The NFL world was shaken today with Peyton Manning making the decision to go play quarterback for the Denver Broncos, a decision that, if healthy, instantly lifts that passing game and should bring more consistent fantasy numbers to others in that offense. But before jumping on the Manning bandwagon, temper your expectations on Peyton for a new team as there are many differences between the Colts with Manning the â€œGun Slingerâ€ and what could be his new role as Manning the â€œGame Managerâ€.
The Colts with Manning didnâ€™t know how to win less than 10 games. For years they were the class of the AFC South division and Manning led them to post video game type numbers, once having 3 wide receivers with 1,000 yard, 10 TD seasons. They defense played fast, but soft, largely due to being on the field so often because of Manningâ€™s scoring prowess. Donâ€™t expect the same in Denver. The offense (partly due to having Tebow as their quarterback) was a ball control offense and the defense kept their opponents off the scoreboard. The emergence of the youth on the defense led by defensive rookie of the year, Von Miller, will not be strayed from. That fact combined with the strong running game, a John Fox staple, made the Broncos more than competitive as they went all the way to the 2nd round of the playoffs, a feat not many would have expected. Granted, a big part of their rushing success was due to the versatility of Tebow but the fact that teams wonâ€™t dare Manning to beat them with his arm (because he would!) will have a similar effect, pulling a man out of the box. The rushing offense should do well next year, as long as age hasnâ€™t caught up with Willis McGahee who was a nice surprise for fantasy owners last year.
The receiving talent in Denver is young, but improving led by Demaryius Thomas. Thomas showed up with huge games last year late in the season after returning from injury. With another offseason of work and full recovery, he should improve and show more consistency with a quarterback thatâ€™s notoriously made any receiver better from Brandon Stokley to Anthony Gonzalez to Dallas Clark to Cooper Manning. The other bright spot in Denverâ€™s receiving game is Eric Decker. Decker unfortunately went down late in the year with injury but early on in the season showed flashes of a solid receiver with multiple 2-touchdown performances, finishing with a strong year catching 8 TDs. Depending on what the Broncos are able to do at tight end and in the draft, Manning has more than enough tools to have a successful offense in Denver. Remember that Dallas Clark is still available, I expect Denver to reach out and see if thatâ€™s an option for them.
Overall Manning helps the Broncos, but be in no rush to expect 49 Touchdowns once again. The Broncos are a much different team.