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32 Teams In 32 Days: New York Giants

The New York Giants are a team stuck between visions of the future and specters of the past. Team ownership, along with GM Dave Gettleman, seem either unable or unwilling to make a clean break from their two-time Super Bowl winning QB, Eli Manning. During this past turbulent offseason the team parted ways with all-world WR Odell Beckham and replaced him with veteran receiver Golden Tate. They selected Manning’s eventual replacement in #6 overall pick Daniel Jones, yet will pay Eli over 20 million dollars in what could be his swan song in the Meadowlands. This interesting situation will certainly yield some dynasty relevant players, both now and going forward. Without further ado, let us take a look at the New York Giants.

Studs:

Saquon Barkley – Barkley is simply the best RB in the entire NFL, enough said. In all seriousness, Barkley is the best overall RB in just about every format. He has every single tool a good RB requires. He is big, fast, powerful, shifty, and has soft hands. The Giants made the rare decision last year to pass on what many believed to be franchise QBs, instead selecting Barkley, who Dave Gettleman said was a Hall of Fame player. You can see from his player chart below that few, if any, athletes have ever been comparable with this athletic freak. 

Barkley took those skills and parlayed them into one of the best seasons ever by a rookie RB. He tore up the field as both a runner and receiver, to the tune of over 2,000 total yards and 15 TDs. I must confess that my wife is a PSU alum, and I have literally watched every game Barkley has played since high school. I have seen some outstanding RBs in my time on this earth, but I have never seen a player as complete as Barkley. He is my #2 overall player in all of dynasty and will remain a dynasty darling for years to come. It may seem redundant, but just watch his highlights below and ask yourself if you’ve ever seen a better RB.

Evan Engram – The TE landscape in dynasty football is in a strange place at the moment. There is a solid triumvirate at the top, consisting of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle. Behind these three studs, there are a handful of players with the ability to jump into that elite category. Evan Engram is at the very top of that next group. The former Giants 1st round pick burst onto the scene with one of the best seasons ever for a rookie TE. You can see from his graph below that he is a unique athlete when it comes to the TE position.

Engram is part of the next generation of TEs in the NFL. Gone are the days of the huge glorified lineman who catch a few passes. Engram is in the mold of players like Mike Ditka, Tony Gonzalez, Kittle, and Kelce. In short, Engram is capable of besting his rookie campaign and flirting with a 1,000 yard season as potentially the top target in the Giants system. You can see from his numbers below that injuries took a toll on his overall statistics last season.

While his numbers took a dip last season due to lost playing time, you can see that when he was healthy, he was no less capable of affecting the outcome of games. Engram will have the luxury of spending his prime years with a QB taken shortly after him. The relationship between Daniel Jones and Evan Engram will be one to monitor closely as the years progress. In the short term, I would draft Evan Engram with the expectation of a mid TE1 capable of flirting with overall TE1 numbers for the upcoming season. 

Duds:

Golden Tate – The newest addition to the New York Giants receiving corps will begin the season on his third team in the past calendar year. Golden Tate has enjoyed a successful career that has seen him win a Super Bowl and be elected to the Pro Bowl. GM Dave Gettleman attempted to add some stability to his receiving corps following the trade of Odell Beckham by bringing in the mercurial Tate. To this point in his career, Tate has been one of the better slot WRs in the game. You can see from his numbers below that he did his best work during his time with Matthew Stafford in Detroit.

Word out of Giants OTAs is that Tate is quickly forming a bond with aging signal caller Eli Manning. His fate from a fantasy and dynasty perspective will likely be tied directly to the remainder of Manning’s time under center. In Detroit, Tate was the top target and was able to soak up a majority of the attempts. The situation in New York is a bit murkier. The Giants will likely feature their young stud TE Evan Engram as one of the main targets, and I fully expect fellow receiver Sterling Shepard to lead the WR group in targets. This does not factor in the amount of receptions that are sure to go to all-world RB Saquon Barkley. I simply do not believe there will be enough targets to sustain Golden Tate as anything more than a flex option going forward. His looks could also take a drastic turn if and when Daniel Jones is inserted into the lineup. Tate could prove me wrong, but I am not comfortable drafting him as anything more than a flex option going forward. 

Eli Manning – The grains in the hourglass are falling in the career of Eli Manning. The selection of Daniel Jones with a top-10 pick heralded the end of the Manning era in New York. Manning will forever be remembered for his legendary takedowns of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in two Super Bowls. Despite his earlier career heroics, father time is undefeated, and the New York media is as brutal as ever. Despite putting up some of the better numbers in his career last year, Manning’s statistical success did not translate to the win column. You can see from his stats below that simply from a numbers standpoint Eli did not have a terrible 2018.

