Dave Hunter

Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees

Created on Aug. 08, 2014 6:49 AM EST

Sometimes mining for data on players you want to draft can backfire on you, although most times than not the data you scrounge for supports your original “I want him” intuition assuming the player’s name is not Darren McFadden. Ahem.

Yes, I admit it – I’m a McFadden apologist.

I still believe the guy is going to put up that one brilliant season that we have all expected (well, at least me) since his 2008 rookie season. Should I feel bad about my love for McFadden? No, I never will; however, I probably should feel bad about my love for Cocoa Puffs, corn dogs (mustard only)… and these wondrous flavorful ring-things.

So, I get it when you dig a player to the moon and back. That’s certainly the case with Peyton Manning this season – everyone loves him. I love him too, but I also love that groovy black-and-gold dressed quarterback named Drew Brees.

As you continue to read, please understand that the data actually supports both Manning and Brees as no-brainer QB options. But, you knew that already eh? The difficulty in choosing between the two comes down to a few points which I will bring up later. Let’s take a look.


Att Comp Pct Yds
Drew Brees, Saints 659 445 67.6 5272
Peyton Manning, Broncos 640 433 67.7 4945

The similarities are eerie. There aren’t many quarterbacks that compare so closely over their last three seasons played, even right down to the completion percentage.  Is there an edge here by either player? No, I certainly don’t see one.

What about here? Is there an edge?

TD INT Games
Drew Brees, Saints 43 15 16
Peyton Manning, Broncos 42 13 16

Again, there is no real edge. How nutty is this? Aside from Manning’s missed 2011 season due to his neck injury, he and Brees have been poster-children for good health. You can count games missed on one hand for both.

Now, consider this information comparing both quarterbacks’ three-year averages against their 2013 season:








Drew Brees, Saints (3-yr) 659 445 67.6 5272 43 15
Drew Brees, Saints (2013) 650 446 68.6 5162 39 12
Peyton Manning, Broncos (3-yr) 640 433 67.7 4945 42 13
Peyton Manning, Broncos (2013) 659 450 68.3




I’m sure you see the two areas that really stick out in the table above. We all know that Manning had a season of a lifetime in 2013, and while his passing yards had a nice bump from his three-year averages it’s the TD production that really set him apart. But, is it repeatable? That’s the question. I mean, that’s why you’d draft Manning ahead of Brees, right? Otherwise, here are a few reasons why I would take Brees ahead of Manning:

  1. Consistency – I trust Brees to hit his three-year average mark more than I do Manning, while repeating his 2013 season much more than I do Manning. Will Manning still have a great season? Sure, but the odds are against him throwing 55 TD again.
  2. Draft Position – Manning is going in the middle of the first round in most mocks/drafts that I’m witnessing, while Brees is going early second round. Why spend a first round pick on Manning when you may have a shot at Brees in the second round? Of course, the cards all need to fall right and actual draft position does matter, but I have issue drafting a quarterback in the first round anyhow. I’m fairly certain that most owners that draft Manning in the first round are expecting a repeatable season – a big mistake.
  3. Age – It’s really not fair to Manning considering what he’s done over his career, but he is 38-years old now. Brees is 35-years old, and I consider that a slight advantage for Brees.
  4. Injury History – Let’s face it, there’s always concern regarding Manning’s neck. And, while I did “throw away” Manning’s 2011 season for three-year average comparison’s sake you can’t take away from the fact that Brees has missed a total of TWO games over the last 10 seasons. Incredible.

Building a fantasy club isn’t easy, but you have to consider the advantages and reward versus the risk, especially in prime-time players like Brees and Manning. I wouldn’t fault you for one second if you draft Manning ahead of Brees, but there’s solid statistical data that shows Brees is just as valuable as Manning but a better overall draft value. Let someone else snag Manning and you take Drew Brees instead. You'll thank me later.