Will the dreaded “Super Bowl Hangover” leave fantasy owners of New York Giants with terrible headaches in 2012?
The Giants and their fans are still celebrating their Super Bowl victory, but fantasy owners might not be too fast to draft all of the G-Men when August rolls around. Some Giants will probably be on other teams, while others have question marks revolving around them.
Here is a look at five Giants heroes that fantasy owners may or may not want next season.
Mario Manningham (WR)
Manningham picked the perfect time to make the biggest catch in the Super Bowl—right as he heads into free agency.
We already know Manningham is really a No. 2 receiver. The guy racked up more than 1,700 yards and scored 14 touchdowns between 2009 and 2010.
He just had the misfortune of being a No. 3 WR this year because of injuries and because Victor Cruz went from being the No. 4 receiver to salsa dancing his way into the Giants' record books for receiving yards in a single season.
Manningham will be one of the most sought-after free agent receivers on the market this offseason. The NFL is now a pass-first league—just look at the eight teams that reached the last four Super Bowls— and there are several teams starving for receivers.
Manningham will be paid starter’s money, something the Giants probably cannot afford under their salary cap. So look for Manningham to fly the coop and start for another squad next season. With more playing time and targets, he should be able to return to the 900-yard, six-TD range, depending on the offensive system and the quarterback throwing to him.
Let’s just hope Manningham is a better receiver next season than he was a Grammy presenter last week. I don’t think the Oscars will be asking him to hand out any of their awards coming off that performance.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB)
You see these TMZ reports that Bradshaw is dating Angelina from Jersey Shore? Wow, hanging out with her can only enhance his fantasy value, right?
Bradshaw stuck it to fantasy owners a couple ways in 2011, first fracturing his foot and missing a month, then missing curfew before a Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, which caused him to be benched for the first half and made his fantasy owners angrier than a pack of greyhounds after they realize the rabbit they are chasing is not real.
Bradshaw still scored 11 touchdowns and had more than 900 combined yards in his dozen games, though. And if Brandon Jacobs is told to take his stutter steps and forked tongue to another team, Bradshaw would be primed to duplicate what he did in 2010, when he ran for 1,235 yards.
The Giants would likely acquire another decent running back to replace Jacobs, because Bradshaw is an injury risk and an off-the-field risk, but would that back factor into the Giants offense as much as Jacobs did? That is the million-dollar question that affects Bradshaw’s fantasy worth in 2012.
Brandon Jacobs (RB)
Fantasy owners want to see Jacobs stay on the Giants as much as they want to see Rob Gronkowski dancing with a high-ankle sprain at a Super Bowl bash.
If Jacobs remains with the World Champs, it means Bradshaw and he will be splitting touches for another season, and that does not help either guy. The likelihood is that Jacobs will be moving on, though.
The Giants are probably fed up with his nonstop foot-in-mouth disease and could sorely use the salary-cap space his price tag chews up.
Jacobs is coming off his worst fantasy year since 2005. He only mustered 571 rushing yards and eight touchdowns despite starting for a month while Bradshaw was out. His average offensive line may not have blocked well for him, but Jacobs definitely seems to have lost a step and now gets routinely stuffed in short-yardage situations.
Jacobs will not be handed a starting job by another team. At best he will share carries and at worst be a poor man’s Gerald Riggs, who is only used in specialty situations. A 700-yard year sounds like a stretch unless the RB in front of Jacobs sprains or breaks something.
There are several teams that Jacobs could fit in with as a role player. Division foes like the Washington Redskins or Philadelphia Eagles could use a big back. The Pittsburgh Steelers could come calling since Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL.
In an ironic twist, Jacobs could stay in New York and sign with the Jets to take some carries off Shonn Greene’s hands, provided head coach Rex Ryan and Jacobs mend fences like Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes.
Jake Ballard (TE)
Ballard’s fantasy value has dropped faster than Terrell Owens’ thanks to the torn ACL Ballard suffered in the Super Bowl. It’s a shame, because he was a breakout star this year. Not many fantasy pundits predicted he would have 604 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Ballard will need Joel Osteen to pray for a miracle on his behalf if Ballard wants to be ready for the start of next season. He probably will miss the first six to eight games and not join the team until mid-year, making him an afterthought in fantasy drafts.
Ballard might still have a higher fantasy value than Kevin Boss, though.
Lawrence Tynes (K)
Tynes will always be loved by Giants fans for his timely field goals in playoff games, but he will never be loved by fantasy owners, because he never makes enough field goals in regular season games.
Tynes was tied for 28th among kickers this season with a paltry 19 field goals. Only one was from 50-plus yards, by the way.
While his 43 extra points were nice, they were not enough to make Tynes a kicker worthy of a fantasy roster spot, and that will not change in 2012, considering he has only scored more than 110 points twice in his eight-year career.
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