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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fantasy football: Who's the No. 2 QB?

Since we're on the topic of No. 2 debates, let's get to another that won't get much notice on draft day but is significant in its own right.

Peyton Manning as one of the top two quarterbacks in fantasy football seems as automatic as Rachel Nichols reporting from Brett Favre's property every time he steps out to cut the grass, ESPN being criticized for its handling (coddling?) of LeBron James and Jim Gray confronting everyone but the one we wished he would (see One, Chosen).

This year, however, like the possibility of Adrian Peterson slipping past the No. 2 overall pick, Manning likely will fall to No. 3 on the list of quarterbacks in many leagues.

In drafts, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers is getting selected, on average, 11th overall, with Manning going off the board two spots later.

Both are worth considering as late first-round picks in 12-team leagues, depending on the scoring system (in six-points-per-passing-TD formats, Rodgers and Manning are top-12 picks).

Deciding between the two, however, is difficult.

The 34-year-old Manning has thrown for at least 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns in each of his 12 NFL seasons. Last season, he had 4,500 yards passing, 33 TDs and 16 interceptions (his most since 2002). He's thrown for at least 4,000 yards in four straight seasons, and he's averaged 30.5 passing TDs in that span.

Rodgers, however, has accounted for 67 total TDs the last two seasons (58 passing and nine rushing), only three fewer than Drew Brees, who is the No. 1 QB in fantasy and a top-six or top-seven overall choice in any format.

Rodgers averaged 4,236 yards passing in 2008 and '09, and last season, he had 35 total TDs (five on the ground).

His ability to rack up rushing points sets him apart from Manning, and it puts him in the conversation with Brees in leagues that award four points for a TD pass and six for all other scores (in those formats, Rodgers might have been the best player not named Chris Johnson last season).

To sum up 11 paragraphs in one sentence, I'd take Brees first at QB, followed by Rodgers, Manning and the Patriots' Tom Brady.

After that, it's a tough decision between Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers. That's a debate that's slightly less interesting than Stuart Scott vs. Chris Berman in a battle of tired nicknames and catchphrases.

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