Despite the fact that there are many NFL and fantasy football fans who pick over offseason news with a fine-tooth comb, we understand that there are still a lot of you out there who simply don't have time to keep up with player movements or the happenings of each team. That's why yours truly is here to give you the lowdown on the recent 2014 news of each team, both AFC and NFC and how it impacts your fantasy football league/team.
I thought I would do something a little bit different this time. Instead of loading up information on all four teams from each division in one article, I'd like to break down each team in each division for the NFC. I started my journey with Tony Romo and the fantasy value of the Cowboys on Tuesday. Today, let's take a look at the Giants and see what changes they made coming off a disappointing 7-9 2013 season.
Part One: the AFC East
Part Two: the AFC North
Part Three: the AFC South
Part Four: the AFC West
New York Giants
Not counting his rookie season, 2013 was the first time QB Eli Manning actually threw more picks than touchdowns, having thrown a whopping 27 interceptions to 18 touchdowns. The 18:37 TD:INT ratio was essentially the worst percentage of his career, again discounting his 2004 rookie season. There's been a lot of rumblings as to whether or not Manning is slowly starting to become more of a liability than an asset.
So far, the Giants organization has made no effort to work on a new deal with Manning because of the belief that Manning is entering the declining stage of his career. Having just turned 33, there is definitely a lot of truth to that. The Giants fired long-time OC Kevin Gilbride and hired former Packers assistant Ben McAdoo in the hopes he can squeeze just a little bit more out of Manning as the team looks for his successor.
In regards to fantasy production, Manning can no longer be considered a QB1. Manning was viewed as a high-end QB2 (No. 13 overall) in 2013, per My Fantasy League's ADP list. Looking at Manning's ADP for 2014, he's dipped all the way down to a borderline QB3. With a shaky offensive line, the loss of WR Hakeem Nicks and a very questionable backfield, Eli will find his value sliding as we get closer to the regular season. Some owners might think the contract year will give Manning some incentive, but don't count on it. Personally, I'd rather pass on Manning entirely as the passing game sorts itself out under a new offense.
The running game was the Achilles heel for the offense in 2013. Will 2014 be any better? Former Jaguar and Raider RB Rashad Jennings is now at the front of the line as he is taking the first-team reps at OTAs. Jennings on the surface might not look all that appetizing as a lead runner. But he holds a 4.5 ypc average after carrying the ball 387 times in four years. His ability to catch passes and his pass-blocking ability gives him a clear edge over David Wilson, who panned out miserably in 2013. Jennings might not be a flashy name in the fantasy football world, but he could surprise enough as a borderline RB2 in PPR leagues. Peyton Hillis is currently the No. 2 guy, but it's believedhis spot is in jeopardy after the team drafted RB Andre Williams.
David Wilson is still in the mix. But as of June 4, he has still been unable to gain medical clearance to practice coming off neck surgery. Wilson, at full health, has some upside, but he is no lock for a solid amount of snaps after his disaster of a 2013 in which he lost two fumbles in just five games. If Wilson can't participate at the start of training camp, this will open up an opportunity for rookie Williams. If anything, Williams is a decent sleeper option if Jennings fails to hold onto the starting job, and is also a second-round talent in dynasty leagues.
To sum things up in regards to fantasy value, Jennings is the only guy worth a dime out of this mish mash of players. Past Jennings, the team could go RBBC in the hopes that Jennings can last the entire year. If not, the team is in just as much trouble as it was in 2013.
Before the draft, most experts predicted Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle as the 1 and 2 receivers in the passing game. A lot of that has changed over the past several months though. Before the NFL Draft, Cruz went on record as saying that the team wasn't sold on Randle as the new X receiver. The draft shook things up even more after New York used their No. 12 overall pick on LSU WR Odell Beckham, who was considered the best route runner in the draft.
All is not lost with Randle's fantasy value, however. The Giants are reportedly running three receiver base sets "on almost every play" in OTAs. This should mean all three receivers will have some sort of fantasy value going into the season. Cruz's fantasy status is obviously safe as he figures to man the slot for a majority of the snaps. Randle and Beckham will play on the outside to stretch the field.
The Giants will run the same three-receiver offense as the Packers. Cruz will take on the "Randall Cobb" roll and play as the inside receiver. Cobb caught 80 passes in 2012, but missed 11 games last year due to a leg injury. Randle and Beckham will act as the "James Jones (59 catches) and Jordy Nelson (85 catches)" of the Packers' 2013 offense. With so much talent between all three New York receivers, there should be plenty of balls to go around. Which, as I stated above, makes all three redraft worthy. Cruz is the No. 1 player to pick up, while Randle has the edge over Beckham due to experience. Beckham will be dynasty gold all summer and shouldn't last past the first round.
TE Adrien Robinson has done nothing by way of stats as he has served as a reserve behind Brandon Myers in 2013 and Martellus Bennett in 2012. Robinson has been impressive in OTAs, but most players look good until the pads and helmets go on. Leave Robinson on the waiver wire until we see how he looks in the first few weeks of the season. With Cruz, Randle and Beckham hogging catches, Robinson could be the odd-man out in the passing game.