2017 Fantasy Football: New York Giants Team Outlook
In the first season under new head coach Ben McAdoo, the Giants went 11-5 leading to their first playoff berth since 2011. McAdoo was the offensive coordinator for the Giants in 2014 and 2015. He has 12 years of NFL experience while spending most of his career with the Packers. Surprisingly, their turn around came on the defensive side of the ball. New York allowed 158 fewer points than 2015 (442), which moved them from 30th in points allowed to second in the league (284). Their yards allowed improved from last in the league to 10th in 2016. Steve Spagnuolo will run the defense for the third season. Spags helped the Giants win a Super Bowl in 2007 when he took down the high-flying Patriots. He failed in his three seasons as the head coach of the Rams (10-38) from 2009 to 2011 but has five seasons of experience as the defensive coordinator of a good football team. It's too bad the Giants lost their way on the offensive side of the ball last season. They scored 110 fewer points in 2016 than 2015 (420), which was a drop of 20 spots in the offensive rankings (6th to 26th). New York went from 8th in offensive yards to 25th last year. Former quarterbacks coached Mike Sullivan who was promoted to offensive coordinator has a lot to prove after failing in his first year running the offense He ran the offense for the Buccaneers in 2012 and 2013. Sullivan has worked in the NFL since 2002.
The biggest addition based on career resume is WR Brandon Marshall. He'll help take the pressure off Odell Beckham while improving the scoring ability of this offense. Geno Smith was brought in for QB depth plus RB Shaun Draughn and TE Rhett Ellison. All three players offer no value without an injury. G D.J. Fluker needs to regain his form after failing in the last two seasons. He's expected to win a starting job.
CB Valentino Blake (formerly known as Antwon Blake) will compete for a backup job as will DT Corbin Bryant. Blake did play well for the Steelers in 2015 so he may work his way into meaningful playing time. Bryant missed half of last season with a shoulder injury after showing growth in 2015. That being said, he has no value rushing the QB.
New York cut RB Rashad Jennings, WR Victor Cruz, and T Marshall Newhouse. Cruz lost his game while Jennings' age creeped up on him and capped his upside. Newhouse struggled in his blocking skills while battling a knee injury.
The Giants released CB Coty Sensabaugh and DT Johnathan Hankins. Sensabaugh offered minimal value while Hankins provided some value.
In the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, New York invested in TE Evan Engram. He scored multiple stars in the skills competition at this year's NFL Combine. He'll offer great speed and quickness at the TE position. His route running is advanced, but there are a couple of areas of improvement needed to reach elite level. Engram is athletic with strength in his hands but is undersized (6'3' and 234 lbs.) for his position leading to weakness in his pass blocking skills. Edge piece who will be matchup problem for many defenses.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson was added in the second round. This guy will win by beating up his man rather than gaining his edge in speed and quickness. He projects as a winning run clogger with vision. His lack of a first step and finishing speed limits his value as a pass rusher. Either way, Tomlinson will improve this defense and make his presence known.
The future QB to replace Eli Manning was selected in the third round – Davis Webb. He's the most athletic QB in this draft with the talent to offer elite upside. Webb offers speed and quickness with an NFL arm ready to make plays anywhere on the field. He has a good feel for the pass rush with the foot work to extend the passing window. He needs to improve his mechanics to gain accuracy and timing on the outside. In college, much of his success came from pre-snap reads, which won't happen at the next level with defenses disguising their coverages. Davis still needs development time so he landed in the right spot behind a two-time veteran champion.
In the fourth round, the Giants drafted RB Wayne Gallman. His skill set doesn't meet all the check boxes to be a three down back in the NFL. His vision is suspect along with his short area burst. His lack of speed leads to him playing fast when patience would allow play development to create bigger holes. Gallman will earn his keep with power and a hardworking mentality while doing his damage on the interior of the line.
DE Avery Moss has a chance to offer upside as a pass rusher with improved strength and better technique. He needs to improve in all areas vs. the run as his game is built more on attacking the line of scrimmage with his quickness and athletic ability. Interesting project after New York took a swing on him in the fifth round.
With their last pick in the sixth round, the Giants tried to add depth to their offensive line with T Adam Bisnowaty. This slow-footed power player can only have success in tight quarters. He'll have risk vs. speed and quickness when defenders force him to use his feet. Bisnowaty has limited range in the run game as well.
The lack of a running game was a major problem in 2016. New York finished 29th in rushing yards (1,412) with a league-low six rushing TDs. Their rushes gained only 3.5 yards per carry with seven runs over 20 yards. The Giants had 34 negative runs and only 30 rushes of 10 yards or more.
New York was about league average in passing yards (3,838 – 17th) with 26 TDs and 16 Ints. Their offensive line allowed 22 sacks and 64 QB hits. The Giants gained only 6.7 yards per pass attempt.
LT Ereck Flowers was selected in the first round in 2015, but he's struggled in his responsibilities over the last two years. The offseason reports have been positive on his commitment to get into game shape, which bodes well for a breakthrough season. Flowers was one of the worst players at his position in 2016.
