2020 Fantasy Preview: New York Giants

Eli Grabanski continues the 2020 Team Preview series with a fantasy-focused look at the New York Giants.

New York Giants

 

The New York Giants have been in clear rebuilding mode over the last three years going 12-36 in that stretch. After the last two seasons of failure, the Giants made the decision to fire Pat Shurmur and his staff and hire Joe Judge to be the newest coach of the team. Despite their poor record in the Shurmur tenure, the Giants have had a few bright spots in that time, the biggest one being star running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley has reeled off two consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons and has established himself as one of the best players in fantasy leagues. Rookies Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton also had promising starts to their careers in their rookie years in 2019, and will be key pieces in the Giants rebuild.

The Giants are not positioned to win a Super Bowl this year, but their goal is to see more development from their young stars and hover around a .500 record. Jones will be the starting QB right from the get-go of the season with the retirement of Eli Manning. Slayton, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard will be the three starting receivers for the Giants offense. Barkley will be their bell-cow back with some Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman sprinkled in when Barkley needs a break. Evan Engram is the starting tight end and will have an opportunity to bounce back after a 2019 season where he was a major fantasy bust. There are some good pieces here, and plenty of hope that new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett can keep the offense trending upward.

Quarterback

 

Daniel Jones

ADP: 125, QB15

Daniel Jones was a bit of a mixed bag in 2019. In just 12 starts (13 games) he threw for 3027 yards, rushed 45 times for 279 rushing yards (6.2 YPC), and scored 26 touchdowns (24 passing). However, Jones has some major issues with turnovers. Last season Jones fumbled 18 times (11 lost) which led the NFL. Jones also threw 12 interceptions, which doesn’t seem too bad for a rookie. But 6.32% of his pass attempts last year were categorized as interceptable while he only threw interceptions on 2.61% of his pass attempts. He’ll need to improve his decision making to reach his ceiling in 2020.

 

Best Case Scenario

Jones cleans up the turnovers and with his rushing production turns into a better version of Bills QB Josh Allen in 2020. He nearly takes the New York Giants to the playoffs.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Opposing teams capitalize on Jones’s risky decision-making and with Jameis Winston as a backup on the New Orleans Saints now, leads the league in turnovers as the Giants stumble to another losing record.

 

2020 Projection: 585 attempts, 350 completions, 3750 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 18 interceptions; 55 rushes, 350 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns

 

Running Back

 

Saquon Barkley

ADP: 2.3, RB2

Saquon Barkley has been a generational talent in his first two years in the league with 215+ carries, 1000+ yards rushing, 70+ targets, 50+ receptions, and 400+ receiving yards in each of his first two seasons of his career. While his sophomore year wasn’t quite as good as his rookie year, he managed some great numbers despite missing 3 games and dealing with a severe ankle injury. This season, he will once again be the bell-cow for the Giants and should have an improved line with the Giants’ decision to draft Andrew Thomas fourth overall.

 

Best Case Scenario

Saquon has a season for the ages running behind an improved offensive line, breaking the 2000 yard rushing barrier and helping the Giants squeak into the last wild card slot.

 

Worst Case Scenario

The line is banged up and Saquon suffers another injury that nags him all season long, and only ends up with 1300 yards from scrimmage.

 

2020 Projections: 280 carries, 1500 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns; 75 targets, 55 receptions, 400 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

 

Dion Lewis

ADP: 233, RB80

Dion Lewis has had an up and down career. He first broke out in 2015 for the New England Patriots where he took 85 touches for 622 yards before suffering an injury after just seven games. Since then he’s had another injury-plagued season in 2016, a strong 2017 season where he had over 1100 yards from scrimmage and scored 9 touchdowns, and then two less than stellar years for the Titans in 2018 and 2019. Now a Giant, he’ll be the primary change-of-pace back for when Barkley needs a breather.

 

Best Case Scenario

Lewis is a serviceable change-of-pace back and even steps in for Barkley for a few games, keeping the run game honest and showing flashes of his ability from his days with the New England Patriots.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Lewis plays in a few games early but fails to crack 4.0 YPC, while Gallman plays much better and takes the #2 role.

