Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
So let's recap the last 48 hours in the NFL.
First, Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. Next, Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program. Then Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets, not once, but twice in the same day.
In related news, Twitter has not exploded yet. Give it time: we still haven't heard much from Rex Ryan yet. That could be the straw that breaks Twitter's back.
It's been a media frenzy for the NFL and it's all happened so fast that we've barely had time to look at the fantasy implications of what just happened. That's what I'm here for.
Let's start in the Mile High City, where Timsanity has given way to Manning Mania. Denver will employ an entirely different offense this year with Manning under center, an offense that actually involves passing the ball on a consistent basis. Can you imagine Peyton trying to run the Tebow triple option?
Fantasy owners' biggest concern with Manning right now is his neck. It shouldn't be. You think Denver would have paid $96 million for a soon-to-be 36-year-old quarterback if it weren't 100 percent sure Manning was healthy? Not a chance. The king of the no-huddle offense will be good to go this season.
For me, the biggest question mark surrounding Peyton isn't his durability (remember, he had never missed an NFL game until last season). It's his receivers.
In Indianapolis, Manning had Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark to keep the chains moving. All three were threats to crack the 1,000-yard receiving barrier in a given season.
Denver's most productive receiver in 2011? Eric Decker with a whopping 612 yards. Second was Demaryius Thomas with 551 yards.
Were Decker and Thomas merely a product of Tebow's run-first offense or were they just not very productive last season? It's a bit of a gray area.
Decker and Thomas do have a few things working in their favor. Both are quite young (Decker is 25, Thomas is 24) and are big targets (both are 6-foot-3 and over 215 pounds). And, most importantly, Manning will be their quarterback in 2012.
Remember, this is a guy who took Austin Collie, Blair White and Anthony Gonzalez and turned them into standouts. Molding nobodies into Pro Bowl-level receiving threats is what Manning does. You can be confident he will do it again with Decker and Thomas in Denver this season.
Decker will probably be the Broncos' possession receiver a la Wes Welker, while Thomas will be the deep threat.
Thomas should be especially dangerous for Denver, given how strong he came on at the end of last season. His breakout performance came in the playoffs when he notched 206 receiving yards in an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure, Pittsburgh's defense was a little beat up going into that game, but it's still the Steelers. Thomas has loads of potential and could go for 1,000 yards in 2012.
While Decker and Thomas should see their fantasy stock skyrocket next season, running back Willis McGahee probably won't be as fortunate. His value plummets with the addition of Manning.
McGahee rushed the ball 249 times for 1,199 yards a season ago. That's a pretty good amount of carries considering that he was sharing backfield duties with Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball for much of the season (Tebow ran the ball himself quite a bit, too).
The reason Denver's offense was so run-reliant last year was because, let's face it, Tebow just isn't that accurate a passer. With Manning running the show in 2012, it might be shocking if McGahee gets close to 250 carries again. Sorry, Willis.
Matt Prater was a hero for the Broncos a year ago, bailing Tebow out on a number of occasions by hitting some absurdly long field goals. With Manning around, Denver will finish more of its drives in the end zone, which hurts Prater's value, but not too badly.
The Broncos should move the ball on offense far more effectively in 2012, creating plenty of 30- and 40-yard opportunities for Denver's clutch kicker. Prater's value should be about the same as it was a year ago.
As inconsistent as Tebow was throwing the ball last year (72.9 QB rating with a 46.5-percent completion percentage), his strong rushing numbers (660 yards and six touchdowns) actually made him a decent fantasy play. Now, with Mark Sanchez standing in his way, you can chuck Tebow's fantasy value out the window ... or can you?
Sanchez was anything but reliable for the Jets last season, tossing 18 interceptions and crumbling when his team needed him down the stretch (60.3 QB rating, seven interceptions in his final three games). Oddly enough, the Jets decided to bow out of the Manning sweepstakes by re-signing Sanchez for another three years.
You'd think with all of the money New York has invested in him that Sanchez would be a lock for the starting job. But anything is possible with Tebow, especially after how poorly Sanchez played at the end of last year. The Jets locker room was a disaster last season and Tebow is exactly the good-character type of guy that could turn the Jets' team chemistry around. Will that be enough to make Tebow the starter?
For now, the starting job is Sanchez's to lose, but don't be surprised if he indeed loses it to Tebow. Remember, Tebow was the third- string QB behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn at the start of last season. This guy moves mountains.
There's still a chance we could see Tebow on the field every once in a while even if Sanchez is the starter. The Jets used a Wildcat package with Brad Smith a couple years back and it's possible they could use it again to give Tebow some reps. Tebow even lined up as a wide receiver a few times last season in Denver, so who knows what Ryan will do with him.
The most jarring news out of the NFL on Wednesday had nothing to do with Manning or Tebow, however. Commissioner Roger Goodell came down hard on the Saints for covering up their bounty program and the punishment will cost New Orleans its head coach in 2012.
The Saints offense was so dynamic and had so many weapons last year that fantasy owners had to have panicked when they heard this news.
Don't worry, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston owners, you'll be fine. Pete Carmichael, New Orleans's offensive coordinator and primary play- caller, will still be with the team this season, leaving the offense that Payton built mostly in tact.
Keep this in mind, too: The Saints might be the most resilient team in the NFL. Remember how they banded together after Hurricane Katrina? Losing a coach is nothing compared to losing your city.
Next season will be for Coach Sean. Expect Brees and the men in gold to be more determined and better than ever in 2012.
Seriously, though, when is something exciting going to happen in the NFL? What a boring week.
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