting a bounce back year. There is plenty to like about this offense this season and a lot of positive changes that could help him. Don’t let one bad season affect your decision making on draft day. Trust your research and look beyond the numbers because many factors can play a role on the outcome of one season. Manning was far from sharp last year, but a lot of moving parts affected his production. Most of the issues were addressed, so there is no reason to think he will disappoint once again.