- Michael Fabiano NFL.com Fantasy Editor
Manning is still a No. 1 option
No matter where Manning landed, he was going to be a surefire No. 1 fantasy quarterback. OK, so there is some level of risk since he'll be 36 and coming off multiple neck surgeries. But all reports about his recent workouts have been very positive. I also doubt Manning would come back if he didn't know he could still play at a very high level.
Also remember that he wasn't declining statistically in 2010 -- in fact, he threw for a career-best 4,700 yards and finished among the top-scoring quarterbacks in fantasy football. With the NFL in the midst of an era where signal-callers are breaking records left and right, I don't see any reason that Manning can't go for well over 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns with the Broncos. I'm not taking him ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton. But those projections would make him worth a third- or fourth-round selection and on the same tier as quarterbacks like Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Eli Manning.
- Dave Dameshek NFL.com
I like Manning, but I won't reach
Broncos fans and fantasy owners alike are no doubt happy about Peyton's big news. Based on the way several NFL teams tried to move heaven and earth to get him, we can assume Manning is throwing the ball well. That doesn't mean, though, that I'd move heaven and earth to get him on fantasy team. I think he'll be productive -- a top eight option -- but at least until the Broncos add some depth at receiver and tight end, I'd rather have Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Stafford, Newton ... and yeah, Eli.
Let's look at the other quarterbacks -- I have some concerns about Philip Rivers, but I do like Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger (if Mike Wallace stays in Pittsburgh) and Matt Ryan. And what about that lefty who played for the Broncos last season? Peyton will have a couple of good, young receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Throw in Dallas Clark, and Manning will be in business. Remember, he finished second to Rodgers in 2010 fantasy points with fewer talented pass catchers than he'll have this year. So why don't I have him higher than seventh? Well, I'm a skeptic. He'll be 36. He's had four neck surgeries. He's not in a dome. Sure, I'd be happy to get him if he fell to Round 4, but I'm certain someone will have already reached for him in the second.
- Elliot Harrison NFL.com Writer
There are better QBs than Manning
While I think Manning's value is still pretty strong, as is the overall value of the fantasy quarterback position going into 2012, there's no way I take him in the first or second round. Even if a lot of guys are gone, those teams won't be drafting a backup quarterback until the later rounds, thus I can wait on the position.
As it stands now, I think Manning is a bottom of the third round guy for me at best. In fact, I could easily see waiting until the fifth round to take him. First off, Denver is not going to junk Willis McGahee and the running game. Secondly, Manning is going to be 36 years old and is coming off missing an entire season. So if you do take him, the better part of discernment would be to get a quality backup quarterback a little faster than the other owners in your league, i.e. Manning insurance. I would take fellow signal-callers like Stafford, Brees, Vick, Rodgers, Newton, Romo, Eli Manning, and possibly even Roethlisberger and Rivers ahead of Peyton at this point.
- Adam Rank NFL.com Writer
I'd rather pass on Peyton in '12
We all know people in our fantasy football leagues who love drafting big-name players. And those same guys will be the ones who will be enticed to take Manning way too early (like the third round, even) in fantasy drafts. But I'm advising you not to get caught up in all of this hype. There are way too many quarterbacks available who are going to put up consistent numbers for you. Amazingly, none of these guys are almost 36 years old and coming off four neck surgeries. I'd much rather have Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Eli Manning, Romo, Rivers and Stafford over Peyton Manning next year. There, I said it. Even a guy like Jay Cutler, who is poised for a huge season with Brandon Marshall coming to Chicago, is a nice option. The risk for me is way too great. If he's still around in the seventh or eighth round, I'm taking a chance. Otherwise, I pass on Peyton.
- Jason SmithNFL.com Writer
Manning is still a fantasy star
I think Manning will wind up being a second-round pick in fantasy drafts when it's all said and done. Remember, it'll be much different drafting him in August, after you've seen him throw the football for awhile, than it is now when no one has seen him outside of a YouTube video. I can tell you that his value will heat up as the year moves forward, and fantasy owners will think they can go with a great running back in Round 1 (Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy) and then come back around for Manning. Remember that with the rise in quarterback values, you can expect Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton and Stafford to all come off the board in the first round. I think Peyton is just a hair below Rodgers and Brees, and will be in the same ballpark as the rest of the elite quarterbacks. While I would still would take one of those five signal-callers over Manning, he'd be my next guy off the board ahead of Romo, Rivers, Vick, and Eli.
- Matt "Money" Smith NFL.com
I'm not buying into Manning
I'm not taking Manning unless it's a true value -- I'm talking no higher than the fifth round in a fantasy draft. Part of the reason for this train of thought is that I haven't seen the workouts the Broncos and 49ers were both privy to over the last few days. It's also crazy to assume there will be a seamless transition when joining a new team. Even for a player like Manning, he'll need to gain a rapport with his new supporting cast in Denver. On a positive note, I do like the value of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas moving forward -- Manning or any backup not named "Tebow" will complete more passes to that duo than Timmy was capable of last season. The quarterbacks I would take ahead of Manning include Brady, Rodgers, Stafford, Brees, Rivers, Newton, Romo, the other Manning and probably even Cutler.