NFC East Questions: NEW YORK GIANTS: Can Eli Manning be an elite QB option again?
Again, I will answer this question in short form, but the answer is far more complicated. With that being said, yes, Eli can become elite once again. In 2011, Eli was the 6th best fantasy QB. This question is essentially asking if he can be that good once again. The average fan would answer this question with a resounding no. However, I think most all fantasy players would be surprised to see the numbers that Eli put up in the 2014 season. Check it out:
4,410 yards (2nd best of his career)
30 TDs (2nd best of his career)
14 INTs (2nd lowest of his career)
70.9 QBR – scale of 0 to 100, 50 is average (Career High)
601 Passing Attempts (Career High)
63.1% completion (Career High)
1 Rush TD (T-Career High)
Surprised yet? These numbers led to a top 10 finish in standard scoring leagues among QBs, coming in right at #10.
When people hear the name Eli Manning, the first thing that comes to mind is his high volume of interceptions. In 2013, he led the league in INTs with 27, and paired it with a career low in TDS with only 18. Coming into 2014, he was entirely written off as a productive fantasy starter. In came new Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo, a new starting RB in Rashad Jennings, and talented rookies Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams. While many will attribute Manning’s decent year to Odell Beckham’s incredible rookie season, I believe that Ben McAdoo’s new offensive scheme had just as much to do with Eli’s resurgence. McAdoo’s offense relies heavily on a high volume of high percentage passes, which explains Eli’s 2014 career highs in passing attempts and completion percentage. In fact, one might argue that Odell Beckham had very little to do with Eli Manning’s comeback year. Let’s take a look at Eli’s fantasy numbers with and without Odell in the lineup.
These are some fairly shocking numbers. Eli Manning was actually a better quarterback without Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup. This is not to say that Odell makes Eli a worse QB when healthy, but rather that Eli’s value does not necessarily depend on Odell Beckham Jr.’s hamstrings. Coming into 2015, Eli will be equipped with the same weapons, plus a newly signed Shane Vereen and a prospectively healthy Victor Cruz. With another year under McAdoo’s system, a healthier Odell, and a nice backfield pass catcher in Vereen I would expect a slight improvement upon 2014 numbers. I would expect somewhere around 4600 yards, 32 TDs and 15 INTs. That would be good for one of the best passing stat lines in the NFL. Eli’s problem is that he produces very little with his legs, while most of the top QBs separate themselves with some kind of production in the run game. Nonetheless, any improvement on these projections would easily place Eli into the elite category once again. With these numbers, Eli would be somewhere near the top 8 in the QB ranks.
Bottom Line: It is not likely that he will be elite. Rather, we should expect very, very good numbers from a player who should be available near the end of most fantasy drafts.
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