Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Early fantasy rankings of Giants players
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
Because I love fantasy football, and because I persist in believing a subset of my readership loves it too, I sometimes do fantasy posts. This is one of them.
The first edition of our 2014 ESPN fantasy football rankings is out, and here's a look at where New York Giants players fall in those rankings. Click on the name of the position to see the full list of rankings for that position.
Not as bad as I thought it would be after last year's 27 interceptions. Manning's ahead of Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco and couple of other interesting names. Most interesting to me, however, is the fact that they ranked Freeman at all. Manning hasn't missed a game since 2004. Yes, he rehabbing an ankle injury right now and is likely to miss some offseason workout time. But it's still a stretch to imagine him missing regular-season games.
We discussed this a bit last week. The issue is the murkiness of the situation. Giants running backs aren't usually reliable in fantasy anyway, due to the unreliable nature of the way the Giants use their running backs. And Wilson hasn't yet been cleared for contact following his neck surgery, so we don't know whether he'll play at all. If he's not cleared, I imagine Jennings moves up the list significantly, because he's likely to get the bulk of the carries. Williams would move up some too (though Peyton Hillis is still ahead of him on the depth chart). If Wilson is in the picture, that's a positive for the Giants but not helpful to those trying to figure out how to deploy Giants as fantasy running backs.
Victor Cruz is the highest-rated Giant at No. 43 in the ranking of the top 200 fantasy players.
I'm going to say it's going to be tough for Manning to be the No. 18 quarterback if Randle and Beckham produce at No. 50 and No. 65 levels at wide receiver. But from this distance, not knowing how soon Beckham will be ready to be a reliable contributor, the ranks are fair. The Giants hope Beckham can emerge quickly as an outside threat in their passing game, and they hope Randle can make a big jump from Year 2 to Year 3. But they don't know, and no one knows how the new offense is going to work. If it runs smoothly, I think Cruz can have a bigger year than this ranking indicates. But after watching the Giants' offense last year, it's hard to blame anyone for waiting to see.
No Giants tight end was ranked in the top 30. Adrien Robinson is the front-runner right now for starting tight end, and undrafted rookie Xavier Grimble might be able to play his way into the picture along with Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis. It's an uninspiring group for fantasy purposes. Robinson said Tuesday that the new offense offers the tight ends more opportunities to catch the ball, but at this point it's impossible to know who'll be doing the catching. For those holding out hope, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is still a free agent and is ranked No. 23 on this list in spite of not currently having a team.
Seems a tad low, especially when you factor in the work they did to improve their options in the return game with Beckham and free agents Trindon Holliday and Quintin Demps. But return touchdowns are a tough thing on which to rely. The Giants' defense was a middle-of-the-road unit last year in terms of forcing turnovers, and only five teams had fewer sacks. And their sack leader from last year is now on the Raiders. The Giants may have a solid defense, but it's tough to predict with confidence that it will be the kind that scores fantasy points.