Week Seventeen Analysis: Just watch, now that Eli Manning has daggered his fantasy owners, just watch, he'll blow up in a meaningless Week 17 game. It could happen. He's killed us over the past 10 games with just two games with more than one touchdown. How bad have those 10 games been? In a typical scoring system, Eli was the 25th-best quarterback over that stretch, below guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, and Sam Bradford. So, naturally, he'll spring to life against the horrible Philly secondary, a group that has allowed multiple quarterback touchdowns in a shocking 10 straight games.
Week Sixteen Analysis: After last week's maddening debacle, I can't image many fantasy owners who rely on Eli Manning are actually alive in the playoffs and watching his video. I could spend this time having Keith Marler strip naked, lube him up with some WD-40, and have him mime all three parts of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. He's an excellent Gollum. But since I'm fresh out of WD-40, I'll mention that Eli has reduced his fantasy owners to basket cases, with inexplicable good and bad performances. And the Ravens just held his brother to season lows in yardage and touchdown passes. Or should I say "pass". Even worse, the Ravens haven't allowed more than one scoring pass in five straight games.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Eli Manning has rebounded nicely from his mid-season blahs. Since his week 11 bye, he's averaged 2.7 touchdown passes and 262 yards per game. But he did so against some of the worst secondaries in the league: Green Bay, Washington, and New Orleans. He has decidedly more stern test coming this week. Atlanta's secondary has allowed just 13 touchdown passes all year, so just one per game. And, only three quarterbacks have managed more than one touchdown against them. Manning is a safer bet for yardage. Throwing out Ryan Lindley, Atlanta has allowed 300 passing yards per game since week 9.
Week Fourteen Analysis: Eli Manning's arm seems like it's got its groove back. Since Week 9, Manning has thrown for at least 30 more yards than the previous week, including his 280 yards against the Redskins on Monday night. If that trend holds, Manning should be experiencing his first 300-yard game since October this week against New Orleans. Last Thursday those Saints held an opposing quarterback to under 230 passing yards for the first time this season, when Matt Ryan could only muster 165 yards. But that's an anomaly. New Orleans has allowed a passing touchdown to every quarterback they've faced (except for Matt Cassel, who does not count) and have given up seven 300-plus yard passing performances this season.
Week Thirteen Analysis: This is a very tricky matchup to decipher. On one hand, Eli Manning just manhandled the Packers on Sunday night, scoring three times. And it probably would have been worse if the Packers had made it any kind of game. On the other hand, those three touchdowns are more than he had scored in his previous five games combined! Then there's the matter of the Redskins secondary. They've clearly improved in the second half of the season. Three of their past five opposing quarterbacks have thrown zero or one touchdown. Yet, they just got blown up by Tony Romo has he staged a furious comeback on Thanksgiving Day. Much like the pickled yams I tried to eat. Then, there's this killer: Manning has thrown just two total touchdowns against the Redskins in his last five games, and even crazier, he's topped 1 touchdown just once in 16 career matchups.
Week Twelve Analysis: It's been a brutal six weeks for Eli Manning. Prior to last week's bye, he didn't score a single touchdown in the prior three games, and he scored just once in the two games prior to that. Granted, there were some good defenses on the schedule in those weeks, but still, when you're an elite quarterback, you've got to overcome those, right? He'll try to right the ship against a Green Bay defense he torched in two meetings last year. His combined numbers between the regular season game and the playoff game: 670 yards and six touchdowns. He has mostly the same weapons as last year, and the Packers have most of the same secondary. Hopefully, his arm will look stronger after the rest of the bye week. But at this point, Manning has lost the benefit of the doubt, and remains a high-risk play.
Week Eleven Add/Trade: I know you can't pick up Eli Manning, but you'll never buy Eli Manning for pennies on the dollar like you can today in a trade. He's been awful for a month, and he's facing his bye week. But, if you look ahead, you'll see that his schedule is going to turn ridiculously easy with very favorable games against Green Bay, then Washington, then New Orleans. Even after that, it's not bad with games against Atlanta, Baltimore and Philly. Manning has proven to be a very good fantasy quarterback, and I believe he'll come out of the bye and play much better than he was leading up to the bye.
Week Ten Analysis: Wow, the wheels have come off Eli Manning in a fashion I didn't think would happen this year. He was flat out bad last week, and it capped a month-long run with just two touchdowns, and three games with less than 195 yards. Yuck. Fortunately, he faces a Bengals defense that has faced very few good quarterbacks, and when they have, they've yielded. Eli's brother just dropped 290 and 3 on the Bengals last week. And Brandon Weeden has found his way to multiple touchdowns in two different games against Cincinnati. I like Eli's chances of bouncing back.
