Fantasy Football: What to Know Before Taking Victor Cruz on Draft Day

J.P. ScottSenior Analyst IJuly 5, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants celebrates after he scored on a 24-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on November 20, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

2011 was a dream season for Victor Cruz and anyone lucky enough to have him on their fantasy roster. Far and away the biggest surprise in fantasy football, Cruz established himself as an elite receiving force in the league.

As the 2012 campaign approaches, many fantasy sites and publications have him as a top-ten receiver, making him a No. 1 receiver in a 10-plus team league.

Cruz is a legit athletic talent, no doubt. That said, understand what you are getting into when you draft him.

For one, the Cruz hype is the result of one season. He hasn't strung together multiple 1200-yard campaigns, which doesn't make it easy for you to project a high- or low-end scenario.

2011 could have been a fluke. It might have been just dumb luck. On the flip side, it could have just been the tip of the iceberg.

If you draft according to rankings and projections, which I strongly advise you do not, chances are you are going to pick him over guys like Marques Colston and Dwayne Bowe. Those two consistently put up 1000-yard seasons in high-powered offenses.

If you are to make that choice, I advise that Cruz should not be your top overall pick and that your first pick should be someone who will carry your team with consistent points every week.

If you decide to take Cruz, don't be disappointed by his production early on. There is still a good chance Hakeem Nicks will miss the first week or two, resulting in teams focusing on stopping Cruz.

Without Nicks in the lineup, there isn't really another game-breaking receiver on the Giants' depth chart, at least not until we see how rookie Reuben Randle is going to pan out. 

Cruz's second half of the year was stronger than his first, which could have been a result of getting comfortable. Either way, don't do as many fantasy GMs do and cut him loose after two or three quiet weeks. It's a long season, and having a threat like Cruz on your roster, so long as he is healthy, is a nice feeling.

The Giants should be in a tight playoff race at the end of the year, giving Cruz a healthy workload just in time for the fantasy playoff season.

My advice is to draft Cruz if you have the chance but to temper your expectations. He more than likely won't repeat his 2011 success but should still turn in a solid performance.

If he does repeat the stats from his 2011 campaign, you could very well end up in your league's final asking your opponent, "Do you want some chips with that salsa?"