Fantasy Football Sleepers: New York Giants QB Eli Manning


There are always wide-ranging opinions on how to value the quarterback position in fantasy football. Quarterbacks are the highest scoring players in the game, making some owners believe that spending a first or second round pick on an elite option is a must. While I understand wanting to find consistency at the position, I am a believer in waiting on drafting your quarterback.

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Typically, I pinpoint two or three late round quarterbacks who I considered to be undervalued. Instead of pushing all in right away with an Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, I will wait until the players who I have pinpointed become solid values, and draft them. In today’s NFL where passing numbers are at an all-time high, there are plenty of exciting options at the position throughout the entire draft.

With most leagues starting only one QB, it is a much easier position to fill than some of the others. Give me all of the running backs and wide receivers early, I will figure quarterback out as we go along.

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Early in this fantasy football draft process, the one quarterback who I am targeting over the others is New York Giants QB Eli Manning. According to Fantasy Pros, who takes the consensus data from four major fantasy football sites, Manning has a current ADP (Average Draft Position) of 90, and is the 12th quarterback being taken off of the board.

That means in a standard 12-team league, Manning is only costing an eighth round pick. He is an even better value if you play on, with a current ADP of 118, the fourth quarterback being selected. Simply put, landing Manning will not come at a premium price.

Now, you may be asking yourself, why Manning? Other quarterbacks such as Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill can be had for a similar price. What makes Manning so special? Well, for starters his primary weapon in the passing game was arguably the best offensive player in the second half of last season.

Dec 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) greets New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) after Beckham

We are all well aware of Odell Beckham‘s rapid emergence last season, which is clearly reflected in his ADP of the 10th overall pick. Beckham showed incredible ability last season, hauling in 91 receptions for 1,305 and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games played last season. His natural combination of speed, quickness and athleticism made him a truly dynamic player at the wide receiver position.

To be honest, unless he is hit with injuries, I cannot come up with a reason why Beckham will not continue to dominate again this season. Simply put, this guy is going to continue to be a star. Landing Beckham on your fantasy team will likely cost a first round pick. However, Manning is going to be the one throwing him the ball.

If Beckham is going to be a first-round talent at WR, then Manning is also going to put up huge numbers. Manning’s current ADP does not appear to reflect the success of Beckham from last season, and for me that is a value. In the 12 games that Beckham played last season, Manning completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 3,436 yards, 21 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

While Beckham’s presence in the offense is a big reason why I like Manning this season, it is not the only one. The Giants are entering their second season under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who is considered to be one of the brightest young minds in the game. McAdoo’s primary West Coast offense philosophies seemed to be a great fit for Manning and the Giants’ offense last season. With a full season and off season under their belt, I only expect them to be even better.

Manning also has some nice secondary options in the passing game. Victor Cruz was once one of the best young NFL receivers. Injuries have held him back in recent years, but he should be healthy and ready to go at some point this season. His inclusion in the Giants’ offense could become massive for Manning’s fantasy value.

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Rueben Randle emerged down the stretch last season, and he will also be a reliable target for Manning with some upside. Larry Donnell is an athletic receiver at the tight end position who showed great ability in the red zone and down the seam last season. With his first season of any real playing time under his belt, Donnell could prove to be another valuable weapon for Manning in the passing game.

Dec 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts after a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles defeated the Giants 34-26. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the Giants’ biggest off season addition was running back Shane Vereen, who made a living with the Patriots catching passes from Tom Brady out of the backfield. Vereen is arguably the best receiving back in the entire NFL, and he is just another weapon in the arsenal for Manning and the Giants, and could prove to be an extremely valuable security blanket.

With less than stellar options to carry the load rushing the ball for the Giants, Manning could easily be asked to carry a huge load for the Giants offense with his arm. If that were to happen, Manning’s fantasy value will be incredible.

Manning is a proven NFL quarterback who has had a ton of fantasy success in the past. His combination of past success, offensive scheme, passing game weapons and huge volume expectancy gives Manning major upside this season.

I am making Eli Manning my primary quarterback target in fantasy football this season, and you should do the same.

Next: Pinpointing Fantasy Football QB Sleepers

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