Fantasy Doctor: The one where I rant about Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is one of the most eminent names is the NFL — and I hate it.

It’s not because Manning is a bad guy. I’ve never met him, so I can’t make any real testament to his character, and he doesn’t seem to be spending the offseason getting in trouble or doping up on performance enhancers. All in all, he seems like a pretty nice guy.

It’s not because of the teams he’s played for, either. My only beef with the Colts is that they beat the Bears in 2007 for Super Bowl XLI. And as far as the Broncos go, they keep Philip Rivers and the Chargers buried at the bottom of the AFC West — and that’s OK with me.

Really, it’s not so much Manning at all — it’s his image. It’s his do-no-wrong, good-guy look that wins him so much affection. It’s the unintentional smugness that accompanies his commercials that rubs me the wrong way. I mean, can’t I just reap the benefits of having a Papa John’s down the street without thinking about the prominent and noble Peyton Manning?

But these complaints are trivial when compared to his obnoxiously prevalent position as the sovereign of football.

The headlines seem to repeat themselves every week. Look, Peyton Manning did something incredible this week, read here to find out why you really shouldn’t be surprised! They read an awful lot like adorned English poems that sing the praises of Queen Elizabeth, and I’m completely sick of it.

It’s not an issue of whether Manning deserves buckets of admiration. He does, more so than anyone else currently in the NFL. It’s been over two years since he underwent neck fusion surgery, and he is still proactive in expanding his legacy. And he seems to do it all with a plain and happy smile.

He has thrown for 1,884 yards and 20 touchdowns at 75.8 percent completion rate this season. That’s 162 yards and seven touchdowns more than any other quarterback in the league. He even has the potential to be the first NFL quarterback to ever throw for 6,000 yards in a season — and it’s his 15th season as a starter. He’s about the closest thing to a perfect athlete that there is.

Some people adore the Peyton Mannings of the world — those proper, gracious athletes who just seem to be honest and happy playing their sport. It’s the image that some people want slapped on every athlete, to be looked up to as role models for the young generation. But deep down, isn’t it sometimes exhilarating to see the natural order disrupted?

As the Joker says in the Dark Knight, “Introduce a little anarchy … upset the established order … and everything becomes chaos.” Maybe I, too, am acting like Batman villain by saying this, but who doesn’t like to see a good curveball? Aren’t we all secretly anarchists? Don’t we all long for someone else to sit on the throne every once in a while?

Who knows, maybe I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. Or maybe I’m just bitter Manning isn’t on my fantasy team. Whatever the reason, I hope this football season continues to be exciting and captivating as always.

After getting crushed by the Jets on Monday night, I’m sure the Falcons are hoping to use the bye week to get their season back on track before it’s too late. But even if they don’t, your fantasy doctor is here for you, ready to deal out another set of pickups and drops for Week 6.

Bye weeks: Atlanta, Miami

PICKUPS

Terrelle Pryor (quarterback, Raiders, owned in 32.5 percent of ESPN leagues) — Pryor isn’t terrific as a QB1, but he’s a worthy backup who makes a modest living in points. With the exception of Week 4 against Washington, in which Pryor didn’t play, he’s reached double digits every week. He’s finding his game in Oakland, and he’s stayed consistent against in his first two divisional matchups. The Raiders backfield isn’t exactly a picture of health, either. If you’re needing to fill gaps this week or worried about quarterback injuries in the future, Pryor makes a nice, easy pickup.

Garrett Graham (tight end, Texans, 3.4 percent) — With Owen Daniels out of the picture, Graham finally has an opportunity to move into the spotlight. As far as starting Graham, I wouldn’t recommend it just yet. He’s backed up 30 points on 15 catches for 141 yards this season with three touchdowns serving as the icing on the cake. He’s only going to improve as the No. 1 tight end. This is a pickup and not a start for a reason, though. Let him get acclimated to his new digs. Wait and see how Matt Schaub responds to the loss of Daniels. He has enough potential to fill two spots on the bench, but give him a few weeks before turning him out on the frontlines.

DROPS

Eddie Royal (wide receiver, Chargers, 68.3 percent) — Royal is bad, and I feel bad for ever suggesting he could be good. He teased us in Week 2, but since then he’s only plummeted as Rivers’ yardage has gone up. For a receiver to have his quarterback throw for 996 yards and six touchdowns and only target him 13 times, that’s bad news. Royal could have a big week again in the future, but for now he’s too much of a liability to hold a spot on your roster.

Owen Daniels (tight end, Texans, 100 percent) — Daniels isn’t a drop based on his numbers. With a nondisplaced fibula fracture, he’s just the unfortunate player most owners can’t afford to hold on to for four to six weeks. I wouldn’t recommend trying to force him into a spot on your bench, either. If you waste too much time and energy on someone who won’t be back for awhile, you could wind up wasting your season. Keeping Daniels around is like ordering flowers for your girlfriend’s birthday, but not being sure if they’ll arrive on time or two weeks later. Knowing my girlfriend, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

J.J. is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Wilsonable07.