(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
How’s it goin guys! Today I wanna take a dive into the New York Giants and the role the team’s offensive players might be able to play in fantasyland this season. Before we analyze the potential of the Giants’ skill players individually, we should take a second to discuss the circumstances in which these players will be looking to produce…
How’s the Team Lookin?
Glad you asked. The G-Men underwent some major changes this offseason that have, and will, certainly shape their 2018 season. The Giants’ goofy head coach Ben McAdoo was jettisoned in favor of newly found offensive mastermind Pat Shurmur, who then proceeded to replace all of his coordinators. Before all of that, former GM and noted spendthrift Jerry Reese was hastily replaced by old-school football man Dave Gettleman. Of course, a new GM means some new players as well, as Reese traded for pricey OLB Alec Ogletree, signed veteran RB Jonathan Stewart and underrated WR Cody Latimer, and brought in Nate Solder to play left tackle (as well as conducted the typical minor moves that teams do in an offseason). Reese additionally had what most would consider a great draft, adding the likes of Saquon Barkley and guard Will Hernandez to what was a lackluster offense in 2017, and OLB Lorenzo Carter to a near league worst defense.
While much of the change to the Giants’ team framework was within the front office, the change in culture that comes with that regime change, as well as the players added, will have profound effects on the way the G-Men’s fantasy relevant players produce. Well without further ado (and certainly not further McAdoo) let’s start with the ol’ franchise QB….
Eli Manning (QB1/2)
Ah good old, reliable Eli. Always there to be just good enough to get by. All analysis aside, the man has been middle of the road for years, but when you have a super bowl caliber defense and OBJ on your teams over the years, that’s really all you have to be. Now, that being said, the man gets a healthy OBJ, a stud TE, a solid #2 receiver in Sterling Shepard, a shiny new stud passing back in Saquon Barkley, AND a new left tackle to work with this year. That’s a lot. Yes, yes it is, and paired with the fourth most attempts in the league last year AND a new coach that unlocked god-tier Case Keenum, Eli could conceivably leap into the QB1 discussion. My bet is he hovers right around the QB13 or so, but be bullish or bearish as you see fit.
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR1)
It’s OBJ, what is there to say? ‘Sees friends and family shaking their heads in shame’ Alright alright there actually IS something that needs to be said about OBJ. Though he certainly is a freak athlete who I firmly believe could replicate any feat achieved on a football field by a WR, OBJ was also working with a 25% target share within his team’s previous offensive framework. For reference, given the team’s propensity to pass, that’s a nearly 20% target rate per snap. That’s massive, and one needs only to look to last years Minnesota offense to get insight into the type of target distribution Shurmur might institute in this year’s Giants offense. So, while OBJ is still sure to get a huge amount of targets, which he will sure as hell produce on, pump the brakes a bit on seeing the one-man team that was 2016 OBJ again.I’m slotting him in as WR #6, just behind Julio and Keenan Allen, but the case can be made for him at #5 instead depending on how you see the new Giants offense developing.
Sterling Shepard (WR3)
Sterling Shepard is a baaaad man. Dude sported an 84.5% catchable target rate last season, good for ninth in the league last year. With those kinds of hands and his game-breaking burst, the dude comes into 2018 with the potential to be a rock-solid WR3, and even hint at WR2 production given enough targets. Don’t sleep on Shepard.
Evan Engram (TE1)
I just want you all to check out the stats on Engram’s pure athleticism. Goddamn is that a dangerous profile for a pass catching TE. The man can produce for sure, but last season was one marred by Engram’s notorious stone-hands issue. Now, if you’re inclined to think that’s a career-long trait, then that’s a serious problem. If like me, you think drops are in most cases a single season or early career issue, then you should be very excited about Engram this year. With very few truly top-end TE options this year, I’m going bullish on Engram and tagging him as the #4 TE just behind Ertz, though I see more than enough potential for him to ascend to #3 or even #2 with a significant Gronk injury. Get you some Engram this year.
Saquon Barkley (RB1)
The kid has looked great in his 1 preseason game, was a stud in college, and has these quads. End of story. Draft him in the 1st round and thank me later. Where’s the analysis? How am I supposed to base my first round pick on just that?! Ya know, it’s funny you say that because I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING. While Barkley sports high-end RB1 potential as the showcase back in the Giants new Shurmur-ized offense, he hasn’t shown much of anything yet, and there’s no bet that running backs will produce, or last for that matter, in today’s NFL. The kid is clearly talented; no one will doubt that. But hype trains frequently derail, and taking a player like Saquon over the likes of Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and others with similar ADP’s and proven track records is a huge risk that offers little upside. I have Saqoun slotted in as RB #9 just behind Devontae Freeman and Gordon, baking in his inherent upside with the risk that comes with any rookie entering the gauntlet that is the NFL.
Behind Eli are Davis Webb and rookie Kyle Lauletta…nothing to see here folks. Of far more note, the Giants brought in Cody Latimer this offseason to be the team’s #3 receiver behind Shepard and OBJ. He should see little production with so many mouths to feed in that offense, but with an injury to Shepard (which isn’t all that unlikely) Latimer could jump into a very solid downfield role. It’s a similar situation behind Saquon as new addition Stewart and McAdoo holdover Wayne Gallman primarily wait in the wings in case Gotham’s, er, I mean New York’s football savior gets an injury of some sort.
With little to no secondary and a mediocre pass rush, there will be better options on the wire. Maybe new D-Coordinator James Bettcher brings the success he has had in Arizona over to NY, but I’m not counting on it.
Well that about does it for the G-Men. Lots of exciting players on this team that will go over and under-drafted. Hopefully the little bits of info I’ve given you will help you avoid those overpays and nab the value in some low ADP’s. I hope you enjoyed the piece, and see you folks tomorrow when we outline the Redskins fantasy contributors. Au revoir!