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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

2019 Player Outlooks: New York Giants

Saquon Barkley

Living up to the hype: Saquon Barkley is in the conversation for the No.1 overall pick in fantasy drafts.

QB Eli Manning
(2018 QB Rank - No.28, 19.2 FPts/G)

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.

RB Saquon Barkley
(2018 RB Rank - No.2, 18.6 FPts/G)

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.

WR Golden Tate
(2018 WR Rank - No.42, 7.1 FPts/G)

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.

WR Sterling Shepard
(2018 WR Rank - No.41, 4.2 FPts/G)

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 corps.

TE Evan Engram
(2018 TE Rank - No.7, 7.2 FPts/G)

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 defined.

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.

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