Fantasy Football Spotlight: New York Giants
The New York Giants were Super Bowl Champions in 2012 thanks to a dynamic passing game and a deadly pass-rush. Meanwhile, the Giants’ individual players were making an impact in the fantasy game highlighted by a career-best season by Eli Manning, a breakout performance by Victor Cruz and another great season from young stud Hakeem Nicks.
No doubt the Super Bowl Champs of last year have plenty of players who could help you to a fantasy title this year. Here’s a look at the Giants studs, standouts and remaining fantasy relevant players.
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Despite being the younger of the Giants' dynamic receiving duo, Nicks has the advantage in experience and is the safer choice in fantasy after two consecutive seasons finishing in the Top 12 of fantasy receivers. Nicks has averaged eight receiving TDs per season in his three-year career.
Nicks had an edge over Cruz in targets for both the regular season and postseason, giving Nicks slightly better expected production for 2012.
A broken metatarsal at OTAs has cost him some prep time for the season, but Nicks already has an established chemistry with Eli Manning. All signs are pointing towards Nicks being ready for the start of the regular season.
Cruz finished in the Top 10 in every major receiving category in 2011 after breaking out in Week 3 with his first career receiving TD, a 74-yarder from Manning. He added a 28-yard TD reception later in that same game. Cruz was quickly picked up off of waiver wires and finished as the No. 4 scoring WR.
Big plays were the key to Cruz’s success in 2011 and likely will be again this season. Cruz had 25 receptions of 20-plus yards, tied for third-most in the league. Five of those receptions were for 68 yards or more. While big-play receivers can be inconsistent fantasy producers, the steady play of Manning and the Giants commitment to the pass game makes Cruz more reliable than other big-play receivers like DeSean Jackson.
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The veteran Giants QB had three 400-yard passing games in 2011, the only player to do so. He surpassed his career-high in passing yards by over 900 in 2011, though, so whether or not the jump in production is sustainable or not is a big question.
Still, Manning was the No. 6 fantasy QB in 2011 and was No. 7 in 2010. While Manning probably won’t approach 5,000 yards again in 2012, he is a solid fantasy QB1.
The Giants ranked last in rush yards per game last season with only 89.2 per contest, but that was largely a result of a lack of rush attempts. The Giants ranked 22nd in rush attempts with just 411.
Bradshaw was the Giants leading rusher despite playing in only 12 contests—he missed four games in November with a fracture in his foot. Bradshaw showed a nose for the end zone when he was on the field, with 11 total TDs in his 12 games.
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The Giants were tied for third in sacks in 2011 with 48 and tied for sixth with 20 interceptions. While their points allowed per game and yardage allowed were in the bottom third of the league, the Giants are a good situational matchup at the least. They were also No. 6 in turnover differential with a mark of plus-seven in 2011.
Wilson, the final pick in the first round of the 2012 draft, is a speedy back that won’t challenge for Bradshaw’s starting job but could get five-plus touches per game. Considering the injury history of Bradshaw, Wilson could be a valuable handcuff.
Bennett isn’t a draft-worthy TE in most leagues, but he is worth keeping an eye on. Maybe a change of scenery and his best shot yet at being his team’s No. 1 TE will be the motivation that the 25-year-old Bennett needs.
If Bennett puts in the effort with New York and Eli Manning, he could be a stud fantasy TE. He has great size (6’6”, 270 lbs) and is a matchup problem for any defense.