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Manning's quietly great season secures status among fantasy elite

With Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees both ousted from the playoffs there's only one elite fantasy quarterback, Tom Brady, still leading his squad in the quest for this year's Lombardi Trophy.

Or is it two?

In filleting the Packers with a career-playoff-high 330 yards and three touchdown passes, Eli Manning is making a statement as an elite quarterback on the gridiron and on the stat sheet. In 18 games this season he's reached 300 yards in nine (over 400 in three), threw for at least three touchdowns in six while throwing multiple picks in only three contests. His 4,933 passing yards ranked fourth in the league and sixth all-time, surpassed previously only by Dan Marino in 1984 and Drew Brees in 2008. From Week 3, when Victor Cruz was first elevated into a major role, through the end of the regular season only Brees (4,787) had more passing yards than Manning's 4,442. Factor in the that two of New York's top three receivers, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, were plagued by injuries throughout and his NFC-high 202 passing yards lost to defensive pass interference penalties, and Manning becomes a very intriguing option in next year's draft for those who choose to go with Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew or LeSean McCoy in the first round.

Now onto this week's mailbag: (If you'd like a chance for personal fantasy advice here on Mondays with other answers throughout the week, send your questions, comments, observations of football, baseball, and basketball to @SI_DavidSabino on Twitter)

I traded Kevin Durant in a 12-man H2H league for Ray Allen (45th overall) and Amar'e Stoudemire (13th overall). Did I get enough value? The league is coming down on me hard for this trade.-- @OutPoker

I don't like it at all. As the third-leading scorer in the league and a top candidate for MVP honors, Durant is just too valuable to give away for an aging three-point shooter and an injury-prone power forward averaging career lows across the board. Yes, Stoudemire is a good player to target in a value deal, but trading away someone averaging over 25 per game while shooting over 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the line (on the fifth-most free throw attempts in the league), is not the way to get it done. I'd be ticked off if I were in that league, too.

Would you recommend this trade: Giving up David Lee and Ray Allen and receiving Luol Deng and Andrew Bynum?-- Jake

Last week I wrote about how it was a great time to deal Allen, who was on top of the world the first few weeks of the season. Now you see why. In three games he came crashing back down to Earth, averaging 10.7 points while hitting only four three-pointers. He hit 40 percent of his field goals over the stretch and had just one steal.

As for Lee, he has been on fire playing for the defensive-minded Mark Jackson. He has scored in double-figures in each of his 11 games and grabbed 10 or more boards in seven, including a streak of six in a row that ended Sunday night against the Pistons. His explosion has been fueled in part by the offensive void created by Stephen Curry's absence with an ankle injury and is ripe for a sell-high deal.

Following his four-game suspension, Bynum has been a monster for new coach Mike Brown, averaging fewer points than Lee (19.1 to 16.4), but more rebounds (13.8 to 9.6) and is on par in shooting (.528 for Bynum, .527 for Lee). What makes Bynum more desirable to me is his elite status in blocks, averaging more than a block-and-a-half per contest as compared to less than half per game for Lee. When you throw in Deng's 14.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg into the mix, it becomes clear, at least to me, that this is a great trade for you. I would try to bolster my three-pointers elsewhere, either with another small trade (Hedo Turkoglu and Richard Jefferson come to mind) or someone from the waiver wire (Anthony Morrow and Mario Chalmers are likely in play)

Tim Duncan and Steve Nash for Deron Williams? Worth it to get D-Will? I need a more well-rounded PG.-- @Will_Chaklos

Williams is one of the most highly volatile players in the league right now. It's quite possible that he becomes a supernova of value if the Nets are able to pull off a much speculated deal for Dwight Howard. However, if Orlando's Superman winds up elsewhere, Williams will be hard-pressed to keep his morale up on a team destined to lose 50 games with little hope for the future in sight. That said, like most of the other long-in-the-tooth players around the league, Duncan and Nash both are likely to wear down as the rigors of a compressed season hit them. So while there are risks involved on both sides of such a deal, and given that your field-goal percentage will take a serious hit (Williams is shooting under 37 percent for the year) I'd do it and hope that D-Will can keep his game together no matter how the Howard soap opera plays out.

Should I drop Landry Fields and pick up Ryan Anderson?-- @bgoldgrab

Yes. Fields is a complementary piece on an underachieving team in serious need of better complementary pieces. Anderson has taken full advantage of wide open shots afforded him by double- and triple-team attention that Dwight Howard commands, to the tune of a league-lead tying 36 threes made while averaging 7.3 boards and a career-best 17.2 points. Anderson's been one of the breakout players of the early season and there's no reason to believe that he'll tail off.

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