At this stage in his career Manning is a QB who can get what is given to him by opposing coordinators. He lacks the mobility to extend plays and mask deficiencies among his protectors. If Manning were given a perfect situation where he had ample weapons and was given adequate time in a clean pocket, I have no doubt that he could play for another couple seasons. However, you simply do not draft a QB in the 1st round and leave him on the bench. Like Brett Favre, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning experienced before him, the die has been cast, and Eli will soon find his way out of the Big Apple. As soon as the Giants hit a bump in the 2019 season, the media and the fans will begin calls for the young Daniel Jones. In a superflex league, every QB should be owned, but Eli Manning will be one of the last starting QBs off the board, and for good reason. 

Breakouts:

Sterling Shepard – Not long after shipping Odell Beckham out of town, the Giants re-signed their young WR to a multi-year contract. It was not that long ago that we in the dynasty community were accustomed to giving WRs three years to develop before passing judgement on them. It seems that despite improving in each and every season in the league, many in the community have judged Shepard as a replacement-level player. I for one am intrigued by a player who has gotten steadily better and now has the opportunity to fill a much larger role on his team moving forward. I like the numbers I see below, indicating constant growth and development of his craft.

The departure of Odell Beckham means that Sterling Shepard will get to spend more time moving all over the formation. He is the best young WR on the team, and like Evan Engram, he will have an opportunity to grow and continue his development with the new franchise QB. Both Shepard and Golden Tate are capable of playing in the slot. However, Shepard’s raw athletic numbers indicate that he is quite capable of playing equally effective outside the hash marks, as evidenced below.

In the new NFL where defensive backs are not allowed to get as physical with receivers, players like Sterling Shepard are thriving. He is very much in the mold of players like Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, and others who are as shifty as they are fast. Creating separation is the name of the game in today’s NFL, and Sterling Shepard is an underrated breakout candidate in his new role as the #1 receiver for the Giants.

Stashes:

Daniel Jones – Daniel Jones is quite possibly the most disrespected QB in all of fantasy football. As I wrote in the opening paragraph, the New York Giants invested the #6 overall pick in this past year’s draft on the former Duke University signal caller. Despite this heavy investment on the part of the franchise, many in the dynasty community are overlooking this talented player. Jones was coached by Daniel Cutcliffe, the same man who coached and mentored both Eli and Peyton Manning in college. Whether it is due to Jones’ subpar numbers with inferior weapons at Duke, or the drafting of Jones by the maligned Dave Gettleman, the amount of disrespect Jones is receiving is undeniable. The disrespect is so over-the-top that Jones was recently booed at a New York Yankees game. I cannot understand for the life of me why this kid is being so disrespected. Let us begin by taking a look at his draft profile below. 

You can see from his chart that Jones possesses all the requisite skills you look for in a franchise QB. He is big, athletic, and explosive as a pure football player. Sure, he did not put up crazy stats like some of the other 1st round QBs, but the talent surrounding him at Duke was suspect at best. One thing Daniel Jones certainly demonstrated is an ability to come through in the clutch. He always played his best when the most was on the line. He was named MVP of the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl, going 27 of 40 for 252 yards and 2 TDs to go along with a 16/86/1 rushing line. He followed that up his senior season with a 30 of 41 for 423 yards and 5 TD performance at the 2018 Independence Bowl, also garnering MVP honors. Jones put a ribbon on his college career going 8 of 11 for 115 yards and a TD in the 2019 Senior Bowl, where he was again named MVP. When he does eventually take over for Manning as the starter, Daniel Jones will inherit some nice young weapons in Barkley, Engram, and Shepard. Draft and stash Daniel Jones for the immense upside he possesses, especially in superflex leagues, where he could be a quality starter sooner rather than later. I will leave you with Jones’ highlight reel, and you tell me if this kid has the skill to become a top signal caller.

Conclusions:

I am not sure what to expect from the New York Giants in the upcoming season. Everything hinges on the play of the QB position. They are a team with a nice mix of youth and experience across the board from a dynasty perspective. Barkley is a home run selection and will succeed no matter what happens with the rest of the team. As for the pass catchers, I would recommend going with the youth on the team and trusting in the development of Daniel Jones over time. If Eli Manning manages to put together a quality season and keeps Jones on the bench the entire year, then it is possible that all the starters on the team will be worth playing on a weekly basis. Check back in tomorrow as our 32 Teams in 32 Days series rolls along. 


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