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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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fantasy football: How Peyton Manning's injury affects his value

It's odd to have doubts about Peyton Manning from a fantasy perspective.

You can question whether or not he's clutch. You might think he's overexposed and want to harm Jim Nantz after seeing that Sony commercial 1,000 times (is it just me?).

In fantasy, the only complaint you might have with Manning is when the Colts decide to stop playing in Week 15 or 16 every year.

This season, Manning is recovering from neck surgery that will keep him out for the entire preseason. He told he will need "every single second" of the next two weeks to get ready for the regular-season opener.

Coming from a player who has never missed a game in 13 years, that's saying quite a bit.

It's also going to have a dramatic effect on his fantasy value.

In my mind, there are five quarterbacks you have to take ahead of Manning on draft day -- Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady.

We've seen Manning ranked ahead of Rivers on some sites, but I wouldn't make that pick. Granted, Manning threw for a career-high 4,700 yards and had his second-best total in terms of touchdown passes (33) in 2010 (all with Austin Collie and Dallas Clark missing significant time with injuries), but Rivers is sensational, and injury-free.

The Chargers' QB threw for 4,710 yards and 30 TDs last season, and he's averaged 4,324 yards and 31 TDs the last three seasons.

That puts Manning sixth at QB, ahead of the likes of Tony Romo, Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger.

ESPN has Manning ranked fifth at QB and 22nd overall, seven spots ahead of Rivers (No. 6 QB, No. 29 overall). CBS' two fantasy writers rank Manning fifth and sixth at QB, and 19th and 29th overall. The average ranking of Manning by Yahoo's writers is seventh at QB -- and a whopping No. 40 overall.

The latter number is way too low. You can be worried about Manning, but you shouldn't doubt that he will play most, if not all, of this season.

That makes him no worse than a third-round pick in a 12-team league. I wouldn't take him in Round 2 -- which is where Manning is going in ESPN (average draft position: No. 23) and CBS (ADP: No. 18) leagues.

I'd gladly take him in Round 3, after the top six QBs are off the board.

At that point, he provides very good value, and could be considered a steal.

An added bonus: It would prevent us from seeing countless shots of him on the sideline wearing jeans.

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