So now that the dust has settled on the great "where will Peyton sign?" debate, it is high time that we spin the decision forward into the realm of fantasy football. Now that it has been determined that Manning will take his talents to Denver, just where do we slot him in our fantasy drafts? Manning is certainly still a top 12 fantasy quarterback with a ceiling of the number 6 slot behind Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton, and Stafford. With questions concerning his recovery from multiple neck surgeries and his age(soon to be 36), Manning could also see his ranking slip as low as the number 12 slot behind his brother Eli, Romo, Roethlisberger, Vick, Rivers, Schaub and the aforementioned Big 5. The smart money would be to slot Peyton Manning at number 8 in the quarterback rankings and not look to select him before the late 4th or early 5th round in your fantasy drafts. Reaching to draft Manning any higher than that is a risky move based more on a hope that he can regain his former skill set, rather than the smart, value based draft selection of letting him fall to you.
The Manning arrival in Denver is an immediate boost to their current receiving corps as well as any possible additions the Broncos may still pursue in free agency or the draft. Demaryius Thomas is the main beneficiary of the Manning signing and jumps into the top 15- 20 fantasy wide receivers range heading into 2012. Thomas had only 32 regular season receptions last season with over 85 targets, but a lot of that can be attributed to the scatter shot arm of Tim Tebow . The 2011 playoffs were a showcase for Thomas as he hauled in 10 receptions for 297 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos' two games. With the addition of Peyton Manning, you can now begin to think about drafting Thomas in the late 3rd, early 4th round and making him a solid # 2 fantasy wide receiver with #1 wide receiver upside. One concern will be his health as Thomas has struggled to put together a 16 game season in his brief career. Eric Decker also stands to have a significant bump in his fantasy value heading into next season with the arrival of Manning. Reports are that Decker's injured knee will be fine entering the season and he will definitely build on a fine sophomore season that saw him catch 44 balls for over 600 yards and an impressive 8 touchdowns. It would be easy to just assume that Thomas could be the Reggie Wayne and Decker the Pierre Garcon or Austin Collie for Manning in Denver, but realistically they won't be that prolific coming out of the gate. Manning develops chemistry with his receivers through hours of extra, off the practice field work together and there just won't be enough time to become as familiarized with his new set of receivers as he was with his guys in Indianapolis. That said, Decker absolutely needs to be held on to in dynasty leagues and is now a solid #2, or flex play fantasy wide receiver in 10 team leagues.
Peyton Manning is obviously the type of quarterback that can raise the level of the other players on the offense, especially the wide receivers. Looking at the Bronco depth chart at the wide receiver position, it is obvious that more moves need to be made if Denver wants to make a Super Bowl run in 2012. Jason Hill, D'Andre Goodwin and Mark Willis are not going to get it done behind Thomas and Decker. The Broncos need to make the Pittsburgh Steelers pay for their mismanagement of the salary cap and go get Mike Wallace . Wallace has amassed 171 receptions, 24 touchdowns in his 3 years in the league and is the perfect wide receiver for Denver to play alongside Demaryius Thomas. Wallace averages over 18 yards a reception and is a pure burner with yards after the catch abilities, who can score from anywhere on the field, and Manning is just the man to get the ball to him. Giving up a first round pick for a receiver the caliber of Wallace is a no brainer for a team like Denver, who has already gone 'all in' for 2012 by signing Peyton Manning.
As "Tebow Time" has come to an end in the mile high city, it is time to try and figure out where the "Tebowmania" tour should play next. There have been suggestions of Green Bay, where he can sit and learn from Tom Clements, or with the Jets where his presence could ease the pressure on Mark Sanchez and even New England has been mentioned because Bill Belichick is just the type of coach who could handle a Tebow like player. There really is only one destination that makes sense for all parties involved, and that place is with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The other suggestions are all well and good, but the bottom line is that Jacksonville is a franchise that needs a makeover of mammoth proportions and Tebow is the man to do just that. Blaine Gabbert looked like a deer in the headlights by the end of the 2011 season and was dropping before the rush even reached him. Chad Henne washed out in Miami, and is in no way the answer to the Jaguars' quarterback woes. As long as we are being honest, Mike Mularkey is a retread hire as the new head coach and the Atlanta offense he has run for the last few seasons never reached its potential, especially in the playoffs. Jacksonville has a new owner in Shahid Khan and he needs to put his stamp on this team by trading for Tim Tebow. Win or lose, Jacksonville would immediately be a prominently covered NFL franchise with Tebow and the ensuing media circus that would follow his arrival. Willis McGahee looked very good running in the funky Bronco offense last season so just imagine what MJ Drew could do in the same type of system. Laurent Robinson was just added in free agency and has no track record of being ready to be a #1 wide receiver, as luck would have it, Tim Tebow is a quarterback who has no real need for a #1 wide receiver. The rest of the Jaguars' receiving corps is a non descript bunch and that fits a Tebow style offense just fine. All the pieces are in place for the Jaguars to bring in a fresh face of the franchise and who better to be that face than Tebow? Jacksonville needs Tim Tebow and Tim Tebow needs Jacksonville, it makes too much sense not to happen.