Spin Doctors: Quarterback quandary - Manning, Romo or Brees?

The quarterback thrice behind golden boy Tom Brady is nearly indistinguishable on paper. No wonder celebrity slingers Peyton Manning (Y! ADP: 11.1), Tony Romo (19.1) and Drew Brees (29.7) are separated by just 18 picks on average in Y! drafts.

Which quarterback will yield the biggest fantasy return?

Piano Man, Big Noise and Funbags debate in roughly 250 words...

Pianowski says: Are we discussing Peyton Manning in the proper tier here? Has everyone forgotten his consistent brilliance over the last 10 years? Most fantasy picks are about upside or floor; Manning is the rare selection that gives you both.

Manning has never missed a game since joining the NFL in 1998 (don't worry about the knee, he should be fine), which basically buys you an extra roster spot. He's graded out in the Top 3 of fantasy quarterbacks in each of the last five years. His *worst* haul from the last five seasons still brought 28 touchdowns and 3,747 yards. And he's started to call his own number around the goal line of late; seven sneaky rushing scores over the last two years.

No Marvin Harrison last year, no problem – Manning drove Dallas Clark into the Pro Bowl. Mind you, most QBs would love to have Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez running loose on the outside. The continuity of the Colts is also a plus; Manning has played with one offensive coordinator (Tom Moore) his entire career.

Successful quarterbacking boils down to preparation, processing information, and execution; Manning grades at the head of the class in all three categories (you won't find a QB with more of his playbook committed to memory). When it's your turn to execute on draft night, don't drop the ball, don't trip yourself up. For the first time in forever, you can actually land Peyton Manning at a mild discount. Do the right thing.

Evans says: Being swallowed whole by a villainous golf course pond is the only thing that could possibly deny Tony Romo of repeating as virtual pigskin's No. 2 quarterback.

In his first full season as the Boys starter, Mr. Jessica Simpson was spectacular last year. Different from '06, he played smarter, delivering passes with more consistency.

Playing a full 16-game slate, he tossed 12 multi-TD games (Manning - 9, Brees - 10), seven 300-yard games (Manning - 3, Brees - 5) and averaged 8.1 yards per attempt (Manning - 7.8, Brees - 6.8). Only supermodel wooer Tom Brady finished with higher marks in all three categories.

Critics will argue that he hasn't performed at an elite level for as long as Manning or Brees, which is true. But, at 28, Romo has yet to reach his statistical zenith. However, he believes that "another level" year could be 2008.

The weapons surrounding him are sensational. Terrell Owens is still nearly impossible to cover one-on-one. Jason Witten, who caught 96 passes last year, greatly exploits midfield soft spots. And Patrick Crayton, coming off a quiet seven-TD season, should continue to mature in a tertiary role. Plus, with a dynamite ground game, stalwart offensive line and home-run threat Felix Jones in place, Romo is in a favorable environment to rifle another 35-38 scores.

Yes, the passing stats disparity between the three signal callers will be minute, but include Romo's scrambling abilities (132 RYDs, 2 TDs) and that contrast expands.

Unquestionably, Romo will challenge Brady for the QB crown, outplaying Manning and Brees.

Funston says:
Drew Brees averages in his two seasons in New Orleans: 4,426 yards, 27 TD passes, .661 Comp%.

Peyton Manning's past two-year averages: 4,218 passing yards, 31 TD passes, .651 Comp%

And unlike the third quarterback in this comparison, Brees has actually helmed an offense for at least two full seasons and does not quite have the god-given looks to worry about trying to pull pop diva arm candy.

Ok, disparaging anyone in this group is probably the wrong tact to take. After all, they're all great. My point is to simply express that Brees belongs squarely in this elite class of signal-callers.

As good as Brees has been, his best season is likely to come in '08. Lethal aerial weapons Marques Colston and Reggie Bush enter their third seasons. Jeremy Shockey has been brought in at TE to torch defenders across the middle of the field – I think you all remember how Brees was able to exploit tight end advantages from his days in San Diego. Robert Meachem is showing signs that he's going to be every bit the first-round talent the Saints thought he would be. And despite throwing the most passes in the league in '07, New Orleans allowed the fewest QB sacks.

Factor in New Orleans' soft schedule and the fact that it plays 10 games in a temperature-controlled dome environment and it’s enough to push me into a new mindset in regards to Brees – he’s my No. 2 QB, and I’m making no apologies.