 

2020 Projections: 35 carries, 110 rushing yards; 30 targets, 23 receptions, 140 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver

 

Sterling Shepard

ADP: 131.2, WR50

Sterling Shepard has been around for a while and he’s been consistently solid with 80+ targets, 55+ receptions, and 575+ receiving yards in each of his first four years. A versatile receiver who can be moved around anywhere playing 40.1% of his 92.5% of snaps in the slot in 2019, he has always had the potential to be a 1,000-yard receiver. But last year he struggled with concussions and watched 5th round draft pick Slayton emerge, creating more competition than we would have expected heading into the 2019 season. In 2020, he’ll have to prove that he can stay on the field in order to reach his ceiling, while battling with Barkley, Tate, Slayton, and Engram for targets.

 

Best Case Scenario

Shepard cements himself as Jones’s most trustworthy weapon, receiving the most targets and being moved across the formation in a variety of ways. He settles in as a dependable PPR receiver and puts his injury issues behind him.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Shepard’s concussion issues flare-up again this season, allowing him to appear in less than 10 games while he is surpassed by healthy options around him.

 

2020 Projections: 110 targets, 70 receptions, 850 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

 

Darius Slayton

ADP: 102.4, WR41

Darius Slayton enjoyed a strong rookie campaign where he caught 48 passes for 740 receiving yards (5th among WR’s in the 2019 draft class) and scored 8 touchdowns (2nd among WR’s in the 2019 draft class). The 6’1” receiver is best as the Giants outside receiver, playing only 4.5% of his snaps in the slot (79.4% snap share in general), and will have a real opportunity to emerge as one of the best young receivers in the league in 2020. With Tate and Shepard best utilized in the slot, Slayton has a specific role to fill on the Giants that should keep him on the field often.

 

Best Case Scenario

Slayton builds off his 2019 campaign and goes for over 1000 receiving yards, establishing himself as Daniel Jones’ go-to guy. His big-play ability continues, and he maintains his touchdown scoring ability from his rookie year.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Slayton’s production in 2019 was primarily due to time missed by the rest of the receiving corps, and he is the fifth most targeted player on the roster behind Tate, Shepard, Engram, and Barkley. His rookie year looks more like a flash in the pan than a sign of things to come.

 

2020 Projections: 110 targets, 60 receptions, 810 receiving yards, 7 receiving touchdowns

 

Golden Tate

ADP: 154.5, WR58

The primary slot receiver for the Giants is Golden Tate, who played 73.6% of his 90.2% snap share in the slot last season. Tate has been one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL throughout his career, with a four-year stretch from 2014-2017 where he had 90+ receptions and averaged over 1000 receiving yards per season during this time. The last two seasons haven’t been quite as good for Tate as he’s been on three different teams in that timeframe (Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants), but the good news is that this offseason he’ll be working with the same quarterback as last season with Jones. While Tate doesn’t project as a big-play receiver or a touchdown scorer, he can provide a safe weekly floor late in fantasy drafts for owners that took high-risk wide-outs early in drafts.

 

Best Case Scenario

Tate is Jones’s safety valve in the slot, Shepard struggles with injuries, and the Giants are pass-heavy while playing from behind often in a losing season. Tate catches 90+ passes for over 1000 receiving yards.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Tate’s age catches up to him. His play falls off a cliff and he is unable to be a reliable receiving threat for Jones, with a healthy Shepard looking like the superior option. Jones’s play falls off, and Tate is off fantasy radars in 2021.

 

2020 Projections: 110 targets, 65 receptions, 750 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

 

Tight End

 

Evan Engram 

ADP: 76.9, TE7

Evan Engram was pegged as the next breakout tight-end last season, but his 2019 season didn’t go as planned as he struggled with injury and only appeared in 8 games. The potential has always been there for Engram to be great with 153 career receptions in just 34 games (4.5 receptions per game). Now set to be 26 years old in September, the 6’3” Engram has the physical talent to be the Giants’ most dangerous receiving threat, but he’ll need to stay healthy and build upon the connection he developed with Jones last season. A true boom/bust option, Engram could finish as a top-three tight end but just as easily suffer through another injury-shortened season.

 

Best Case Scenario

Engram plays well enough to insert himself into the same conversation as Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz for fantasy purposes, breaking the 1,000 yard receiving mark and playing in all 16 games for the first time in his career.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Engram struggles with injuries once again and turns into the next Jordan Reed, a player with all the talent in the world that just can’t stay healthy. The Giants miss the playoffs and acquire a more reliable tight-end for the 2021 season.

 

2020 Projections: 105 targets, 60 receptions, 625 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

 

 

Photo by Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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