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2012 Draft Prep: Eli or Peyton?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Archie Manning is a proud father, as one would expect. He has two sons who have become two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Eli and Peyton.

Eli is a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Giants, and Peyton is a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player with a Super Bowl victory of his own with the Colts. The Manning brothers have competed in four of the past six Super Bowls, but they have yet to play each other in the championship game. Archie, a former quarterback with the Saints, said he has no desire to see his sons face off in a Super Bowl.

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"It's actually kind of tough on the family when they play each other," Archie, a college football analyst at CBS, said in a recent phone interview. "I'd prefer they both just go out and play well and whatever happens we'll be happy."

Archie is just happy his sons have the possibility to face each other another time now that Peyton is back on the field after sitting out 2011 following a series of neck surgeries. His career was in jeopardy, but Peyton got healthy enough to return this year. He left the Colts after 14 years and signed with the Broncos this season.

Fantasy owners now have the chance to draft Peyton again, and he should be considered a No. 1 option. But who is the better Manning quarterback this year, Eli or Peyton?

The prediction here is Eli will be the better Fantasy quarterback. The interesting thing is that our current Average Draft Position data shows Peyton being drafted ahead of Eli. Peyton is being drafted in Round 4, one spot ahead of his brother.

If you guaranteed that Peyton was 100 percent healthy with his neck, then I could understand him being drafted first. But Eli is coming off the best season of his career in leading the Giants to a Super Bowl victory against the Patriots, he's five years younger and has the better receiving corps.

No matter what Eli does he never seems to get enough respect. Even Archie still sees Eli being criticized for needless things, like recently when former teammate Amani Toomer said Tony Romo was better than Eli.

"I hate to say I don't care, but there are so many people that judge you, so many people that rate you. I just don't think you can get all worked up over that," Archie said. "I like the way Eli handles himself. He just plays."

Eli took command of the Giants last year and backed up his claim of being an elite quarterback. He passed for a career-high 4,933 yards, 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. It was his third year in a row with at least 4,000 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. In the playoffs last year, Eli was even better with 1,219 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception in four games.

Now, Eli has a long way to go to match his brother statistically. Before sitting out last year, Peyton had five years in a row and 11 of 13 years with at least 4,000 passing yards. He also had at least 31 touchdowns in five of seven years.

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But we're not drafting a Fantasy team of the past. Eli, 31, is in his prime. He has stud receivers who are proven in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, and Martellus Bennett and Rueben Randle could also develop into playmakers.

Peyton is 36 and missed an entire year. He has to learn a new system and develop a rapport with young receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. While those two have a ton of potential, they still have to prove themselves first over a full season. Jacob Tamme will help Peyton's transition to the Broncos because of their history with the Colts, but Eli has much better weapons.

We're not saying Peyton is going to struggle. If he can stay healthy, he should return as a starting Fantasy option in all leagues. Archie just spent time with Peyton at the Manning Passing Academy in mid-July and said Peyton "looked fine" throwing the ball.

"He threw the ball well," Archie said. "He looked like his old self."

We hope Peyton is back at 100 percent because he's a great Fantasy quarterback when healthy. But he should not be drafted ahead of Eli. It's time to realize that Eli deserves respect, and he should be the best Fantasy quarterback in his family this season.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jobbing
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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