Here’s our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …
Peyton Manning out 6-8 weeks: Manning underwent neck surgery Monday to repair a disk problem, which will cause him to miss about two months. Fortunately, Colts owner Jim Irsay said his star signal-caller should be ready to play in the preseason. Barring setbacks, the 35-year-old Manning will continue to thrive both for the Colts and fantasy owners. He’s thrown for 4,000-plus yards in all but one year since 1999, culminating in a career-high 4,700 yards in 2010. Manning has also averaged 31 touchdown passes since 2006, and his receiving options for next season will improve with Dallas Clark and Austin Collie back from injuries. He’ll be one of the first five quarterbacks taken in fantasy drafts. There is no cause for alarm here.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2011 value: Fitzpatrick, a former Bengal, weighed in on the Mike Brown vs. Carson Palmer situation, calling it a “stalemate.” Even if Palmer does return in 2011, he could have less fantasy value than the player who backed up him for two seasons in the Queen City. Fitzpatrick finished 19th in fantasy points among quarterbacks last year, but that was in 13 starts. Had he played a full season, Fitzpatrick would have projected to score 244.8 points — which would have been 21 more than Palmer. Entrenched atop the Bills depth chart, Fitzpatrick has a great rapport with Stevie Johnson and a favorable schedule ahead — that makes him a nice sleeper in my book. Target him in the late rounds as a matchup-based starter in drafts.
Clinton Portis to New York?: Released by the Redskins earlier this offseason, Portis is reportedly looking to exact some revenge on his former team — by joining the Giants. But why would the Giants want him? They are expected to retain restricted free agent Ahmad Bradshaw, and Brandon Jacobs is still under contract. Portis has also missed a combined 19 games over the last two years due to injuries. After a successful career where he took a lot of physical punishment in Denver and Washington, Portis is now clearly past his prime — and his days as a legitimate fantasy option are all but over.