David Wilson's Fantasy Prospects Hurt by Tom Coughlin's Distrust of Young RB

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 20, 2013

May 11, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants first round draft pick running back David Wilson (34) speaks with head coach Tom Coughlin during minicamp at the Timex Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you're probably aware that David Wilson likes to fumble the ball to start every season. 

You're also probably aware that New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin—the old, grumpy stickler that he is—doesn't take too kindly to this. 

After fumbling and consequently getting benched by Coughlin in his first pro game last season, Wilson didn't lose the pigskin for the remainder of the 2012 campaign. He also showed great promise, rushing for 358 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries, thus making him a popular player in fantasy football drafts this offseason.

Like clockwork, Wilson fumbled twice to start the campaign this season. But his Week 2 performance against the Denver Broncos showed how Coughlin's disciplinary approach can have an adverse effect on a young player.

Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin during the game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Against the Broncos at MetLife Stadium, Wilson was granted seven carries, to which he responded by totaling 17 yards. That gave him negative-two fantasy points through two weeks, tied for worst among all players.

Of course, Wilson didn't fumble. That would have been inexcusable in the eyes of Coughlin. After all, stars like, say, Adrian Peterson don't ever fumble. 

Oh, wait...Peterson did fumble in Week 2. 

My point?

Wilson was clutching the pigskin so tightly in Week 2, I was surprised he didn't deflate it. In the process, he looked like a scared, hesitant running back—certainly not a running back who averages 5.0 yards per carry, like he did in 2012.

As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York noted, "Right now, Wilson has as much rhythm running the ball as NBA coach Mark Madsen has on a dance floor. But a home run hitter can't hit one out of the park if he isn't getting any at-bats."


In games in which Wilson was granted more than seven carries last season, he responded quite well. Against the New Orleans Saints, he rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Against the Atlanta Falcons, he rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries. And against the Philadelphia Eagles, he rushed for 75 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants hands the ball off to David Wilson #22 during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Madd
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

More pathetic than Wilson's production in Week 2 was the production of Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott. Jacobs rushed for four yards on seven carries. Scott rushed for two yards on five carries.

Fumbles are, well, not good, but it's important that Wilson is allowed a little leeway if the Giants expect him to develop and blossom. He can't be thinking he's in danger of losing carries and playing time every time he steps on the field.

The good news for fantasy owners is that the Giants are desperate to get the ground game going. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride talked about wanting a more balanced offense this week, per Youngmisuk.

But whether that translates into more carries for Wilson—and fewer for Jacobs and Scott—is still unclear. It's very possible that Jacobs is still used in goal-line situations moving forward, which obviously hurts Wilson's value.

All fantasy owners—and Giants fans—can hope for is that Coughlin stops waking up in cold sweats after having nightmares about Wilson fumbling in the Super Bowl.

No, Coughlin just needs to wake up...period. 

Wilson has too much talent for it to be wasted on the sideline, especially with the Giants' ground game ailing amidst an 0-2 start. 


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