Stealing the show in New York over the past couple of seasons has been the standout play-making skills of star wide receiver, Odell Beckham. Whether he’s making one of his signature one-handed catches or just taking a simple screen pass to the house, the fact of the matter is that OBJ comes into 2016 with a legitimate case to be the top pick in your fantasy draft.
Often grouped together with other elites such as Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, Beckham comes in as our #2 WR and #3 overall fantasy player on our Preseason Rankings. Beckham followed up his standout rookie season with an even more stellar season this past year as he came in as the 5th fantasy WR as he caught 96 balls for 1,450 yards and 12 TDs – expect similar production this season.
Beckham should not escape the top four on your fantasy draft board. Elite WRs don’t grow on trees. If given the chance, snag ODB, Brown or Jones – that’s my early draft strategy.
Always known as a pass heavy team, the New York Giants will continue to carry out that tradition under new head coach Ben McAdoo. My top rookie behind only Ezekiel Elliott, 2nd round pick Sterling Shepard finds himself in a tremendous situation with the New York Giants. A do-it-all receiver at Oklahoma, Shepard is well-polished and ready to make an instant impact in the NFL. Whether the Giants plan on using him in the slot or on the outside, Shepard will produce. My early projection for the rookie is upwards of 50-60 catches for 700+ yards with 4-5 TDs.
Currently with an ADP of 10.01, Shepard has fair value, however, I’d personally take him a bit higher. If Victor Cruz fails to return to full health, that will lead to even more opportunities for Shepard.
Speaking of Victor Cruz, the 7th year veteran missed all of 2015 after suffering a knee injury during the 2014 season. If it’s any indication of his 2016 production, before his injury, Cruz was averaging roughly 5 catches per contest with 67 receiving yards per game with just one score – decent numbers, but not what we grew accustomed to seeing in years prior.
Currently going in the 11th round, I would hold off on drafting Cruz. You don’t know how he’ll comeback after a severe injury. Plus, Shepard will steal some targets and I highly doubt Cruz will break even 600 yards this season. He’s worth a look at the tail-end of your fantasy draft based on upside, or more-so the uncertainty, but I wouldn’t expect much.
Another guy to look for in the WR corps is Dwayne Harris. The former Cowboy enjoyed a solid debut season with the Giants as a steady contributor. He came up just short of 400 receiving yards, but added 4 TDs. If an injury were to happen in front of him, he’d be the next man up and a possible waiver-wire option at some point this season. Roger Lewis is the dynasty sleeper – the undrafted rookie is coming off a highly productive career at Bowling Green.
At tight end, the Giants always seem to have someone who produces. However, there’s a trio of guys who could see spotty production throughout the season. My favorite of the group is 6th round pick Jerell Adams.
While it may take half of the season or so for him to be incorporated into the offense on a consistent basis, he carries the most upside of any TE on the roster. His combination of size and athleticism makes him a lethal receiving threat – particularly in the redzone. Not worth drafting, but he’s a guy who could emerge as the season progresses. Definitely worth a look in dynasty leagues.
Will Tye led Giant TEs in receiving last season with 464 yards and 4 TDs as a rookie. The injury to Larry Donnell opened the door for Tye as Donnell missed half the season. Donnell came on strong in 2014 as a fantasy contributor with his 623 receiving yards and 6 TDs, although his 4 lost fumbles jump out at you as well. Donnell’s 6’6”/265 frame make him the go-to guy in the redzone, although he may be limited to just that vicinity of the field as his career yards per catch of 9.2 isn’t anything to write home about.
While neither should be touched with a draft pick both Tye and Donnell can serve as solid ‘bye week saviors’ – it all comes down to who has the hot hand at the time and of course the matchup for that specific week. Don’t forget about Adams, he should see an expanded role as the season moves forward and be able to make a steady impact.
Now we shift our focus to the Giants backfield where Rashad Jennings leads the charge. Without a doubt the feature back in New York’s offense, Jennings presents fantasy value based solely on workload. Last season he led the team in rushing with over 800 yards, but scored just 3 TDs on the ground; although, he chipped in with an extra near 300 yards and another TD in the receiving game as he finished just outside the top 20 among fantasy RBs. Jennings is the starter, but he finds himself in a crowded backfield which features the likes of Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa and rookie Paul Perkins. With an ADP of 8.05 for Jennings, is he worth a pick that high? Or even a pick all together. Christian Kirchner doesn’t think so as you can see below.
@JonValencia_WiB None of the RB’s are draftable in my opinion. If anything I’ll try to trade for Perkins or pick him up later in the season.
— Christian Kirchner (@ChrisKirchnerFF) July 10, 2016
After Jennings, I like Shane Vereen – especially in PPR formats. The change-of-pace back accumulated nearly 500 receiving yards last season out of the backfield, 6th among RBs in 2015. Definitely worth a look in PPR leagues, but not in standard. Andre Williams stumbled to a 2.9 yards per rush average last season – his snaps will be significantly cut due to the drafting of Paul Perkins. Like Adams, Perkins is another rookie the Giants got later on in the draft in a great value pick. As it tends to go with rookies, Perkins could emerge later on in the season and be worth holding a roster spot as he’ll have fresh legs compared to a guy like Jennings. Other than Jennings, Perkins is the lone Giants RB getting drafted with a 14.01 ADP. He just may be worth it if you don’t mind stashing him on your bench for the majority of season’s beginning. Darkwa is the dark horse of the group despite a late emergence last season – although not much should be expected from him considering his place on the depth chart and who’s in front of him.
Now we go under center where Eli Manning is coming off the best season of his career. Last season he threw for 4,436 yards with a career high 35 TDs. He and OBJ have surely established a sound rapport which translates into fantasy points. The added weapons into the offense and appointment of Ben McAdoo will help his case. Manning is a volume performer at QB and is a reliable starting fantasy QB. With Beckham, Shepard, a healthy Cruz and what looks like a more reliable running game, he’s in for another big year. While his ADP of 8.02 is fair value, you may be better off at looking at Carson Palmer who is also in that range, or waiting on guys like Philip Rivers, Derek Carr or Tony Romo in the next round or two. Regardless, he will put up similar production like he did last season. Plus, he has reliable durability so you know he’ll be good-to-go week in, week out.
Recapping the Giants, Odell Beckham is and will be for quite sometime a fantasy stud – take him early if you get the chance. I have very high hopes for Sterling Shepard and project him as the 2nd overall rookie this season. Don’t expect much from Cruz, but if he’s hanging around in the final rounds, take a flyer on him – he can always be moved for decent value. Rashad Jennings in the 8th round is too early, but if you find him in the double-digit range, pull the trigger as he’ll see a good amount of carries early on in the season – look to sell high on him after a big performance as I expect a decrease in snaps as the season goes on. Shane Vereen could be a nice PPR piece. Paul Perkins will only gain more value throughout the season, look to pick him up before someone else does.
*All ADP according to Fantasy Football Calculator and 12 team standard format