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Manning or Brady?


Manning or Brady?


As the temperatures begin to heat up, OTAs and minicamps are now signaling the beginning of a new season in the NFL. Fantasy leaguers are already feverishly comparing players and projecting potential fantasy stats. One debate that is sure to require some time and careful analysis is that of the top quarterbacks for the 2009 season. Most pundits agree that Drew Brees is at the top the list, but as for Nos. 2 and 3, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning appear to be a toss up. Will the Golden Boy regain his 2007 form, or is Manning the better pick this year? This analysis will help to shed some light on this tough decision.


Injuries –

Both QBs suffered injuries last year, and now the question is are they 100 percent? In Manning’s case, that answer is an obvious “yes.” He underwent minor knee surgery in the preseason last year that hampered him for the first part of the regular season. However, the second half of the year he was back to full strength and he’s had no issues since the injury. Brady, on the other hand, may still have some big question marks. Although he’s said to be recovered, he did undergo major ACL reconstructive surgery and missed all of last year. Both QBs should be ready to go by Week 1, but health would definitely go to Manning overall. Brady’s serious knee injury and all his time away from real game action make him a risk.


Past Stats

– Manning and Brady have both been excellent fantasy football options in recent years. Manning has been a perennial Top 5 QB over the last 10 years while Brady’s dominance has recently showed up. Brady was always a solid fantasy option with TD totals in the mid-to-upper 20’s on a consistent basis, but in 2007 he blew up and set the NFL record for TDs in a season with 50. He actually broke the previous record of 49, which was held by Manning. With Manning, you’re drafting on consistency and durability. Every year he’s good for around 30 TDs and won’t miss a snap all season based on his 11-year career. On the other hand, if Brady stays healthy, he has shown the ability to go above and beyond anyone else when it comes to stats. Brady’s potential gives him a slight edge in the statistical category.


Supporting Cast

– For years, Manning has had the security of the great Marvin Harrison catching his passes. Unfortunately, this will year will be the first time in Manning’s career that he won’t have him on the roster. However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any weapons at his disposal. Reggie Wayne is a Top 5 receiver who is more than capable of stepping into
Harrison’s spot and producing huge numbers. Opposite

Wayne
will be third-year receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who has developed great rapport with Manning over the last couple years and could be ready for a breakout campaign. In addition to the wide receivers, Indy also boasts one of the top tight ends in the NFL in Dallas Clark. He’s Manning’s safety valve and is primed for a huge year.

Although Manning’s supporting cast is impressive, Brady’s is even better. Brady’s most dangerous weapon is the great Randy Moss. He’s been a touchdown machine and arguably the top receiver in the league for his entire career, sans his two lost years in

Oakland
. The perfect complement to Moss’s deep threat is the underneath play of Wes Welker. He led the league in catches last year and is a good bet to repeat that feat this year. The Patriots also made a key free agent signing over the offseason when they inked veteran speedster Joey Galloway. Last but not least, Brady will also have a solid tight end in Benjamin Watson. He’s an excellent option in the red zone and seems to be able to get open for Brady on a consistent basis. Overall, Brady has the edge with all the stellar skill players he’ll be throwing to in 2009.


Strength of Schedule

– An often overlooked area by fantasy drafters is that of schedule strength of each player.

Indianapolis
seems to have the more passer-friendly schedule in 2009. Their schedule consists of division foes
Jacksonville and

Houston
each twice. Both teams struggled defensively, and Manning should have no trouble carving them up again. In addition to those games, Indy also has a number of favorable out-of-conference games, and come fantasy playoff time they have
Denver,

Jacksonville
and the New York Jets on the slate for those three crucial fantasy weeks. The Patriots’ schedule appears on paper to be a little more challenging than the Colts’. Their conference foes include
Miami, the New York Jets and

Buffalo
. Their out-of-conference schedule also looks to be tougher than Indy’s at this point. Come playoff time, the Pats have
Carolina,
Buffalo and

Jacksonville
to deal with. The Pats don’t have a horrible schedule, but right now it appears Indy has a little easier road to travel schedule-wise.


Verdict

– Overall, any owner should be ecstatic to have one of these two quarterbacks. They are both elite options and should produce excellent point totals. It may come down to the style of the owner. If they want consistent players who they can count on each and every week, Manning is probably the best choice. If they want someone capable of putting up 40-45 point games on a given week, then they should probably go with the riskier pick which is Brady. In my opinion, Brady would be the better overall pick because of his amazing receiver corps and his huge point potential. Manning will get you 15-20 points each week. However, Brady could explode for bigger point totals and possibly even win a weekly matchup for you on his own if he can get back to his 2007 form. This is just one of many player debates that fantasy owners must consider in the days leading to draft day. The quarterback question is always a tough one, but hopefully this analysis will allow people to make a solid pick for their 2009 team.

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