The New York Giants were a textbook definition of the term “ups and downs” for 2014. A new offensive coordinator and system were introduced and you could say there were some growing pains. It was noticeable, at times, that the inefficiency of the offense was simply due to miscommunication of routes and adjustments. Add in the loss of Victor Cruz (torn Patellar tendon) and a merry-go-round on the offensive line, and it’s easy to see why the Giants had some hiccups on offense.
But we all took notice in week four with the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. He literally carried the offense and made it at least somewhat dangerous. Given an understanding of the offense now, coupled with the return of Cruz and a more stable offensive line, the Giants look to be pretty dangerous in 2015.
QB – Eli Manning
This guy has VALUE written all over him this year. What’s not to like are his INT’s. Those are negative points and nobody likes those. But Eli has too much going for him in this offense and he is being drafted much later than his true value suggests. He has the weapons at WR with Beckham, Cruz and Randle. He’s also added Shane Vereen to the backfield, who figures to be a productive 3rd down pass catching threat. Having Cruz and Beckham together with a safety blanket in Vereen gives Eli solid weapons at all options.
Eli has never missed a start for the Giants. He throws for between 4500 and 5000 yards on average per year. Barring any injuries, Eli should have one of his best seasons. Do not be afraid to draft him. He’s got plenty of upside, tons of weapons and you can rely on his durability to be there every single week to produce.
RB – Rashad Jennings
Jennings will be the feature back for the Giants in an offense that will more than likely be pass first. It’s not to knock on Jennings but the true weapons are on the outside at WR. And this could help Jennings in theory. Defenses will have to be concerned first with Beckham and Cruz. That should open things up a little more for Jennings and the running game. He will get opportunities but Andre Williams will vulture some goal line touches and Shane Vereen will take third down duties. Jennings’ touches will probably be around 15 a game but he’ll be decent RB2 and nothing more.
RB – Andre Williams
Williams is in his second season and showed some promise after last year. He also bulked up and has been impressive since the start of training camp. He’s noted as a guy that will probably get a lot of touches inside the goal line so his value is mainly in TD’s. He’s also a very good and powerful runner inside the tackles which is symbolic of Giants’ football. He’s going to get opportunities and if Jennings were to go down his value would skyrocket. He’s no more than a decent flex guy at this point.
RB – Shane Vereen
Vereen comes over from the Patriots and adds the threat Eli Manning has never truly had. Vereen has been very productive as a third down pass catching back and role guy for the Patriots. He’ll add depth and experience at the RB position that has been a sore spot for the Giants the past few years. His value will be in a PPR league as a flex guy and should see a good amount of touches per game. The Giants are definitely going to use him but how much is the true question and what determines his value.
WR – Odell Beckham Jr.
STUD! Just set him and forget him (except his bye for week 11….though he might somehow find a way to even put points up then). One of the absolute beasts at the WR position in the NFL. You already know about this guy and how explosive and athletic he is. What needs to be noted is how the offense will work with Cruz back in the mix. Does this hurt or help Beckham? I just don’t see how you can keep this guy down. I think he’ll put up the same numbers as last year, 91/1305/12. Difference is that he’ll do this in a 16 game season and not 12 like last year without Cruz. These two are going to complement each other extremely well. Beckham is being drafted around picks 9-15. I would take him even at 5 but that range seems logical in your draft.
WR – Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz comes back to and offense after a season ending injury last season. All things look good for his return but only true game action can determine how healthy he really is. The other big question is whether the emergence of Beckham will hurt his production in the offense. You’d have to think so but I don’t see a drastic drop. Cruz will still be a top option but you’ll have to rely more of him breaking plays for TD’s rather than the bombs and go-routes Beckham is more likely to receive.
He’s being valued as a WR3 right now and being drafted as so. That simply comes from the injury last season and not knowing how he’ll bounce back. I’m confident that Cruz will end the year with strong WR2 numbers; making him a good value pick and maybe a steal in your draft this year.
WR – Rueben Randle
Yes….there is another guy that will play at WR for the Giants. Randle has been hit or miss for the Giants . Somewhat inconsistent at times. He has shown great athletic ability and decent YAC (yards after catch). He’s good size with good hands but his decision making at times on routes has had Eli Manning obviously frustrated at times. If Randle can get a comfortable grasp on this offense and earn Manning’s trust he could be a very nice WR3. But until then, he’ll be on the waiver wire and a guy to plug in only as a flex or bye week need.
WR – James Jones
Yup…..it’s that James Jones. This guy was a hot pickup a few years back when he made a splash with the Packers. He then did a stint with the bumbling Raiders and was so so. His role with the Giants will be interesting. Have to see in the early weeks how often he gets on the field given the Giants’ depth at WR but his size suggests he would be a goal line jump ball guy. If he’s stealing redzone TD’s that makes him somewhat valuable but nothing more. Couldn’t see him getting any higher than a decent flex play on a given week.
TE – Larry Donnell
Last season, Donnell had 63/623/6. First glance you’d say not too bad and maybe consider him as a decent TE option. However, remember the game against Washington? He had 7 receptions and 3 TD’s? Then he was a waiver wire monster only to fade away. Don’t let his numbers deceive you. He was extremely inconsistent last year. This offense is one that begs for a TE to flourish with opportunity over the middle and it just hasn’t happened with him. Daniel Fells will be competing for the TE position as well and brings a little more experience. Donnell will be nothing more than a bye week fill in a good matchup. And be wary of the breakout game and fade away like last year.
TE – Daniel Fells
Currently tops at TE for the Giants on the depth chart. He had limited play last year as I think even the Giants fell for the Larry Donnell game against Washington. The TE position is screaming to be solidified. Can Fells be the guy? I think so but I think the Giants are going to use Donnell and Fells pretty equal in reps. There’s no true value here yet.
The defensive prodigal son Steve Spagnuolo has returned to the Giants as defensive coordinator. He’s very good at getting a pass rush scheme together but the Giants have some issues on defense. Will Pierre-Paul be as effective after losing fingers in the offseason? The linebackers are still a mediocre bunch and the secondary seemingly has a rotating schedule in the infirmary. Defensively, the Giants have been a misfit bunch the past few years; even being pathetic against the run which has typically been a staple of Giants football. Spags can rally a defensive group and motivate but I’m not sure how good this defense will really be. I’m less optimistic.
The New York Giants seem to be a team that looks great on offense but putrid on defense. That could be a good thing for fantasy owners of Giants’ offensive players. They will probably have to sling the ball around and come from behind in a ton of games this year.