Friday, March 21, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Just a fantasy
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
After a dizzying early portion of the week, things have hit a bit of a lull with New York Giants news over the past couple of days. While perusing our site I happened to notice Christopher Harris has put out a set of fantasy football rankings based off the league-wide free-agent activity so far. Yes, fantasy football six months before the season starts. Anybody who knows me knows I love it.
So here's a look at where various Giants players fall in Christopher's rankings, which I imagine are at least somewhat subject to change between now and September:
QB: Eli Manning, No. 21. Yeah, one spot ahead of the Rams' Sam Bradford and two spots ahead of Michael Vick, who is not even on a team yet. Yet, this is not an ungenerous ranking. Manning finished 21st in quarterback scoring (just behind Geno Smith!) in his 27-interception 2013 season, and his roster currently includes no viable tight end and only one receiver who has ever caught more than 60 passes in a season. He could be easy to get and could represent strong value if he bounces back, as he has before. But he's going to be a tough guy to count on for fantasy numbers.
RB: Rashad Jennings, No. 23. Again, just ahead of a guy (Knowshon Moreno) who is currently unemployed. No respect, right? Jennings finished 22nd in running back scoring in 2013 in Oakland, and he didn't even have the job for the full season. I actually think Jennings could be the back who leads the Giants in carries in 2014. But there is no way to know that from this far out, and as a fantasy player I tend to stay away from Giants running backs anyway because of the unreliable manner in which Tom Coughlin distributes carries. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is a factor here as well, but he comes form Green Bay, where recent history hasn't exactly produced too many star fantasy running backs.
RB: David Wilson, No. 45. If he's healthy and has a big preseason, you're going to hear a lot of the same stuff you heard last summer about his big-play potential and how he can win you matchups by himself with one big run. And that's all true. But like the Giants, you're going to want to see it before you believe it with this guy.
WR: Victor Cruz, No. 19. Yeah, I mean, this is the state of the Giants' offense, right? Cruz finished 28th in wide receiver scoring in 2013, catching only four touchdown passes all season as he played under constant double-teams because of the lack of a threat posed by a loafing Hakeem Nicks. As currently constructed, the Giants' roster offers no other receiving options that would draw the extra coverage away from Cruz. Until they add something exciting on the outside, I don't imagine he's got a chance to rise back to his once-elite fantasy level in anyone's preseason rankings. But if it makes you feel any better, Christopher ranked Nicks, who is now with the Colts, No. 42.
WR: Rueben Randle, No. 36. We'll see. Everybody loved him last year, too, but he didn't break out as a fantasy scorer in spite of six touchdown catches. He's still developing, and he could get a great opportunity. But this seems high to me without seeing any more than we've seen.
WR: Jerrel Jernigan, No. 66. I think he's still best suited as Cruz's backup in the slot, but his strong showing late in the 2013 season could encourage the Giants to give him more chances, and McAdoo could have some cool new plan for him that we don't know about yet.
TE: Adrien Robinson, No. 40. But I'll betcha if they draft that Eric Ebron kid out of North Carolina they throw him into the top 10. I'll betcha.
K: Josh Brown, No. 26. You just can't draft a fantasy kicker on an offense that doesn't score. Brown had some big games last season, but still only finished 27th in kicker scoring.
Team defense/special teams, No. 14. They were No. 16 in fantasy scoring last season and have added two dynamic return men in Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday. But I think what holds them back in a team defense ranking are questions about where the sacks will come from.