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New York Giants fantasy football team preview

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Who to target and avoid in fantasy football from the New York Giants.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants offense is largely one to fade in 2020. Although RB Saquon Barkley is a no-brainer 1st Round pick, the rest of the bunch comes with causes for concern. The slate of opposing defenses, as projected by Sharp Football below, is fearsome. Meanwhile, a number of the opposing offenses specialize in a ball-control style of play, likely stunting shootout potential. QB Daniel Jones will have some spiked weeks as the mobile quarter is able to take advantage of certain situations. TE Evan Engram is the safest pass catching option but comes at worryingly high ADP. The WR trio of Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton are all unsexy, shaky picks.

Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule:

  • 2nd toughest overall schedule
  • 4th toughest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
  • 11th toughest blend of pass defenses
  • 10th toughest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
  • 12th toughest blend of rush defenses
  • 8th toughest in terms of the opponent’s rush defense efficiency
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s offensive pass efficiency
  • 5th toughest in terms of the opponent’s rush offense efficiency

Quarterback

Time moves slowly in New York, as football czar GM Dave Gettleman keeps the team in the Dark Ages. His excuse of an analytics department features “four computer folks” who were hired this offseason. Given Gettleman’s likely deference to alchemy over newfangled medicine, it’s no surprise that the Giants’ offense lives in a suboptimal state.

In Sharp Football’s 2020 Football Preview, Warren Sharp delves into the nuances of the Giants’ 2019 play calling and how it stacks up to the likely play calling tendencies and philosophies of new OC Jason Garrett. In short, they played old school, uneducated football by running the football into stacked boxes and passing against stacked secondaries. It didn’t go well then and it’s unlikely to go well now. Garrett showed similar play calling tendencies throughout his tenure in Dallas.

For Daniel Jones, this means he’ll be much more matchup-dependent than many of his counterparts. With the expected play calling making his life harder, Jones’ spiked weeks will likely come against talent-deficient secondaries rather than being helped by scheme vs. scheme exploitations. The Giants face an opening trio of brutal defenses in Pittsburgh (Week 1), Chicago (Week 2), and San Francisco (Week 3). The one saving grace is that those offenses might push New York to throw a bit more in order to keep pace, which would give Jones more opportunities to produce, but he’s also likely to have a few turnovers in those situations. The schedule does open up in the ensuing weeks with defenses like the Rams, Cowboys, and Washington (twice) and mid-to-late season defenses like Cincinnati, Seattle, and Arizona though. Jones might be best rostered as a mid-season trade target or waiver wire option to exploit more favorable matchups down the road.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley was drafted into an unfortunate situation. As mentioned above, Sharp Football’s 2020 Football Preview details the likely play calling woes under Jason Garrett. Garrett’s commitment to establishing the run on early downs will not bode well for Barkley’s efficiency. Unfortunately, the 3rd-year back has performed well below league average against stacked boxes on early downs. He survives in the box score by breaking long touchdowns and piling up reception totals. Although built like a classic power back, he’s one of the league’s premier receiving threats out of the backfield. Given his receiving prowess, his exorbitant workloads, and outstanding talent, Barkley retains rights to being a top three fantasy draft pick.

Wayne Gallman has been a Giants’ backup for three years now, operating as a bellcow when Barkley was injured last year. Dion Lewis has reportedly looked good in camp though. While neither backup is likely to bring standalone value, we should pay attention to who has the upper-hand as Barkley’s No. 1 backup would become immediately startable were Barkley to miss time.

Wide Receiver

Update 9/1/20: Jordan Raanan reported that Golden Tate is not practicing today. He appears to think it’s a mild hamstring injury but this is not yet confirmed.

Update 8/31/20: HC Joe Judge has been running his players ragged in practice. Injuries — or at least injury scares — were inevitable. Golden Tate reportedly “went down awkwardly” and was attended to by trainers. Monitor the situation.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is perhaps the most talented receiver on the roster. The problem is, he’s at his best running routes in the slot, as are his teammates WR Golden Tate and TE Evan Engram. Because of those two, Shepard is forced to take more snaps than would be optimal on the perimeter which hurts his fantasy potential. He carries with him a number of injury risks, including two concussions in 2019 that occurred less than a month apart, a third concussion the previous season, and numerous soft tissue injuries including multiple ankle sprains. Still though, Shepard is the alpha of the wide receivers and should receive the highest target volume at the position. His .5PPR 11.02, WR49 ADP is a good place to take him.

Veteran receiver Golden Tate has never been a prolific touchdown scorer, mostly operating as a yards after catch man in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. Although he assuredly has gas left in the tank, he’s unlikely to produce much in the way of yardage or receptions with the crowded pass catching corps and low passing volume. Tate carries sneaky bonus potential as he sometimes fields punt returns, although punt return yardage is typically valued on par with passing yardage. Tate’s .5PPR 12.01, WR52 ADP is an appropriate price. However, a draft pick in that range would be better spent on players with higher ceilings like Philadelphia WR Jalen Reagor or Dallas RB Tony Pollard.

As a rookie in 2019, Darius Slayton was a bright spot for the offense, producing spiked weeks as the team dealt with a dearth of pass catcher injuries. With everyone fully healthy though, Slayton is unlikely to garner consistent workloads in his downfield receiver role. In obvious matchups with weak secondaries like Washington or Cincinnati, Slayton would be worth a high risk/high reward flex start. Slayton’s .5PPR 8.06, WR39 ADP is far too high. He’d be a better add off of the waiver wire add after his presumable drafter drops him in frustration some time in the first three games.

It’s possible Corey Coleman could provide fantasy value were any of this aforementioned trio to miss time. He is not a rosterable fantasy asset until such an occurrence happens though.

Tight End

Evan Engram is a dominant tight end entering the prime of his career. Unfortunately, to this point he’s been unable to stay healthy in any of his previous three seasons. Two concussions and two MCL sprains highlight his time in the league, with a few soft tissue sprains sprinkled in. That said, when healthy he’s likely to lead the team in targets—or at least challenge Sterling Shepard for that honor. Engram is capable of producing as a top three tight end but his injury history makes his .5PPR 7.07, TE8 ADP untenable. Were Engram to fall a round or two, he’d be an autodraft. If one drafts Engram, an insurance policy tight end option in the late rounds like Blake Jarwin or Chris Herndon would be a smart move.

Kicker

Graham Gano will be a matchup-based kicker in games where the Giants are expected to score with ease.

Defense/Special Teams

The Giants D/ST is a matchup-based streaming option.