LG Justin Pugh finished as the best player on this line last year, which improves his resume to four years of success. Pugh offers the biggest edge in run blocking. New York added him in the first round in 2013. He missed five games last season with a knee injury but fortunately, it didn't require surgery.
C Weston Richburg played well for the second straight year, but he did regress slightly from 2016. He was as his best in pass protection. The Giants selected him in the second round in the 2014 NFL Draft.
RG D.J. Fluker has a lot to prove this year after struggling in all areas over the last two seasons. Fluker was about league average in his first two years in the league after getting drafted in the first round in 2013.
RT Bobby Hart was a total bust last year after struggling in his rookie season. The expectations weren't high when New York drafted him in the seventh round in 2015. Just like Flowers, Hart tried to get in better shape over the winter to make him game serviceable.
This line has three first round picks and a second rounder who played well in each of the last two years. Manning doesn't like to take sacks or take hits. So even with a low sack total, his line didn't allow a big enough window to make plays downfield. This should improve in 2017, but the Giants need a huge step forward in run blocking and improved play at the running back position. Enough talent to grade in the top third in the league leading to a nice uptick in scoring. The key comes from the play of Flowers and Fluker.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing TDs touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing TDs (TDS).
This information is based on 2016, which will work as our starting point for 2017. We'll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We'll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2016 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2016.
2016 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL last year.
2016 Adjustment is based on the 2016 league average and the 2016 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat and the basis for strength of schedule.
New York has a league average schedule against the run. They have four games against teams (SEA, ARI, and DAL X 2) who are successful defending the run. The only favorable matchup comes against the 49ers.
The Giants have one bad matchup in the passing game, which happens to come against the Broncos and four mid-tier contests (ARI, SEA, and PHI X 2). Their best success should come against the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, two teams whom they each play twice.
New York threw the ball 60 percent of the time last year thanks to one of the weakest run games and offensive lines in the league. The offensive structure points to a high volume passing attack with expected improvement on the ground.
Without two tough games against the Cowboys, the Giants would have a favorable schedule for their offense. They have four games (DET, LAC, SEA, and LAR) favorable matchups for their run defense.
New York's pass defense will get tested in two games against the Redskins plus four matchups (DET, LAC, SEA, and ARI) vs. teams with above average success passing the ball. Both the 49ers and the Rams had weak passing offenses in 2016. The Giants have five other games (DEN, PHI X 2, and DAL X 2) against teams with risk passing the ball.
This defense made a huge step forward in rushing yards allowed (1,417 – 3rd). They allowed 3.6 yards per rush with 10 rushing TDs and only five runs over 20 yards.
New York only allowed 6.8 yards per pass attempt, but they ranked 23rd in pass yards allowed (4,018) with only 15 passing TDs and 17 Ints. Their defense had 35 sacks.
DT Damon Harrison had his best season in the NFL in 2016 at age 27. He had 86 tackles and a career high 2.5 sacks. Rookie DT Dalvin Tomlinson should be the favorite to with at least early down action against the run. His game will offer minimal upside in sacks at this point of his career. DT Jason Pierre-Paul missed 12 games over the last two years due to groin and hand injuries. He finished with seven sacks in 12 games in 2016 with solid production in tackle (53). DE Olivier Vernon was a key addition last year. He chipped in with 8.5 sacks and a career high 64 tackles.
LB B.J. Goodson was only on the field for 13 plays in 2016, but he projects as the starting middle linebacker. New York selected Goodson in the fourth-round last year. His value will come as a hard-hitting run defender with a limited arc. B.J. will have the most success when attacking the line of scrimmage in run support. He lacks the quickness and overall speed to shut down the run game on the outside if he makes a false move in his reads. LB Devon Kennard had about the same production in 2016 as 2015 with seven more games played. Devon has the most value on early downs. LB Keenan Robinson had 83 tackles last year with seven defended passes, but he still grades as a weak link. He'll compete with LB Jonathan Casillas for playing time. Casillas had 96 tackles in 2016 with 1.5 sacks and eight defended passes.
The improvement of the Giants' defense came from the growth in S Landon Collins. He had an incredible 125 tackles with four sacks, 13 defensed passes, and five Ints (one returned for a TD). CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the better CBs in the league in 2016. He returned two of his three picks for TDs while defending a career high 21 passes in 15 games. CB Janoris Jenkins had his best overall season of his career in his first year with New York. His tackles (49) had regression while adding a career high 18 defended passes and three Ints. CB Eli Apple struggled in his first season in the league after the Giants drafted him in the first round. Eli looks the part as a starting NFL cornerback. He has an edge in speed (4.4 forty) with solid technique in his coverage duties. Apple has upside in press coverage, but he really needs to add some upper body strength to compete with the top WRs in the league. He left college after his sophomore season so he may need some time to develop. Eli needs to improve his tackling ability. The second safety position has the most risk in this secondary. The favorite to win the job looks like S Darian Thompson who the Giants selected in the 3rd round in 2016. Last year Darian was only on the field for 87 plays. His game will have risk until he improves his decision making in the heat of the battle. Thompson is a hard-hitting play maker, but his aggressive style tends to hurt him in pass coverage. Darian needs to focus on his responsibilities in the defense as a whole rather than trying to make that one impact play. The best defenders in the game rise to the occasion in the big moments of the game. Thompson needs to save his gambles for the times when the opportunity warrants it. Darian also needs to improve his tackling.
