Peyton Manning is the MVP of the 2013 season. He’s the “real-life” MVP, the fantasy MVP. If you can name it, he’s the MVP of it. No matter how badly some people want this to be a debate, it isn’t.
As you may have heard, Manning set the single-season touchdown record on Sunday, throwing for scores 48, 49, 50 and 51. The four-touchdown effort was his eighth of the season. Manning’s 5,211 yards are already third most in NFL history. With 265 yards against the Raiders this week, he can break Drew Brees’ two-year old all-time record. That’s a number Manning has been held below only once all season. A 37-year-old, 16-year pro, Manning is averaging 347 yards per game. They’re star wars numbers, the kind that are usually only possible if you turn down the game difficulty and stack your roster with created players.
But they’re also nothing new for Manning. Remember, this is not a player setting the single-season touchdown record, but reclaiming it. Manning’s 49 scores from 2004 are the third-most all time, and were the record for three seasons. Manning’s 2013 numbers are high definition, but he’s been rewriting the record book since before you bought your first HD TV. The not-so-subtle implication? Manning’s latest batch of history making will go down as another footnote if he can’t lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl title.
That’s not fair, of course. Manning’s legacy should be defined by his awe-inspiring body of overall work — and not five or six rough games in January — but it is the reality. The judgments on Manning’s postseason failures are particularly curious since, you know, he’s won a title. But they will be rendered if he loses again, and likely most harshly of all by Manning himself.
Whatever happens next month, Manning has already had one of the greatest seasons of all time. But if he can cap it off with a Super Bowl trophy? He’ll have had arguably the greatest season of all time. What would be missing? Certainly not records and trophies. Manning’s made yet another great movie. Now let’s see him write a better ending than a Divisional Round loss or victory over Rex Grossman.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 17. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
Five Players Who Upped Their Dynasty Stock Down The Stretch of 2013
1. Nick Foles
Maybe Foles is a .com bubble waiting to burst. He’s definitely locked into a 2014 starting job for an offense that’s put a new spin on the wheel, after all.
2. Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson has lived up to the game-changing playmaker hype. Now he just needs a quarterback. He’s a bigger Percy Harvin.
3. Joique Bell
The league’s No. 31 rusher as a backup, Bell has shown power up the middle and play-making ability around the edge. His 522 receiving yards are sixth amongst running backs, while his eight rushing scores are tied for eighth. Bell is the exact kind of well-rounded back owners should be drooling over in long-term formats.
4. Chris Ivory
Ivory hasn’t exactly shed his injury-prone label, but he’s managed 4.59 yards per carry while playing in one of the league’s most dysfunctional offenses, and rushed for more yards than all but seven players in the month of December. Ivory is a strong hold, and a candidate to finally knock down the door of stardom in 2014.
5. Stedman Bailey
Bailey essentially didn’t have Dynasty-league stock heading into 2013. Now he has the looks of a future playmaker for an offense that’s positively starved for them. Bailey is still a speculative investment, but one that could pay off on the cheap.
1. Wait, you actually thought there was a chance Dallas’ season wouldn’t come down to a winner-take-all primetime game in Week 17?
2. If Ted Ginn is your leading receiver, does it make a sound?
3. Why even bother, Miami?
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