Fantasy Tour Around the NFL, Part II: The New York Giants

Over the next few weeks I’ll be going through the 32 teams in the NFL to isolate the current status of their top fantasy-relevant players. We’ve travelled down the I-95 in our fantasy bus and arrived at the second stop on our fantasy tour; New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first of the two teams that call this stadium home are the New York Giants.

2010 Team Stats

Rushing Att./Yards/TDs: 480/2,200/17

Passing Att./Yards/TDs/INTs: 539/3,885/31/25

Defense/Sp. Teams Sacks/Turnovers/TDs: 46/41/0

Quarterbacks

Eli Manning

Eli Manning will look to reduce his interceptions in 2011.

Eli Manning: Manning was the 10th best fantasy scoring quarterback (in most formats) in 2010, making him a poor No. 1 in most leagues. He was one of just five quarterbacks to pass for over 4,000 yards, and his 31 passing touchdowns were good for fourth in the league. What he was dragged down by, however, were his league-high 25 interceptions. Don’t let his interceptions condemn him, though — INTs are one of the most fluctuating seasonal stats a quarterback has. He’ll be taken in rounds 6-8, and he might be worth a pick a little earlier than that, assuming you don’t yet have a quarterback. He’s one of my bigger bounce-back candidates heading into the next season.

Sage Rosenfels/Ryan Perrilloux: Obviously, the backup quarterback situation is always subject to change, but New York have an O-Line that gave up just 16 sacks last season and a stacked receiving corps. If Manning goes down, don’t be surprised to see one of these guys finding some success with the New York offense. As the senior backup, you’d expect Rosenfels to fill the slot first, with Perrilloux being a last resort.

Running Backs

Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw’s contract will finish up this offseason, but I think he’ll be resigned by the Giants. At just 24, they’ll be eagre to put pen on paper and hold on to the man that gave them 1,235 yards and 8 touchdowns from 276 carries last year, making him a Top-15 back in fantasy circles. At this point he’s being taken around 30th in most fantasy drafts, and I think that’s about the right value for him.

Brandon Jacobs

28 year-old Brandon Jacobs has three years left on his contract, and offers little trade value.

Brandon Jacobs: Unless Bradshaw doesn’t return to the Giants in 2011, Jacobs’ days of being a key back in your fantasy league are pretty much over. His 823 yards are his fewest in any season since his first start, and at 28, Jacobs could well be on the decline. He did see a bit of work as the goal-line back for the Giants in 2010, scoring 8 touchdowns.

Danny Ware / Da’Rel Scott: Ware is a career-backup back, and Scott is a seventh-round flyer who carved out a reputation at Maryland as a speedster. They’ll compete for the role as third back, but if Bradshaw doesn’t stay with the team, I could see Scott making a bigger impact.

Wide Receivers

I’ll just say first up, the Giants have a ridiculous amount of receivers on their roster right now. Here are the more important ones.

Hakeem Nicks: He’ll probably be the second Giant taken off the board (maybe after Ahmad Bradshaw) in most fantasy drafts in 2011. At just 23, the 2010 season was his second since he was picked in the first round in 2009, and he caught 79 balls for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns, and will most likely be picked somewhere in the third round of most fantasy drafts in 2011. Buyer beware, however; Eli Manning likes to spread the ball around and at times it seems like the lead receiver any one week could be any of New York’s three key wideouts.

Mario Manningham: In 2010 Manningham turned 60 receptions into 944 yards and 9 touchdowns. In each of the last three weeks of the season, Manningham had over 100 yards receiving and at least one score. 2011 is a contract year for him, so expect more big things for the Giants wideout.

Steve Smith: No, not that Steve Smith, and definitely not that one. This one. He’s recovering from a micro-fracture surgery that’ll keep him off his feet until June, and he’s an impending free agent, so proceed with serious caution. In 2010 he missed 6 games due to injury, but in 2009 he had a breakout season, making 107 catches for 1,220 yards and 7 touchdowns. My thinking is New York will probably let him go, seeing as they’re secure for the future at wide receiver – and the drafting of Jerrel Jernigan makes me more sure of this. Smith could be interesting elsewhere; he’s just 25 years of age.

Jerrel Jernigan: To me, Jernigan is Smith’s likely replacement, as he has similar size and generally plays the slot like Smith. He has great speed and can catch in traffic, and is lethal once the ball is in his hands. His route running is a concern, but with a combination of his hands and speed he could develop into a solid deep threat as well as a decent PPR guy. He could also contribute in the return game and wildcat, so that’s always a plus for fantasy value.

Domenik Hixon: Hixon was injured all season last year after he tore his ACL, and had just come off two seasons as a decent fourth-string receiver. He probably won’t be worthwhile considering in fantasy football.

Ramses Barden: After the six-foot-seven Barden was picked in the third round of the 2009 draft he had a quiet rookie season and was then placed on IR for an ankle/ligament injury last year. This is his win or go home year to me, and I think what he does this year will either solidify him as a bust or show us that he’s just had a little bad luck.

Victor Cruz: Cruz was everyone’s favourite sleeper after the 2010 preseason, in which he combined 15 receptions for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns, but didn’t really do anything in the regular season and was eventually put on injured reserve. There’s a tiny chance someone will have him on their radar in 2011. Don’t.

Derek Hagan: Hagan has always been a role-playing receiver, and he’ll stay as one this season. Not fantasy relevant.

Michael Clayton: After a fantastic 2004 rookie season, Clayton had 6 disappointing years in Tampa Bay and started last year in the UFL before being taken by the Giants when injuries riddled the New York receiving corps.

Not even mentioned here: Duke Calhoun, Sam Giguere, Darius Reynaud, Devin Thomas, Todd Watkins.

Tight Ends

Kevin Boss: He’s consistent, having caught around 40 passes for roughly 550 yards and 5 touchdowns for two straight years now, and to repay that consistency, New York are expected to re-sign him this offseason. But he’s not really a great fantasy option at tight end; being consistently mediocre and all.

Defense/Special Teams

The Giants defense scored a respectable 46 sacks and 41 turnovers in 2010, and with a reasonably sound offense it’ll be interesting to see how they draft with respect to their defense. One interesting statistic from 2010 was that New York’s defense and special teams failed to score a touchdown all season.


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One Response to “Fantasy Tour Around the NFL, Part II: The New York Giants”

  1. AC Slater says:

    Good points. Don’t count out Hagan or Victor Cruz though.

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