Week Nine Analysis: The best reason for hope for Eli Manning against a statistically very strong Steelers secondary is this: They haven't played a single accomplished quarterback this year. Well, in fairness, they faced Peyton Manning, but that was in his very first post-surgery start, back in week one. And, actually, Manning fared pretty well, topping 250 yards and scoring twice. Since then, it's been guys like Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, and Matt Hasselbeck. So, the Steelers probably aren't as good as their No. 1 ranking against the pass, but clearly they're still tough. Eli's been slumping lately, with just two touchdowns in the past three games, and it seems unlikely that he'll dramatically reverse that direction.
Week Eight Analysis: Thanks to Victor Cruz dropping 26 balls in the season opener, Eli Manning posted his first underwhelming stat line against Dallas in four years of bi-annual matchups. Manning managed just 213 yards and one late score. But, it wasn't all Cruz's fault. The new-look Dallas secondary is really good. As it turns out, we're nearly to the halfway mark of the season and those numbers, 213 and 1, are almost exactly what Dallas is allowing on a per game basis. That's good for the third-fewest yards allowed, and the 8th-fewest touchdowns. Still, Manning and Cruz are clicking, Manning has owned the Cowboys in recent years, and he remains a consistent fantasy producer.
Week Seven Analysis: The Redskins secondary is bad. Really bad. They rank dead last in passing yardage allowed. They rank 30th in passing touchdowns allowed. Every opposing quarterback has thrown for at least 299 yards. Just last week, Christian Ponder posted the second-highest yardage game of his career. Only Josh Freeman failed to throw multiple touchdowns against the Redskins. So, Eli Manning is a lock for 300 and two, and really, that's the bare minimum I expect for him, especially when Ponder, Sam Bradford, and Andy Dalton have all hit those marks.
Week Six Analysis: Ahmad Bradshaw may have just run for 200 yards, but he's going to see plenty of pine on Sunday. The Niners ferocious run defense continues unabated, and Eli Manning is going to throw his arm out of socket in this one. In the Giants playoff win against the Niners last year, Eli threw a whopping 58 passes. And Eli is fourth in passes attempted this year. But will it work? San Francisco's defense has been amazing in back to back games. But, containing Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez isn't comparable to Manning. He's closer to Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford who posted good, not great, stats.
Week Five Analysis: Eli Manning's fantasy fortunes have been all over the map this year, with a couple ho-hum games, and two great ones. But this one looks like a sure thing. The Browns have allowed multiple quarterback touchdowns in every game this year, and three 300-yard games. They've certainly missed cornerback Joe Haden, who'll be out one final game on his PED suspension. Manning probably won't have Hakeem Nicks, but really, it doesn't matter. Domanik Hixon and Ramses Barden have led the team in receiving the past two weeks. Manning is an elite start.
Week Four Analysis: Eli Manning, as good as he's been for the past few years, has lost six of his last seven games against the Eagles. And his performances are completely erratic. For example, last year he had one blah game against the Eagles, and one amazing, four-touchdown game. Same thing with the year before, one good game, and one meh game. And the year before. The Eagles shut down Joe Flacco two games ago. Then, they got picked apart by Kevin Kolb, last week. Go figure. But, on balance, the Eagles secondary is quite good. Only three of the last nine quarterbacks they've faced have topped one touchdown pass. Included in that is Eli, who threw just one in their most recent matchup.
Week Three Analysis: Halfway through last week's game, I had a lot of irate Twitter followers lambasting me for my high ranking on Eli Manning. Funny, there weren't any apology tweets after the game, when he threw for the eighth-most yards in league history. This week Eli faces the Panthers, a secondary that just held Drew Brees sorta in check last week. Brees topped 300 yards, but threw only one touchdown. Still every quality quarterback the Panthers faced in the last two years has thrown for multiple touchdowns and/or 300 yards. Carolina's secondary is largely unchanged, except for the addition of safety Haruki Nakamura, who I think, was a building that Bruce Willis got stuck in Die Hard.
Week Two Analysis: I see a revenge game coming for Eli Manning and the Giants after their nationally televised humiliation last week. Tampa's secondary was brutal last year, and 3/4ths of the starters are back this year. Last year, only two teams allowed more passing touchdowns, and last week, Cam Newton threw for over 300 yards on them. If Victor Cruz doesn't drop any passes, or heck, if he only drops one or two, Eli is in for a big game, more akin to his usual output.
Week One Analysis: Eli Manning owns the Cowboys. He pounded the Cowboys in their two matchups last year, to the tune of, get this, 746 yards and five touchdowns. Going deeper into his historic trends against the Cowboys returns similar results. He's thrown multiple touchdowns in six straight and in 10 of the last 12 meetings. He's topped 300 yards in five of the last six against the ‘Boys. What's more, Eli looked fantastic in the preseason, and he's got his full compliment of receivers, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Rueben Randle at his disposal. The Cowboys will counter with their two new cornerbacks, Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, who gets his first NFL start. It's not fair to ask them to assimilate a new defense, and stop the Giants' powerful passing game in week one.
NEXT: #6 DREW BREES