The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a difficult situation this week as Peyton Manning's injured neck has them wondering just what his status is for week one against the Houston Texans. The latest report via Stampede Blue indicates even if Manning does not have surgery, he is likely to miss the opener and could miss as much as five weeks. Reports were pouring in Sunday evening that ranged from Manning needing a second surgery to the neck simply being slow in healing.
The fantasy football impact of any sort of extended Manning absence is sizable. If you drafted Manning you hopefully added did not wait too late to add a backup quarterback. If you did wait, you may find yourselves rolling the dice. If you have not yet drafted, Manning is going to be downgraded across the board. Over the next three days it will be interesting to see what kind of average draft position Manning is at. Teams with injury spots or extra bench spots can stash him for a bit, but even still, if Manning could miss multiple weeks, that could be enough to drop him several rounds.
The Peyton Manning neck injury goes a step further in that it affects virtually the entire Colts roster of skill position players. Kerry Collins was brought in to fill in for Manning if the injury resulted in an extended absence and that could very well be the case at this point. Collins has a live arm but is obviously no Peyton Manning. The question is what he'll be able to do with this offense. Can he distribute the ball to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark and the rest?
And let's not forget the running game. Peyton Manning can keep any defense honest against the run, even when it's the questionable Joseph Addai/Donald Brown combination. This makes that duo all the more questionable for fantasy purposes.
To be perfectly honest, much like the Las Vegas sports books will be taking the Colts off the board for various wagers, the safest bet might just be taking them off your draft board. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark will likely get their numbers, but even though you aren't drafting Kerry Collins, are you prepared to base some of your higher draft picks on Collins coming through? It may only be a few weeks, but a few weeks is all it takes to fall completely out of the playoff chase in your fantasy league. Consider yourself warned.