The 2015 NFL season is nearing, with the first preseason game on August 9. With the season rapidly approaching, many fantasy football drafts will be conducted over the next few weeks.
Let’s take a look at the fantasy profiles for players on the New York Giants.
Eli Manning can probably be penciled in for 16 games, and at least 3,500 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns even before the season begins. Entering his twelfth season, Manning became the Giants starting quarterback in the ninth game of his rookie season, and has not missed a game since while starting 167 straight times.
Manning has thrown for at least 3,818 yards in the last six seasons, and has thrown at least 21 touchdowns in nine of the 10 full seasons in which he has started.
Last season was perhaps Manning’s best statistical season as his 63.1 completion percentage was a career high, and his 4,410 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns were both the second highest of his career.
In 14 of 16 games last season Manning threw for at least 200 yards, while going over 300 five times. He threw at least one touchdown in 15 of 16 games, while throwing at least two in nine games.
The reason Manning is not one of the most highly rated fantasy quarterbacks is his propensity for turning the ball over. He was able to keep the turnovers in check more so this past season than others, as he threw 14 interceptions, nine of which came in three games including a five interception stinker against the San Francisco 49ers. The year prior, Manning threw a career high 27 interceptions, and two other seasons he has thrown at least 20.
Manning has also lost 38 fumbles during his career, with four of those coming last season. He has lost at least two fumbles in nine different seasons, and lost at least four fumbles in five seasons.
Manning will also give fantasy owners next to nothing with his feet. Last season, he rushed for 31 yards, and his career high is only 80. He also only has five career rushing touchdowns.
In leagues that start two quarterbacks, Manning is a solid choice as a team’s number two quarterback, or as a backup in leagues that start one. The reasons he is not necessarily a good choice to be a team’s number one quarterback is he can be turnover prone, and he occasionally has a complete clunker of a game.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Manning is owned in 81.8% of leagues, with an average draft position of 113.3, making him on average the thirteenth quarterback selected.
Rashad Jennings is entering his seventh season in the NFL, and his second with the Giants. In eleven games last year, Jennings had 639 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, along with 30 receptions for 226 receiving yards.
Jennings has had various injuries each season, as he is yet to have played a full 16 games in a season. Last year he missed five, and that doesn’t include weeks 14 and 15 when he only had three combined carries.
Last season, Jennings had a breakout game against the Houston Texans, rushing for 176 yards on 34 attempts. He was not able to break 100 in any other game though, as his 91 rushing yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars was his second highest rushing performance.
In seven of his nine starts, Jennings ran for at least 50 yards, and he had six games with at least three receptions. While Jennings should still be the featured back when healthy, he may lose receptions to newly acquired Giant, Shane Vereen, who should see the field often on passing downs.
Jennings should not be a team’s first or second running back selected due to the risk of missing games, and also having to share touches with Vereen and Andre Williams. He should be a solid third or fourth running back when playing.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Jennings is owned in 91.4% of leagues, with an average draft position of 69.8, making him on average the twenty-ninth running back selected.
Shane Vereen is entering his fifth season in the NFL, and his first with the Giants after spending four years with the New England Patriots. Last season, Vereen had 96 carries for 391 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, while catching 52 passes for 447 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Despite only playing in eight games in 2013, Vereen still hauled in 47 passes for 427 receiving yards and three touchdowns. His versatility in catching passes makes him a valuable asset for the Giants, as well as fantasy football owners, especially those in point-per-reception leagues. Vereen showed his prowess for catching the ball out of the backfield to a national audience last season, when he caught 11 passes in the Super Bowl, which is the most ever for a running back in Super Bowl history and tied for second most for anyone at any position. Last season, Vereen had five games with at least five receptions and 11 games with at least three.
While Vereen is not the running threat that most running backs are that are drafted in fantasy football as he only has 599 rushing yards the past two seasons, his ability to catch the football makes him a decent choice to start every week, depending on how many slots for running backs are available.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Vereen is owned in 87.4% of leagues, with an average draft position of 87.4, making him on average the thirty-fourth running back selected.
Andre Williams is entering his second season in the NFL. Last season in 16 games, seven of which were starts, Williams had 217 carries for 721 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while adding 18 receptions for 130 yards.
Williams averaged a disappointing 3.3 yards per carry, but after minimal action in the first three games he had 50 or more rushing yards in six of the last 13 games, and went over the century mark twice. Also, in seven of those 13 games he scored a touchdown on the ground.
If Jennings were to get injured, Williams may receive the bulk of the carries as he is more built for workhorse action than Vereen. If Jennings and Vereen are both healthy, Williams may have trouble seeing the field. Where he may see the field is in goal line chances, where Williams’ 5-11 230 lb. frame makes him the most powerful of the three running backs.
While Williams had 18 receptions last season, with the addition of Vereen, Williams may never see the field in passing situations. He only had 10 receptions in four years at Boston College, including zero his senior season.
Those that own Jennings may want to take Williams later on due to the strong possibility that Jennings may miss some games.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Williams is owned in 62.6% of leagues, with an average draft position of 120.2, making him on average the forty-third running back selected.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is entering his second season in the NFL. Last season in 12 games, Beckham had 91 receptions for 1,305 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.
