This has been an inner struggle for me, a versatile running quarterback who can add rushing yards to fantasy totals or the pure pocket passer. Russell Wilson is a young Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is working towards a new contract; you can’t tell me that is not motivation. Peyton Manning is a steady consistent pro and is always a contender to be the top producing quarterbacks every year. When draft day comes, will you choose the talented young man searching for a contract or a Hall of Famer possibly in his last season?
Let’s start with some strengths and weaknesses of each player from a fantasy standpoint:
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks):
- His legs are underrated in the fantasy football world, a running touchdown and rushing yards add up quicker than passing stats
- Ability to make plays out of the pocket
- Does a great job creating passing game without true elite receivers
- Not a pure pocket passer, not going to have huge passing games very often
- Has extremely reliable run game that can also take over a game
Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos):
- Pure pocket passer, often can rack up the passing yards, touchdowns every game
- Experience and the best mind in the NFL at the quarterback position
- Desire to put an exclamation point on his career with another Super Bowl run knowing his days are almost done
- Struggling to stay completely healthy as he is getting older; may play but not 100 percent
- All stats he earns are through air, will not attain any rushing stats
The Argument for Wilson over Manning
The first aspect that makes this an easy decision is youth. Manning is getting older and struggling to complete 16 game seasons and then the playoffs. Wilson is in his prime, ready to beat you in multiple ways every game. Speaking of that, Wilson can have an average season as a passer in the NFL and still be an elite fantasy quarterback. You ask why? He can beat you with his legs and score touchdowns on the ground. Did I mention that Seattle added has a new weapon on offense? Jimmy Graham is a red zone beast and Wilson will use him immediately and often. Wilson will also be motivated to prove he is worth a groundbreaking mega deal. One last thing, Wilson had 312 fantasy points last year without Jimmy Graham; Peyton Manning had 307 points with Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, both gone. Wilson is going to outshine Manning again for 2015!
The Argument for Manning over Wilson
Wilson may be younger, but you can’t beat experience. Manning has been the epitome of what an elite fantasy quarterback looks like for years. Wilson may have his contract as motivation, but Manning has his legacy. Manning wants to take the Broncos to a Super Bowl and put a finishing touch on his Hall of Fame resume. The only reason that Wilson beat Manning by five points is Manning’s leg issues at the end of the season. That kind of issue can happen to any player, not just an older one. He is entering 2015 healthy and hungry for possibly his last season in the NFL!
Would You Rather Draft Decision:
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
I’m taking the younger, more versatile quarterback with a new weapon who will open up the passing game. Jimmy Graham gives the Seahawks something they have never had, an elite pass-catching threat defenses have to game plan against every play. Russell Wilson can beat you on the ground, plays out of the pocket, and now through the air more than ever before. Manning is getting older, struggling to stay 100 percent healthy through an entire season, and lost two key elements to his passing game (Wes Welker, Julius Thomas). They replaced Thomas with Owen Daniels and Virgil Green, which may turn to be an OK scenario while not losing a whole lot of production from the tight end position. Welker hardly played last year, so you could argue that his loss doesn’t matter. This means that a player, Cody Latimer, who said that picking up on Manning’s lingo was hard, is now possibly your No. 3 wide receiver. After him, it’s a weak group, but Manning is Manning and will make them better. Here’s where it does matter, though, that the wide receiver depth is weak: that offensive line is below average. They hurt Manning last year by not giving him a clean pocket more often than not and they didn’t improve that situation for 2015. If Manning doesn’t have that same talent to creates mismatches, it makes his challenge even more daunting heading into 2015. It’s a sad reality that Manning is not what he used to be and that Wilson has/will continue to outperform him for 2015.
If you have a “Would You Rather Draft” for Dan Collins, tweet your idea to Shep_Collins and he may pick yours to debate in an upcoming article.