This is an installment of a weekly presentation of each NFL team’s top fantasy players by position. This analysis we will feature the New York Giants (check out the RedraftHero team page) and their high powered offense. Check out our analysis on the New England Patriots.
With these articles you will find a player from each key position to target in fantasy football. The lists will consist as to why they are chosen as the top player for their respective positions and teams, players poised to breakout or as sleepers, 2pt specialists and a new format based off of individual defensive players.
The New York Giants (6-10 record & third in the NFC East) after winning all four of their preseason games, went 3-2, then lost seven straight games in the middle of the season. The biggest story for the Giants last season, started with the loss of Victor Cruz to a knee injury, and the passing of the torch with the superstar emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham quickly became one of the most explosive players in the NFL last season, and helped overshadow the team’s win-loss record. The Giants, with all of their success on offense, they struggled on the defensive side of the ball. They have not been to the playoffs since the franchise won the Super Bowl back during the 2011 season.
QB Eli Manning: Eli bounced back and had a top 10 fantasy season last year. Eli was able to adjust easily when Victor Cruz went down last year with superstar rookie Odell Beckham Jr. who blew up and became the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Eli was able to throw 30 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions compared to his 18 touchdowns and league leading 27 interceptions. With the emergence of Beckham and Larry Donnell, Eli was able to spread the ball around and be more effective than he has been in years past. Although I would not rank Eli in the top 10 for fantasy QB’s this season, he is a sure fire top 15, especially if Victor Cruz can get back to full speed.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.: The Offensive Rookie of the Year and 2016 Madden cover winner took the NFL by storm with this The Catch one handed catch and his phenomenal play as a rookie. After missing most of training camp, preseason and the first four games of the season, Beckham came out of the gates on all cylinders. Playing in only 12 games, Beckham still managed to be the fifth ranked fantasy receiver last year. With the loss of Cruz, Beckham is the one who stood up and took over as the number one receiver. Now, headed into the 2015 season, Beckham looks to have a target on his back, but that tends to come with the territory after the type of season he had. I fully expect him to be a top 10 fantasy receiver, with top five ability, and for him to continue to only get better as his career continues to blossom.
RB Rashad Jennings: Jennings was brought in as one of the top free agent running backs last season, after spending his first four seasons in Jacksonville and Oakland. Jennings had a tough first season in the “Big Apple” where he could not stay healthy and only played in 11 games. In those 11 games, Jennings still managed to be the 30th ranked fantasy back, but did give way to rookie teammate Andre Williams. Headed into this season, Jennings is listed as the team’s starting back, and should see majority of the carries. In terms of fantasy, I would not get overly excited about Jennings, but he should be a solid number two or flex option on your roster.
TE Larry Donnell: The former undrafted free agent out of Grambling, Donnell surprised the NFL with his three touchdown performance against the Redskins in week four. Overall, Donnell became another go to target for Manning to rely on when Cruz went down. Donnell ended last season as the 12th ranked fantasy tight end, posting career highs in receptions (63), yards (623), and touchdowns (six). This coming season, Donnell is not a high end fantasy tight end in any format, but should be a player to keep an eye on for flex positions or fill in for your injured or bye week tight end.
WR Victor Cruz: Cruz went down last season with a horrific knee injury, where he tore his patellar tendon. It is said to be that tearing your patellar tendon is worse, and harder to return from than tearing your ACL. After almost three straight 1,000 yard seasons, (2013 Cruz had 998 yards) Cruz was on his way to pushing for another 1,000 yard season before his injury. It will be tough for Cruz to come back from his knee injury and to be even close to the playmaker he was before, but it is possible. If he can return to his form, at the age of 28, Cruz could be looking at a potential Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He is someone I would try and avoid in fantasy leagues, but he is someone to keep an eye, whether stashing him on your bench or as a target to watch.
LB Jameel McClain: McClain’s first season in the “Big Apple” was by far his best. With two and a half sacks, eight tackles for loss and 116 total tackles, McClain was the 26th ranked IDP linebacker. With Jason Pierre-Paul and Jon Beason, both in jeopardy for week one and longer, the weight falls to McClain to make up for their loss. In IDP formats, McClain, will be an unknown commodity, but he should be on a list of linebackers to have this coming season.
LB Jon Beason: Although, Beason, who is in jeopardy of playing week one, He should be back soon. When healthy, he is the team’s leader and plays as the quarterback of the defense. I do not expect Beason to be a top tier IDP linebacker this season, I do expect him to compete for the team lead in tackles.
DL Jonathan Hankins: The former Ohio State Buckeye did close to nothing as a rookie, but last season took a big leap forward in his progression. Last season, Hankins, totaled 51 tackles, eight tackles for loss and seven sacks. Those numbers helped Hankins become the 29th ranked IDP defensive lineman. I expect Hankins to be one of the big breakout stars on defense this season, and for him to take a jump into the top 15 at his position.
S Landon Collins: Collins, the former Alabama standout, was expected to be a first round pick. Collins fell to the second round, but the Giants traded up to make sure they got one of the best safeties in the draft. With Collins, the Giants get the playmaking safety they lost when Antrel Rolle left via free agency. I expect Collins to transition quickly to the NFL’s speed and physicality and prove that he should have been a first round pick.
CB Prince Amukamara: He was having a career year with three interceptions through eight games, before he was lost for the season due to injury. Amukamara has shown a lot of promise for the Giants, but in his four NFL seasons, he has only played one full season without injury. If he can manage to stay healthy for the season, Amukamara has a chance to be a pro bowl caliber corner, and should be considered a sleeper in IDP formats.
K Josh Brown: The journeyman kicker has played for four different teams in his 11-year career. Brown had a solid season last year, converting 24 out of 26 field goals and all 44 of his extra points. As the 16th ranked kicker in fantasy last season, I expect him to take a dip in overall production this season, especially with the extra point line being pushed back.
2Pt Specialist: With the extra point line being pushed back to the 15-yard line teams might consider going for two after touchdowns this coming season. Some of the key players to look for the Giants to rely on in these situations are tight end Larry Donnell, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and second year running back Andre Williams. With Donnell, the Giants have a big bodied tight end that can create a mismatch in the red zone. Beckham, provides the whole package on offense or the Giants. He may not be the biggest receiver, but with his speed and leaping ability he can win on any level. Lastly, Andre Williams, the bruising/ hard nosed runner. Williams, should be the short yardage back that the Giants will utilize in these type of situations.
Rookie Impact: As rookies go, the Giants only have two players that they will rely on this season. First round offensive tackle, Ereck Flowers, was brought in to be the primary right tackle for the near future until he was ready to move to the left side. With the injury to Will Beatty, Flowers is forced to the left side of the line early on, but it should be a good test for him. The only other rookie who should impact the Giants this season is safety Landon Collins. Collins is penciled in as the starting safety, who should be a playmaker on the backend of the defense. Both rookies are expected to play key roles for the Giants, and will be important pieces to the team’s success.
The offseason was a quiet one for the Giants, until the Fourth of July weekend. Jason Pierre-Paul had a fireworks accident, and ended up having to have his index finger amputated. After finally reporting to the Giants team facilities today, Pierre-Paul has since gone home to continue to heal, and has yet to sign his franchise tag. In other news, the Giants have high hopes for this season, with Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and a recovering Victor Cruz leading the way on offense. The defensive side of the ball has the biggest question marks, with the loss of Pierre-Paul, injured Jon Beason and the unknowns at safety and defensive line not named Jonathan Hankins. Although, the Giants will not be the worst team in their division, I do not see them as being better than the Eagles or the Cowboys.
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