Denver Broncos

Fantasy Football Files: Peyton Manning Enters The Over 35 Club

PeytonManning2

Peyton Manning will be 37 years old once the regular season begins on September 5.

While Denver is among the favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium next February, there is a simple question on the horizon for the future Hall of Fame quarterback from a fantasy perspective.

How much longer can he continue to play at an elite level?

While he is coming off of a tremendous 2012 campaign in his first season as a Bronco, there is a stark truth lurking in the shadows.

Manning hasn’t shown signs of going anywhere in the foreseeable future but we are far closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

Last season, Manning became just the ninth quarterback since 1997 to finish in the top 10 in standard fantasy scoring among quarterbacks.

Manning tossed by 37 touchdown passes and en route to finishing sixth in scoring for quarterbacks.

When projecting how much gas he has left in the tank, an examination of recent history shows that age doesn’t quite equal diminished play…right away.

The chart below shows the 14 occurrences in which a quarterback over 35 finished in the top 10 in quarterback scoring:

QB

AGE

SEASON

YARDS

TD

INT

F PTS.

POSITION RANK

FINAL SEASON

Steve Young

37

1998

4,170

36

12

440

1ST

1999

Rich Gannon

37

2002

4,689

26

10

357

1ST

2004

Brett Favre

40

2009

4,202

33

7

353

3RD

2010

Kurt Warner

37

2008

4,583

30

14

335

4TH

2009

Rich Gannon

36

2001

3,828

27

9

332

3RD

2004

John Elway

37

1997

3,635

27

11

313

4TH

1998

Peyton Manning

36

2012

4,659

37

11

311

6TH

????

Brett Favre

38

2007

4,155

28

15

305

8TH

2010

Kurt Warner

38

2009

3,753

26

14

279

13TH

2009

Warren Moon

41

1997

3,678

25

16

275

7TH

2001

Kurt Warner

36

2007

3,417

27

17

272

10TH

2009

Doug Flutie

37

1999

3,171

19

16

262

7TH

2005

Steve Young

36

1997

3,029

19

6

261

9TH

1999

Dan Marino

38

1998

3,497

23

15

254

10TH

1999

Only Steve Young and Rich Gannon managed to lead all quarterbacks in fantasy scoring during their respective seasons.

In addition, there are a few repeat performers on the list. Young, Gannon, and Brett Favre pulled the trick twice. Meanwhile, fantasy football superhero Kurt Warner did it in each of his final three seasons.

Interestingly enough, the statistical dynamo on the list is may be current Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway.

The Stanford product is on the list just once. However, he finished 12th among quarterbacks in his final season in 1998 despite missing three games.

In fact, despite Elway’s advancing age, he became a fantasy stalwart late in his career. Over his final six seasons, Elway finished in top 10 each season expect for injury-shortened swan song in 1998.

Unfortunately, many of the nine quarterbacks met an untimely demise, which eventually led to their retirement soon after posting big seasons. Only Flutie and Moon managed to hang around for longer than three years following their last big stands.

However, their skills diminished quickly and left the game as a backup.

Elsewhere, injuries played a significant role in the retirement of Young, Gannon, Favre, and Warner.

Only Elway receives a gold star for getting out exactly at the right time. With his body starting to deteriorate, Elway led the Broncos to a second straight Vince Lombardi Trophy and won Super Bowl XXXIII MVP honors.

So, what’s the moral to this story?

If you’re going to take Manning this season…beware.

While chances are he stands to put up top fantasy quarterback numbers again with a bevy of offensive options, the end is nearing.

Sadly, when the end arrives for quarterbacks, it’s likely to be swift, immediate, and unforgiving.

Be prepared.

In other words, make sure you jump off the Titanic and into a life raft before going down with the ship.

Be sure to grab a quality backup if you have Peyton…just in case.

1 reply »

  1. Its hard to imagine it haooening to manning w how well hes playing. His intense preperation and weapons should hide it for longer than most. I sag 2 more great yrs, 1 average and 1 awful.

    MAnnings not the type to just call it a career. Hes the type whos going down in flames dragged away kicking and screaming. Lets hope its after a super bowl

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