"Plaxico Who?": The Coming of Age for the New York Giants Receivers

Nick RallContributor ISeptember 20, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants dives for a touchdown against Gerald Sensabaugh #43 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Being a football fan and an addict to fantasy football, and while I am not a Giants fan at all, I couldn't help but hear the talk about how much Eli Manning would miss Plaxico Burress, who was sentenced to 2 years in jail for shooting himself in the leg.

The only thing I have to say is...Plaxico who?

Yes, I am saying at this point that Eli Manning and the Giants do not need Plaxico Burress to have success.  After watching the Cowboys-Giants game from start to finish tonight, I noticed a few things about these young wide receivers that the Giants actually have on the field.

In the game, I saw many things that I liked, while there was very little to not like about how these receivers played.  It was also said that Eli Manning would struggle after getting the big bucks and losing Plax, but in my mind, it looks like Eli may have actually gotten better.

In the Dallas game, Mario Manningham stepped up and in my mind has become the No. 1 receiver for Eli, especially among the Giants' fantasy receivers.  The product out of Michigan, drafted No. 95 overall because of concerns with marijuana use, continually made big play after big play for the Giants, finishing with 10 receptions, 150 yards and a touchdown catch.  Talk about a breakout game or what.  He looked crisp running his routes, made all the catches, and he has the speed to be a deep threat if needed.  He could be the big pickup this week in the fantasy world for people in need of a receiver.

Manningham wasn't the only one to step up and fill the big shoes. as Steve Smith came into the game after Domenik Hixon was injured and possibly solidified his spot as the No. 2, relegating Hixon to the No. 3 role, at least in my eyes, that is.

Smith, who is one of the best route runners I have seen in awhile, was called "Mr. Reliable" by the Sunday Night Football broadcasting crew, and made his presence known on third downs, as well as on some big plays.  In the game, Smith racked up the yards and catches finishing with 10 receptions, 134 yards, and one TD catch, proving that he was worth the No. 51 overall pick in 2007, despite his small stature coming out of USC.

As far as his performance goes in this game, we may not be calling him "The Other Steve Smith" much longer, as I believe he has stepped up in the world of receivers and made a name for himself.  With this game, he could be another big pickup in the fantasy leagues as he looks to be a real deal player.

Not only have these two been making great names for themselves in the absence of Burress, but the draft picks from this years draft in Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden are looking like they are going to pan out to be some pretty good receivers with experience.

Throw in Hixon, Derek Hagan, and Kevin Boss at TE, and to me the Giants should be able to forget Plaxico Burress even existed, except for the fact he won the Super Bowl on that pretty route he ran. 

But, in the end, I believe that the Giants, with the defense, budding receivers, Brandon Jacobs and Bradshaw running down teams' throats, and Eli Manning looking like he was worth all that money, are looking forward to a date with the champion of the AFC in the Super Bowl this season.