New York Giants: Ranking Team's Top 10 Fantasy Options for 2014
With the NFL season fast approaching, fantasy football will come to the forefront of many discussions amongst your friends, family and co-workers.
All of the annual positional rankings are already being tabulated around the Internet as well as on pen and paper by those dedicated enough to make their own.
Soon, you'll be taking part in your annual draft—or in the case of many, drafts.
If you search the web for player rankings, you'll usually run into much of the same opinion. Here, we are going to take a look at the top 10 options for just one team—the Giants.
As many veteran fantasy players will tell you, it's often the late-round steal or the player many of the people in your league aren't familiar with that brings home that fantasy trophy.
Here is a look at the Giants players you need to know about before your fantasy draft.
10. Andre Williams, Running Back
During his senior season at Boston College, Andre Williams became just the 16th player in NCAA history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, leading the nation in that category.
That helped him become a fourth-round draft choice of the Giants and a player who may become a major force later in his career.
It's hard to judge what kind of role Williams will have with the team this year, but he will be behind free-agent signing Rashad Jennings and at least one other running back on the depth chart.
If you play in a standard league, Williams is nothing more than a handcuff option. But if the team experiences injuries at the running back position, players will be lining up to add Williams off the waiver wire.
And if you play in a dynasty or keeper league, Williams could have some real value in the future.
9. Peyton Hillis, Running Back
Peyton Hillis will have much more value to the Giants than he will to your fantasy team.
Hillis can protect Eli Manning, and he is a good receiver out of the backfield. Those were two of the reasons the Giants brought him in off the street last season after it looked like his NFL career was over following his release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, unless Rashad Jennings goes down to injury, Hillis will likely be used sparingly—only touching the ball a few times each game.
Unless you play in a very deep league, Hillis will probably be available on your waiver wire for the majority of the season.
8. Adrien Robinson, Tight End
Eli Manning will have to throw to someone at tight end...right?
Unless the Giants decide to bring in a free agent in training camp, Adrien Robinson has the inside track to be the team's starting tight end.
Eli Manning likes to throw to the tight end; even though the top pass-catching tight end on the team has been a different player each of the past three seasons, Manning has completed at least 38 passes to them in that time.
Expect a similar output from Robinson, who you should be able to get very late in your draft. In smaller leagues, he probably won't be drafted at all.
That could make him a real steal if he exceeds expectations this season.
7. David Wilson, Running Back
Health will be the biggest question surrounding David Wilson, who ended up being one of fantasy football's most disappointing players in 2013.
While he still hasn't been cleared to play as he recovers from neck surgery, the Giants aren't going to give up on their former first-round pick.
Wilson has shown flashes as a running back and kick returner in his young career, and he has the ability to make game-changing plays.
You should only select Wilson if he falls to you in the late rounds of your draft, but he could be worth the risk if he makes a complete return from injury.
6. Team Defense
Most fantasy football leagues vary in how they reward team defenses. If you play in a league where a defense can rack you up some good points, the Giants will be a great selection this year.
This offseason, the team brought in free-agent cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond to team with Antrel Rolle, Prince Amukamara and the returning Stevie Brown.
The Giants could easily have one of the league's best secondaries.
If the team can get someone like Damontre Moore or Robert Ayers to put pressure on the quarterback, Jason Pierre-Paul should be able to rack up a bunch of sacks as well.
You'll want to keep an eye on the status of middle linebacker Jon Beason. If he is out for an extended period of time, it will leave a huge hole in the middle of the defense.
5. Rueben Randle, Wide Receiver
Rueben Randle followed up his rookie season last year by doubling his numbers in just about all statistical categories.
Before the 2013 season started, Randle was merely a player to draft as a flier in your league. But Eli Manning found him six times for 101 yards in the season opener against Dallas.
Players who drafted Randle knew they had a nice little sleeper to come off their bench later in the season.
Randle finished the year with 41 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns. There's no reason to believe Randle can't duplicate those numbers in 2014.
He should be considered in the middle or late rounds of your draft.
4. Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver
With the No. 12 pick in the first round of this year's draft, the Giants found a guy who will make big plays for them for many years to come.
Beckham has good hands and even better speed. He will be able to stretch the field—and once he has the ball in his hands, he can be purely electric after the catch.
While at LSU, Beckham averaged 16.3 yards on his 141 career receptions.
Don't get too overzealous and use a pick within the first three rounds on Beckham, but anything later than that and you could be getting a steal.
3. Rashad Jennings, Running Back
Once the NFL free-agent signing period opened in March, the Giants wasted no time signing Rashad Jennings to a deal.
Jennings was able to fight for tough yardage in Oakland, scoring six touchdowns while maintaining an average of 4.5 yards per carry.
In New York, he'll be asked to do much of the same. With Peyton Hillis, David Wilson and rookie Andre Williams behind him, Jennings should almost certainly be the starter come opening day.
You could easily get Jennings as a late-round steal in your draft. Many owners in your league may shy away from him due to the fact that he's been a backup for the majority of his career.
If he is still on the board in the sixth, seventh or eighth rounds of your draft, jump on him. Jennings will touch the ball plenty of times each week.
2. Eli Manning, Quarterback
If any player in the NFL is due for a bounce-back season, it's Eli Manning.
Last year, Manning threw a career-high 27 interceptions and also lost four fumbles. The team got off to an 0-6 start, and things never really turned around.
Manning has a new weapon to toss the ball to in Odell Beckham Jr., and Rashad Jennings should help stabilize the running game.
Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton were also added to bolster the offensive line.
Though many quarterbacks should go before Manning in your draft, he is still a viable fantasy option who is more than capable of leading your team to a championship.
1. Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver
Victor Cruz saw his numbers dip in 2013, especially his touchdown count—tallying just four scores after finding the end zone 19 total times in the two previous seasons.
Still, Cruz is a very solid option in fantasy football, one that should not get out of the third round of your draft—maybe the fourth if you play in a smaller league.
Cruz will still be Eli Manning's top target in the passing game. Over the past three seasons, Cruz has averaged 80 receptions for 1,209 yards.
Those are numbers just about every receiver in the league would love to have.
Don't over-anazlyze things when it comes to drafting Cruz, and don't let his drop in production last year sway your opinion. Cruz is still an elite option in fantasy football.