|By Rusty Reeves, Friday, September 12, 2014|
QB Peyton Manning - Stud (low risk)
Encore? Sure, why not! Manning enjoyed the best season in NFL history, throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. If you played in a league where QBs earn four points per touchdown pass, he would have scored about 30 fantasy points per game. If you were lucky enough to get six points per TD, well, that's just not fair. Many people rode Manning to fantasy glory last season and will be hoping to do the same this year. He's lost two of his major weapons from last year -- WR Eric Decker (Jets) and RB Knowshon Moreno (Dolphins) -- but the team added WR Emmanuel Sanders via free agency and WR Cody Latimer via the draft. RB Montee Ball should take a step forward and be everything Moreno was (and maybe more). Most importantly, he'll still have studs WR Demaryius Thomas and TE Julius Thomas, along with the pesky veteran slot man WR Wes Welker back at his disposal. Expecting a repeat of 2013 is probably irrational; however, expecting 5,000 yards and "only" 45 touchdowns isn't out of the question, which is why we have Manning ranked just ahead of Brees and Rodgers for 2014.
Editor's note: He can't throw a fastball anymore, yet he can really place his passes. The eldest Manning is fantasy royalty and it's hard to imagine anybody having the ceiling he does. Drew Brees' touchdown totals have decreased in each of the last two years. Aaron Rodgers (even though he missed half the season) wasn't anywhere close to staying on pace to beat his career-best 45 TDs. Manning might be in his own tier.