Taking Eli Manning as Your Fantasy Football QB1

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal The quarterback position is typically one that I wait until later in my drafts to address. Granted, everyone wants the Aaron Rodgers of the world, but I am not willing to invest an early round pick on this position as the margin in fantasy points between QB1 and QB10 is usually not that wide on a per game basis and there is almost always a quarterback drafted in the later rounds that emerges as a QB1. In addition, I like loading up on running backs and receivers early on. Looking through this year’s ADP rankings, there is a quarterback that I will likely have a ton of exposure to based on where he is currently being drafted and my expectations of him.

Eli Manning is currently being drafted in between the 10th-11th rounds in twelve-team mock drafts and roughly the 15th quarterback off the board. For those waiting for the later rounds to draft a QB, this could be a steal for you. Manning has finished as a top 15 fantasy quarterback in 10 of his 12 full seasons in the league. During that stretch, he has seven top 12 seasons, four top 10 seasons, and two top six seasons.

In the last three regular seasons, Manning has averaged 605.7 pass attempts per year. During that span, he has averaged a 63 completion percentage and a 2.1:1 touchdown to interception ratio. He has thrown for over 4,400 yards and 30 or more touchdowns twice during that stretch as well. The efficiency has also been there in the red zone where he is averaging 52.2 completion percentage. Not to mention, his 16.3 fantasy point per game over the last three seasons.

The Giants added Brandon Marshall this offseason and drafted Evan Engram. Marshall is certainly passed his prime, but he is still a capable receiver and can be efficient. Last season’s numbers may say otherwise, but the situation on the Jets was not a good one. Most of his numbers regressed, but his yards per reception were well over his career average. Marshall has been a top fantasy receiver for most of his career and has six 100+ reception seasons. He has never been the number two receiver on a team before, so the coverage should be far more lenient than it has been in the past. He also makes for a great red zone target.

Evan Engram is a 6-foot-3 athletic tight end that the Giants drafted 23rd overall in this year’s NFL draft. His presence adds a new dynamic to this offense. He creates a mismatch for opposing linebackers and small corners. This is a new shiny toy for Manning to take advantage of.

Sterling Shepard is entering his second year in the season, after a solid rookie campaign. In his first season, he caught 65 passes for 683 yards and eight touchdowns. Having him as a number three option is not so bad for Manning.

We cannot forget Odell Beckham Jr., one of the best receivers in football. Since stepping into the league, he has caught at least 90 passes for at least 1,300 receiving yards and has scored at least 10 touchdowns in each season. Not to mention no worse than a top five finish amongst receivers in fantasy points.

I would also like to give Shane Vereen an honorable mention here. I am aware he only played five games last season due to injuries. However, in his first season with the Giants the year before, he set a career-high with 59 receptions out of the back field. The Giants did not really address their backfield this offseason, so we could potentially see Vereen out there catching passes if healthy.

I have Manning projected as a top 10 fantasy quarterback this season. When taking his price and potential into consideration, he really stands out to me. If you are like me and wait around to draft a quarterback, he would be the one to target.