In Denver’s week 10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton Manning was benched in favor of 4th year Brock Osweiler. This, despite Manning becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. It later surfaced that his play had been dwindled by a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot, which even caused him to have trouble walking. The injury has ruled Manning out in week 11 against Chicago, which means Osweiler will make his first career start. Before being pulled, Manning was 5-20 with 35 yards and 4 interceptions as he compiled a QBR less than 0 – perhaps the worst performance of his career.
Clearly Manning’s best days are far behind him, we’ve known this all season. However, he still managed to lead the Broncos to a 7-0 start – now the team has dropped their last two games. Manning’s health had been an issue since last season, along with his actual play on the field – this looks to be the final stretch of his career.
Who is Brock Osweiler? The 2012 2nd round pick out of Arizona State has been viewed as Denver’s QB of the future for quite some time now. He’s a giant at 6’8” with an incredibly strong arm. As noted, he came on for Manning in Denver’s loss to Kansas City and had himself a pretty decent showing, going 14-24 with a touchdown and an interception. He is set to face an abysmal Chicago secondary in a game which shapes up to be a battle of the QBs.
Depending on Osweiler’s performance, some may even make the argument that it’s his job to lose. He has been patiently sitting on the bench for 3 and a half years now with the benefit of watching and learning from the great Peyton Manning. If he wants any chance to do so, it’ll be pivotal for him not to turn the ball over, and a win would help as well. I think Osweiler will shine in his starting debut, but I’m not sure if that’ll be enough to permanently take the job from Peyton. Ultimately, Gary Kubiak will have to whatever gives his team the best chance to win.
The Broncos have neglected to sign a 3rd string QB, meaning rookie Trevor Siemian will serve as the lone backup to Osweiler.
From a fantasy perspective, I do like this move for the weapons on Denver as Osweiler brings much more upside to the offense. I especially like what this means for the Broncos tight ends. Often times, inexperienced QBs rely on the tight end as a security blanket – Vernon Davis has some fantasy upside in week 11, though Owen Daniels is probably the safer bet. There is even an argument Osweiler is simply the better fit for a Gary Kubiak offense.
As for Osweiler, the only way I would start him is if you have a really weak QB situation. While I do like the matchup and think he’ll have a good game, it’s just too much of a risk until he proves something.