From a purely statistical standpoint, Eli Manning’s 2018
was not as bad as his QB rank of 28th overall would suggest. The
38-year-old veteran threw for nearly 4300 passing yards and posted
his highest career completion percentage (66%), and his 11 interceptions
were his second-fewest in a full-16 game season.
But for fantasy purposes, Manning’s 21 passing touchdowns
and 19.2 points per game will not cut it in the present day environment
in which the quarterback position has been as deep as it has ever
been. Manning also lost his best weapon with the trade of Odell
Beckham Jr. to the Browns this offseason.
Although the Giants did add veteran Golden Tate to join Sterling
Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, the team lacks a true outside
wide receiver who can stretch the field.
For all intents and purposes, this is a lost season for the Giants,
and Manning is acting as a placeholder and mentor for his heir
apparent, 2019 first round pick Daniel Jones. Owners in two-quarterback
leagues may want to take a flyer on him, but he should not be
on the radar of people drafting in one-QB leagues - even those
with deep benches.
Barkley lived up to the hype that made him the second overall
pick in the 2018 NFL draft. The former Penn State star became
only the third rookie in NFL history to reach 2000 total yards,
joining Edgerrin James and Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson.
One of the best dual threats in the league, Barkley trailed only
Christian McCaffrey in receptions out of the backfield, and he
is one of only six players to reach double digits in rushing touchdowns.
His impressive rookie campaign has Barkley squarely in the midst
of going first overall in most fantasy drafts. Although his receiving
skills and volume in the passing game give him a floor nearly
unmatched at the position, the lack of a true downfield threat
with the absence of Beckham and the chance of the team turning
to a rookie QB could hurt his value.
It may also be difficult for Barkley to keep up with his impressive
5.0 yard per carry average should teams stack the box more when
guarding the possible short passing attack employed by the Giants.
On a positive note, the Giants improved the right side of the
offensive line with Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers, and second-year
guard Will Hernadez will continue to grow next to Nate Solder.
The trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns opened a huge hole
and the wide receiver position for the Giants. Some believed that
the Giants would look to the NFL Draft to sign a big-bodied player
who could stretch the field and give Eli Manning a much-needed
target on the outside.
Instead, the NY front office signed slot receiver Golden Tate
to a free agent contract to play alongside Sterling Shepard. It
was a head-scratching move considering the Giants already had
two viable slot receivers in Shepard and tight end Evan Engram.
Tate played outside earlier in his career in Seattle, but he found
most of his success running routes from the slot.
Based on their age, it is likely that the Giants will move the
younger Shepard outside as the X receiver and Corey Coleman as
the Z, with Tate in the slot and Engram at tight end. A formation
like this could work, but a player like Tate who relies on volume
and does not score a ton of touchdowns did not make a ton of sense
for the Giants.
The third-year breakout season for Shepard that many anticipated,
especially with the prolonged absence of Odell Beckham Jr. due
to injury, never materialized as the former Oklahoma Sooner managed
just 66 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns on 107 targets.
Although some may chalk up Shepards’ struggles to a terrible
New York offense, the stats somewhat paint a different picture.
The Giants finished 12th overall in passing yards, just ahead
of the Saints and the Vikings. And the G-men finished the season
with 689 total points for 16th in the league, ahead of other more
impressive offenses like the Eagles and Vikings.
It is possible that Shepard moving to the outside with the addition
of Golden Tate to the slot could lead to more touchdown opportunities.
It is also possible that the improvements to the offensive line
could give Eli Manning more time to let plays develop downfield
for Shepard and Corey Coleman.
It is also possible that the Giants turn to rookie quarterback
Daniel Jones midway through the season should the team be struggling
to win games. If that does happen, all skill position players
on the team take a knock in their value, especially the receiving
It may surprise some fantasy owners to learn that only Travis
Kelce and George Kittle scored more fantasy points per game than
Evan Engram over the final five weeks of the season. The former
first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft caught 19 receptions in
his last three games while averaging 81 yards per game.
The Giants’ questionable addition of Golden Tate in the
offseason was somewhat of an unusual move considering the fact
that both Engram and Sterling Shepard are skilled receivers from
the slot. It remains to be seen how the Giants will handle Tate
and Shepard, but it Engram’s role in the offense is clearly
The two biggest question marks for Engram are his ability to
stay healthy, and the worry of the Giants turning to rookie QB
Daniel Jones midway through the season.