2016 fantasy football depth charts: New York Giants
There's one obvious superstar with the Giants, and several other pieces that could be fringe fantasy starters, says Jeff Ratcliffe.
2016 fantasy football depth charts: New York Giants
With Tom Coughlin let go after last season, there’s a new regime in place for the New York Giants. Well, sort of. Former offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and much of last year’s staff remain, so it’s going to be a lot of the same for this offense.
Under McAdoo, the Giants ran three-wide receiver sets 73.4 percent of the time, and had three receivers on the field on a league-high 89.5 percent of passing plays. The Giants ranked seventh in passing yards per game (271.4) and tied with the Patriots for the league-lead in passing touchdowns with 36.
Eli Manning remains cemented atop the depth chart at quarterback, and he thinks the Giants can be even better this year, saying the offense is capable of scoring over 28 points per game. Last season, just three teams topped the 28-point plateau on a per-game basis: Carolina, Arizona and New England. The Giants finished sixth with 26.2 points per game, so Manning’s suggestion isn’t that farfetched.
New York Giants projected 2016 offense with 2015 grades:
Of course, it’s easy to put points on the board when you have one of the league’s most electric playmakers in WR Odell Beckham Jr. Even after putting up 1,454 yards and 13 scores on 96 catches last season, Beckham’s fantasy arrow is still pointing directly upward. The 2016 PFF Fantasy Draft Guide cover boy is a viable threat to finish as the top fantasy wide receiver this season.
What makes Beckham’s production over his first two seasons even more impressive is that he did what he did without the help of a strong surrounding cast. However, Rueben Randle is now out of the mix, and the Giants drafted the exciting Sterling Shepard out of Oklahoma. The No. 2 receiver last year as graded out by PFF College, Shepard isn’t a big receiver, but he displayed explosive athleticism at the combine with a 41-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. He turned heads at OTAs, reportedly “catching everything” and all but locked into the No. 2 role. Shepard is going to make an impact in his first season, and is certainly on the fringes of the WR3 conversation.
Beyond Shepard, Victor Cruz is returning from a series of injuries that have sidelined him for the last season-and-a-half. He was able to practice in OTAs, but he’s no lock to be on the field when camp opens up. Dwayne Harris is the next man up behind Cruz, and keep an eye on dark horse rookie Roger Lewis. An undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green, Lewis put up 2,638 yards and 23 scores on 158 catches over the last two season. He especially excelled as a deep-ball receiver in 2015 with 11 touchdowns on balls travelling at least 20 yards in the air. This is an area of the offense the Giants are looking to improve.
The tight end position is shaping up to be a bit of a training camp battle between Will Tye and Larry Donnell, with Tye the early favorite. With Donnell banged up last season, Tye assumed the starting job in Week 9 and actually ranked 13th among tight ends in fantasy scoring from that point forward. So there is some fantasy value to be had here, with the starter likely to be on the TE2 radar. Rookie Jerrell Adams is also in the mix. Adams comes from a basketball background and averaged 15.0 yards per reception last season. He posted the second-fastest 40 time (4.66) among tight ends at the combine, but also reportedly scored a 15 on the Wonderlic.
The Giants have a bit of a logjam at running back, but Rashad Jennings is the clear leader for early-down work. Jennings quietly played all 16 games last season, finishing 19th among running backs in standard scoring. While he is entering his age-31 season, Jennings still offers strong fantasy value as the 38th running back off the board in current ADP. Along with Jennings, Shane Vereen will mix in for carries and will handle third-down duties. Vereen has seen 70-plus targets in each of the last two seasons, and finished 26th among running backs in PPR scoring last season.
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The Giants also have Andre Williams, Orleans Darkwa and rookie Paul Perkins on the roster. Following a prolific college career, Williams has really floundered in the NFL. He enters camp very much on the roster bubble. Perkins is an exciting player who posted strong numbers in 2015 with 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. He graded out as our No. 2 running back in this year’s class, and our Matt Claassen thinks there’s a chance he could win the starting job. This will certainly be a backfield to closely monitor throughout the preseason.
In IDP leagues, the Giants boast two potential DL1s in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Pierre-Paul will shed the club cast this year, which should help him convert a few more pressures for sacks. He’ll also benefit from playing opposite Vernon, who finished fourth among defensive linemen in balanced scoring leagues last year. Linebacker has typically been a mess for fantasy purposes, but Keenan Robinson has the potential to be a viable fantasy option if he sticks at middle linebacker and earns a three-down role. Landon Collins is also a strong IDP option at defensive back after finishing fourth in fantasy scoring at the position last year. He should be considered an elite fantasy option.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.