There's a lot to like on this defense and last year wasn't a fluke. Collins is a play making stud. New York has talent on the defensive line with an edge at the CB position. Their weakness lies at the second level of the defense, but it is helped by a ton of tackles by their defensive line. The Giants are a top 10 Fantasy defense for me in 2017 with enough talent to give New York a Super Bowl run with a rebound in their offense.
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QB Eli Manning, NYG - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update 12/09/17Manning will regain the starting job in Week 14 after the Giants fired their head coach and general manager. Eli doesn't have a TD in his last two games with only 318 combined passing yards. Over his last eight games, Manning has two TDs or fewer in each game with no games with over 300 yards passing. He passed for 220 yards and no TDs in Week 1 vs. the Cowboys. Dallas is 25th in the NFL defending QBs with three teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points (DEN - 231/4, GB - 253 combined yards with three TDs, and LAR - 434/3). The Cowboys allow 7.3 yards per pass attempt with 23 TDs. Tough to trust, but this team may rally behind Manning this week. He does have two good receiving options (Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram).
QB Davis Webb, NYG - Dynasty Only
After starting 18 games for Texas Tech while passing for 5,257 yards with 44 TDs and 22 Ints in his freshman and sophomore seasons, Webb lost his starting opportunity to Patrick Mahomes in 2015. Davis decided to transfer to California in his senior year where he passed for 4,295 yards, 37 TDs and 12 Ints. He scored nine rushing TDs in his 35 career games. Developmental project with a nice overall skill set.
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG - Dynasty Only
Clemson gave Gallman plenty of touches (556) over the last two seasons leading to 3,025 combined yards with 31 TDs and 42 catches. His career was highlighted by his junior year (1,740 combined yards with 14 TDs and 22 catches). Over three years in college, Wayne caught 66 combined passes for 486 yards and two TDs. He runs hard with some open field ability thanks to a spin move and some wiggle. His game is high enough to steal the starting job and more value than expected in the passing game. Excellent handcuff option with a free price point in the early draft season. At the very least, Gallman will be the scoring option on the ground at the goal line.
RB Orleans Darkwa, NYG - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/09/17Darkwa struggled to find running room in his last two games (11/30 and 14/32/1). Over his last eight games, Orleans has 577 combined yards with three TDs and 13 catches while averaging 15.75 touches per game. Dallas sits 14th in RB Fantasy defense (1,781 combined yards with eight TDs and 69 catches). Darkwa should have less competition for snaps this week with Wayne Gallman battling a hip issue. Not a sexy name, but he is playing at home with a matchup that may offer upside.
RB Shane Vereen, NYG - Bye Week Fill-in
Over the first three games of the 2016 season, Vereen had 39 touches for 222 combined yards with a TD and eight catches. He suffered a torn triceps in Week 3, which led to nine missed games. A concussion issue and a return of his triceps injury led to two short games and a lost season. Shane had surgery after the season to repair his triceps issue and New York expects him to be ready for the start of training camp. Over 40 games throughout the previous three season, Vereen had 158 catches for 1,368 yards and 10 TDs plus 859 yards on the ground with three TDs. New York will get him plenty of chances to make plays. I see about 150 touches for 750+ yards with a handful of TDs and a chance at 60+ catches. His best value will come in chaser games.
RB Paul Perkins, NYG - Bye Week Fill-in
Over three seasons at UCLA, Perkins rushed for 3,488 yards with 29 rushing TDs while catching 80 balls for another 739 yards and three TDs. His best success came in his sophomore year (1773 combined yards with 11 TDs and 26 catches). His skill set gives him a chance to be a three-down back thanks to his vision, quickness, and overall speed. Perkins has some wiggle in the open field while knowing how to make defenders become flat footed leading to more yardage. His cutting ability and small area acceleration will lead to long runs at times and he has enough finishing speed to score long TDs. Perkins just needs to run with more power between the tackles to create more playing time. He has enough strength to give himself a fighter's chance in pass protection. In his rookie season, Paul had 618 combined yards with no TDs and 15 catches. He finished with 127 touches. Perkins made a big play in the passing game in Week 4 (2/72) plus flashed his upside in Week 17 (21/102). Perkins will have the first chance at the starting job this season, but he'll lose touches on passing downs to Shane Vereen. In addition, I could see Wayne Gallman steal the short yardage touches and goal line carries. Perkins' ceiling, without an injury to a back behind him, looks to be about 1,000 combined yards with minimal TDs and around 25 catches. Only an RB3 with plenty of questions with his downside and upside.