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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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