Beckham put up one of the greatest stat lines in rookie wide receiver history, and that was even with him missing the first four games and the entire preseason due to hamstring troubles.
In Beckham’s first three games, he had a total of 10 receptions for 106 yards. In his last nine games, Beckham had 81 receptions for 1,199 yards, giving him averages of nine receptions for 133.2 yards in those nine games. Equate that over a 16-game season, and Beckham would have 144 receptions for 2,131 receiving yards!
Obviously, it is unrealistic to expect Beckham to do that over a full season. Beckham consistently put up great numbers each week to end the season, as he had four games of 10+ receptions, seven games of 100+ receiving yards, nine games of 90+ receiving yards, and four games with 2+ receiving touchdowns. Those nine games of 90+ receiving yards were done consecutively which is tied for the NFL record with Michael Irvin.
With Victor Cruz back in the fray, it may help take pressure off Beckham who frequently put up amazing weekly totals despite constant double-teams. Beckham will be taken early in fantasy drafts, so those that wish to own him should expect him not to fall past the second round.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Beckham has an average draft position of 15.5, making him on average the fourth wide receiver selected only behind Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, and Demaryius Thomas.
Victor Cruz is entering his sixth NFL season, all with the Giants. Last season in six games, Cruz caught 23 passes for 337 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in week six, and thus was forced to miss the rest of the season.
While Cruz did not get to show the world his talents for much of last season, he showed everyone how good he could be the three seasons prior. Cruz played in all 16 games in 2011 and 2012, and played in 14 in 2013. In those three seasons, Cruz averaged 5.2 receptions, 78.8 receiving yards, and 0.5 receiving touchdowns per game, which comes out to 83 receptions, 1,260 receiving yards, and eight receiving touchdowns in a 16-game season.
In 16 of those 46 games from 2011-2013, Cruz went over 100 yards receiving, and in 17 of the 46 he scored at least one receiving touchdown. Last season in six games, he twice went over 100 yards and three times had at least five receptions.
For the first time in five seasons, Cruz will likely not be the number one option in the Giants passing attack. If he proves to be fully recovered from his knee injury, he should still get plenty of looks his way as defenses focus on Beckham. So while Cruz is not a great choice as a second wide receiver on a fantasy team like he was from 2011-2013, he still should have plenty of value for fantasy owners if healthy.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Cruz is owned in 73.5% of leagues, with an average draft position of 118.6, making him on average the forty-second wide receiver selected.
Rueben Randle is entering his fourth season in the NFL, all with the Giants. In 16 games last year, with 13 starts, Randle had 71 receptions for 938 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
With Beckham ready to open the season and Cruz coming back from injury, Randle should slide back to third on the Giants wide receiver depth chart. 2013 may be a good indicator of what Randle could do this season, as he was also their third receiver on the depth chart that year behind Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. That season, he amassed 41 receptions for 611 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns.
Randle should not be on many people’s fantasy radars unless Cruz or Beckham are forced to miss some time.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Randle is owned in only 9.3% of leagues.
Larry Donnell is entering his fourth NFL season, but last season was the first in which he saw extensive action. Donnell finished with 63 receptions for 623 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns.
Donnell became one of the most added fantasy players last season after his three-touchdown performance in the fourth week of last season in a Thursday night affair against the Washington Redskins. The next game against the Atlanta Falcons saw him not catch a single pass, having many of those same owners who added him, drop him the next week.
While Donnell averaged 59 yards receiving and scored four receiving touchdowns the first four games, he was only able to reach 50 yards receiving in three of the final 12 games, while only scoring two more touchdowns. In six games he had at least five receptions, but only two times in the final 12 games.
Donnell also had fumbling problems, losing four fumbles last season, a couple of which came at very inopportune times for the Giants.
Donnell should not be a starting tight end to begin the fantasy football season, unless it is a league that starts two tight ends.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Donnell is owned in 30.4% of leagues, making him the thirteenth most owned tight end.
Josh Brown is entering his thirteenth NFL season, and his third as a member of the Giants. Brown made 24-26 field goal attempts last season, as well as all 44 of his extra point tries.
His first season with the Giants in 2013, Brown made 23-26 of his field goal attempts, as well as all 31 of his extra point tries. For his Giants career, Brown has made 90.4% of his field goal attempts (47-52), and all 75 of his extra point attempts.
In leagues that give more points for longer field goals, Brown is 11-13 on field goal attempts between 40-49 yards as a Giant, and 5-6 on field goal attempts 50 yards or longer.
Tom Coughlin seems like an old school coach who will still always go for the extra point unless two points are needed, even now that extra points will be from 33 yards out this year, so Brown should not be losing too many points after touchdowns.
The Giants potentially could have a formidable offense this season, so while Brown may not be drafted often, an eye should be kept on him during the season if the Giants do not have problems putting points on the board.
Currently in ESPN fantasy football drafts, Brown is owned in only 2.5% of leagues, making him the twenty-second most owned kicker.