The news that Peyton Manning will miss Week 1 with a neck injury -- and that his status going forward is unclear -- is good news for the Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Steelers and the other contenders in the AFC. It's bad news for fantasy football owners who were counting on Manning or other Colts to produce for their squad this year.
If you drafted Manning earlier in the summer under the assumption that the NFL’s current consecutive games played leader would be good to go for Week 1, I can’t really fault you for it. I’m no doctor, but I do know that it takes a lot to keep this guy off the field. He probably threw his wife passes on his honeymoon. You’re just going to have to play the waiting game until Manning is cleared. Hopefully you planned for this and have a solid backup.
As for his supporting cast, you can’t expect the same kind of production with Curtis Painter or Kerry Collins under center. Reggie Wayne’s value takes the biggest hit with his quarterback sidelined. Based on ESPN’s live draft results, Wayne is on average the 11th wide receiver of the board and the 36th pick overall. That’s the Peyton effect, though Wayne could wind up being a steal by season’s end if Manning can return to form.
Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon are also less valuable than a week ago. The Colts are likely to run the ball more often, which bodes well for Joseph Addai and super sleeper Delone Carter.
A note about my fantasy football drafts: I’ve done four so far and somehow still have a fiancée, so I think I deserve props for that. In each of the leagues, I’ve drafted Matthew Stafford in the second half of the draft. Needless to say, I feel really strongly about this guy. He was a durable player in high school and college, and I’m banking -- literally in a couple of leagues -- that the past two years were a fluke.
Other players whom I own in multiple fantasy leagues, for whatever that’s worth: Hakeem Nicks, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson, Shonn Greene, Mark Ingram, Willis McGahee, Delone Carter, Ryan Grant and Roy Williams. You know those first three guys are good. The others are serious sleepers. Side note: I have drafted McGahee in each of my four drafts to date. If he’s on the waiver wire, go get him now. Seriously, stop reading. Go!
Fantasy penthouse: Normally, I would list the top point producers at the offensive skill positions. Since the season hasn't started yet, I’ll instead link to this video of some guy shanking a penalty kick.
Fantasy doghouse: And since there have been no fantasy goose eggs -- don’t worry, Beanie Wells and Mike Sims-Walker will be back here soon enough -- Mark Sanchez goes in the doghouse for this.
Five guys I really like this week: 1. Tom Brady (so Vontae Davis and Sean Smith think their league’s top cornerback tandem, huh?) … 2. Peyton Hillis (he should wreck the Bengals) … 3. Mike Williams (his Bucs could get in a shootout with the Lions) … 4. Greg Olsen (Cam Newton will be looking for his big tight end) … 5. Steven Jackson (Philly’s front seven will be vulnerable against the run)
Reader question: It’s our first week in this regular format, so no questions. I’m here to help, though. Leave me a comment if you’re looking for answers. If it’s urgent, Tweet at me or shoot me an email.
Extra point: If you own David Garrard, who was released by the Jaguars on Tuesday, well, you shouldn’t have had him in the first place. He’s the kind of guy you pluck off waivers when your starter goes down. Unless he lucks out and lands an opportunity to start, drop him from your roster. And if you own Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Thomas or another Jaguars player, know that their stock is slightly down.
Matt Vensel is a blogger and community coordinator for The Baltimore Sun. Send your fantasy questions and comments to Matt.Vensel@baltsun.com, @mattvensel on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below.