This week in the Fantasy Spotlight the focus is on the New York Giants. The Giants are coming off a season that ended abruptly on wildcard weekend in Green Bay. Big Blue had a good off-season both in free agency and the NFL Draft. The spotlight shines on a team many across the league believe is primed for another Super Bowl run.
Fantasy Spotlight 2017 Preview: New York Giants
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is coming off a season of mixed results. While the veteran quarterback threw for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, he continued to struggle with turnovers, throwing 16 interceptions. Despite an extremely successful career, his 3:2 career touchdown to interception ratio is something that remains a concern for Giants fans.
The consistency has always been a problem for Manning being a fantasy contributor. With a shaky offensive line and lack of a solid running game over the past few seasons, it has been tough to depend on Eli on a weekly basis. The receiving corps has a chance to be near the top of the league and for that alone Manning will get attention fantasy draft day. Fantasypros.com gives Manning an ECR (expert consensus ranking) of 121st and his current ADP (average draft position) is 131st.
Spotlight Says: QB2, best as a streaming bye week replacement.
Geno Smith/Davis Webb
The Giants signed Geno Smith as a free agent and drafted Davis Webb to fill out the depth chart. Even with an injury to Manning, neither will be a significant fantasy producer in 2017.
Spotlight Says: Undrafted
Perhaps one of the biggest questions marks for the Giants entering the 2017 season is Paul Perkins. Is he capable of being a number one running back in the NFL? It’s time to find out. Perkins is coming off a rookie season that saw him rush for 456 yards on 112 carries in very limited action. Perkins showed flashes in a late season start against the Washington Redskins. He finished as the 55th ranked fantasy running back for 2016. His current ECR is 67th and his ADP is 80th. Both these rankings are extremely generous for a second year running back who needs to prove himself. We here at the fantasy spotlight need to see more from Perkins before we can anoint him a legit fantasy running back.
Spotlight Says: RB3, with Low RB2 Ceiling.
Here is the x-factor for the Giants running game. Brought into the fold after the 2014 season, Shane Vereen has started only one game in two seasons with the Giants. Vereen, a fantastic pass catching back, was unable to stay healthy in 2016, appearing in only five games. If Vereen can show he is healthy, he is an asset in PPR leagues and could prove to be the most valuable of the Giants running backs. Vereen is going undrafted in some leagues and carries an ECR of 193rd. If he can stay on the field, he could be a huge steal in PPR leagues.
Spotlight Says: Standard RB3, PPR RB2
Orleans Darkwa/ Shaun Draughn/ Wayne Gallman
The Giants re-signed Orleans Darkwa in the offseason, signed Shaun Draughn as a free agent and drafted Wayne Gallman. If Perkins and Vereen fail to produce look for Darkwa to get the first crack to step in. Gallman may offer long term value in dynasty leagues, but as far as 2017, do not expect much of an impact.
Spotlight Says: Undrafted
Odell Beckham Jr.
So, do you care that Odell Beckham Jr decided to not show up to the Giants OTAs? We didn’t think so. Despite dealing with tons of criticism for missing the Giants optional practices, Beckham is a top five wide receiver going into 2017. Coming off a ten touchdown, 1,367-yard performance in 2016, Beckham carries an ECR of fifth and overall ADP of sixth. Per playerprofiler.com, the Giants number one receiver was second in the NFL last season with a 35.4 red zone target percentage. He was also third in the league in yards after catch with 529. Manning has some new weapons to work with in 2017, however the Manning to Beckham Jr connection is just like taxes…it’s guaranteed to happen.
Spotlight Says: WR1
The Giants made sure that Brandon Marshall didn’t have to move his family far this off-season. The former New York Jets wide receiver signed with the Giants to line up opposite of Beckham Jr. Marshall is coming off a disappointing 2016. His 788 yards receiving was the third lowest output of his career and it was also only the third-time in 11 seasons Marshall failed to crack 1,000 yards. Despite the disappointment of 2016, Marshall should have a bounce back 2017 season. Eli Manning will be looking for the 6’4″ frame of Marshall, especially in the red zone. The veteran finished third with 21 red zone targets last season. Marshall carries an ECR of 74th and ADP of 60th.
Spotlight Says: WR2
You want to talk about a perfect slot receiver to target late in your fantasy drafts? Look no further than Sterling Shepard. Last season as a rookie, Shepard started all 16 games for the Giants and lined up in the slot 74 percent of the time. He caught 65 passes for 683 yards. While those stats may not be overwhelming, Shepard did manage to catch eight touchdowns. Ten of those 65 receptions occurred in the red zone. Teams will continue to focus their attention on Beckham Jr., along with new addition Brandon Marshall, allowing the field to be open for Shepard. His ECR is 137th and his ADP is 136th. Some experts believe Shepard loses value with the Marshall addition, the fantasy spotlight feels the opposite.
Spotlight Says: Low WR2/High WR3, late round steal.
The Giants have had a long-standing hole at the tight end position. They hope they addressed that need during the 2017 NFL draft. Evan Engram was drafted in the first round, 23rd overall. Engram enters his rookie season as the all-time leader in receptions (162), yards (2,320) and touchdowns (15) for Ole Miss. Engram impressed at Giants rookie minicamp with his speed and strength. His ADP is 188th and he is being drafted as the 25th ranked tight end. The four-time All-SEC tight end will get the chance to make an impact right away for the Giants in 2017.
Spotlight Says: TE3, draft in dynasty leagues, late round flyer in standard/PPR leagues
Do Not Draft: Paul Perkins, Evan Engram
Best Value: Sterling Shepard
Worst Value: Paul Perkins
Surprise Potential: Shane Vereen