Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) signals at the line of scrimmage in the second half against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, afantasy football blog.
Peyton Manning was a fantasy football marvel in 2013. We all expected another high level fantasy season, partially because Manning was so good in his first season with the Denver Broncos, and also because Denver added slot receiver Wes Welker to the mix.
He was headed for his best season ever, right? We joked, but we never could have imagined just how right we’d be.
Manning lit up the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens for seven touchdowns in week one, and the rest is history. Just to refresh your memory, though, Manning continued on for single-season NFL records in touchdowns passes (55) and passing yardage (5,477).
That, and he helped the Broncos reach the Super Bowl.
Denver will once again be a legit Super Bowl contender in 2014, and we’ll also have to assume Manning will be an elite fantasy quarterback. Putting up 55 touchdowns and 5,000+ passing yards won’t be easy, but Manning still has the goods and he looks to certainly have the supporting cast, as well.
To get a better idea of what we can expect, let’s talk a waltz through Denver’s 2014 schedule, assessing Manning’s potential production, game by game:
Week 1 – vs. Indianapolis Colts
Now this is a way for Manning owners to start the 2014 fantasy football season, as Peyton welcomes his former team into Denver. It’s the second Andrew Luck vs. Manning duel, the first of which Luck took in Indy a year ago. Despite losing that matchup last year, Manning still put up big numbers. He’ll likely do the same in another shootout, this one a likely Denver win.
Projected stats: 375 pass yards 3 TD, 0 INT
Week 2 – vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Game two is another home battle, this time against the division rival Chiefs. Kansas City has a pretty aggressive defense that could give Manning fits, but he’s at home and he actually had almost no trouble against them in two meetings last year.
Projected stats: 345 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Week 3 – @ Seattle Seahawks
It’s entirely possible Manning and co. come out and crush the Seahawks in a mighty revenge game, but it’s not all that likely. Not only is it on the road, but these teams simply don’t match up well at all. Manning could lay a relative stinker here.
Projected stats: 305 pass yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Week 4 – BYE
Week 5 – vs. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is an aggressive unit that can get after the quarterback, so Manning could have another difficult day. However, Denver is at home and fresh off their bye week, so the offense should be firing on all cylinders.
Projected stats: 245 pass yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Week 6 – @ New York Jets
This is another tough matchup on paper, but the Jets currently have just one quality corner and continue to have issues at safety. Manning will probably turn the ball over once or twice, but he should otherwise take care of business in a game that should be pretty well hyped.
Projected stats: 288 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Week 7 – vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners’ main weakness on defense is their secondary, but they’ve made adjustments and should be improving in that area. Overall, it’s a tough home game and it’ll be hard for fantasy owners to expect an elite Manning.
Projected stats: 304 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Week 8 – vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego played the Broncos pretty well in all three battles last year (once in playoffs), but that had little to do with them putting the clamps on Manning. Their secondary is pretty bad and unless they magically fix it in time for this matchup, they’ll likely get torched.
Projected stats: 404 pass yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Week 9 – @ New England Patriots
Last year’s battle between Manning and Tom Brady was certainly epic, but not because of Manning. This time, he may have to bring his A game for the Broncos to win in New England. The Pats’ defense is pretty solid, though, and newly added stud corner Darrelle Revis won’t make the trip easy.
Projected stats: 265 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Week 10 – @ Oakland Raiders
Manning dropped seven touchdowns in two meetings against the Raiders last year. It’s in Oakland, but your fantasy stud has to step up and take care of these “gimme” games. Against the Raiders, Manning should do just that.
Projected stats: 375 pass yards, 5 TD, 0 INT
Week 11 – @ St. Louis Rams
A road trip to take on a feisty St. Louis pass rush isn’t ideal. The Broncos could totally blow their secondary out of the water, but this game might have upset special. Manning owners might want to curb expectations a bit.
Projected stats: 288 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Week 12 – vs. Miami Dolphins
Denver returns home to take on the Fins, who have a pretty rock solid defense. They did lose some talent at safety and Denver isn’t easy to manipulate at home, so Manning should take care of business in a win.
Projected stats: 344 pass yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Week 13 – @ Kansas City Chiefs
Meeting number two with the Chiefs is in Kansas City and has much more on the line. With KC all over Manning early, Denver could turn to the rushing attack to smooth things out. Manning will get his in the end, but his day won’t be quite as prolific as his owners will hope.
Projected stats: 278 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Week 14 – vs. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo is a pretty underrated unit and is getting better against the pass, but this game is in home and the Bills will be transitioning to life without stud safety Jairus Byrd. Despite a solid effort, the Bills won’t be able to stop Manning on his own field.
Projected stats: 322 pass yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Week 15 – @ San Diego Chargers
The first meeting ended with Manning lighting up the Bolts, but meeting number two is in San Diego. As the Chargers were able to do twice last year, they’ll look to slow things down at home. Denver probably still gets the win on the road, but Manning won’t light it up this time around.
Projected stats: 234 pass yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Week 16 – @ Cincinnati Bengals
Cincy can stop the run and rush the passer, but Manning should be able to take care of their often shaky secondary. Their defense can get pretty nasty and it’s in Cincy, though, so they could get a pick and prevent a full blown demolition.
Projected stats: 289 pass yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Week 17 – vs. Oakland Raiders
Let’s be honest, Denver will have already put the finishing touches on another 13-3 or better season, and if Manning plays at all, it won’t be for more than a half at home against the likely still hapless Raiders.
Projected stats: 202 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning doesn’t come close to his insane 2013 production, but if he can hit on the projected 42 touchdown passes based on this game by game breakdown, chances are fantasy owners will be plenty pleased.