May 202012
 

QB Eli Manning (NY Giants)

This might seem a little low for the Super Bowl MVP, but Eli has never been an elite fantasy quarterback. The Giants will probably pass less this year after they added a first round running back in David Wilson to compliment Ahmad Bradshaw. Also, I don’t expect Manning to maintain a completely uncharacteristic 8.4 YPA from last season. Before that, his career high was 7.9 and he’s only twice gone over 7.4. In fact, I don’t expect Eli to even approach the near 5000 yards he had last year. Before last year, his career high was 4021 yards. Expect a regression towards the norm for ELIte.

Projection: 4160 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 50 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns (253 pts standard/311 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants)

The Giants spent a first round pick on a back this year, which shows they’re committed to getting back to the run in 2012. David Wilson is more talented than Brandon Jacobs, but he won’t steal all the goal line carries. Wilson is also only just a rookie, which, if you look at what rookie first round pick backs have done in history, suggests he won’t have a huge impact, at least as a rookie.

Bradshaw is still the guy at least this year. And you only have to look at Joseph Addai (2009), Chris Wells (2011), DeAngelo Williams (2008), Marion Barber (2008), Fred Jackson (2010) and so on to see how a team spending an early pick on a running back can have a positive effect on the incumbent starter. All 5 of those guys had arguably the best season of their careers in the season immediately after their team drafted a back early.

Projections: 230 carries 1010 rushing yards 9 total touchdowns 38 catches 300 receiving yards (185 pts standard/223 pts PPR)

RB David Wilson (NY Giants)

8/13/12: David Wilson is getting mixed reviews in camp. On one hand, he looks incredibly explosive as a runner, but he’s also struggling with his blitz pickup and the Giants, known for easing in rookies, won’t trust him in obvious pass downs. He’ll still get a good portion of the early down work behind Ahmad Bradshaw and he remains just an injury to one of the league’s most injuries prone backs away for being a legitimate RB2, but I’m moving him down slightly.

Rookie running backs tend to struggle anyway, but David Wilson isn’t even his team’s starter yet. He’ll get carries behind Ahmad Bradshaw as the Giants try to run the ball more this season, but he’ll have to wait his turn for a starting job. He’s some fantasy value, but minimal upside barring an injury to Bradshaw.

Projection: 140 carries 630 rushing yards 6 total touchdowns 22 catches 170 receiving yards (116 pts standard/138 pts PPR)

WR Hakeem Nicks (NY Giants)

8/13/12: I had Eli Manning’s projected numbers back more in line with his career averages, rather than his crazy numbers from last year, as the Giants seem committed to going back running the more ball more this season. However, my projections for Nicks and Cruz were both too high. In 2009 and 2010, the Giants’ top-2 receivers combined for about 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns per year.

Nicks and Cruz should exceed that slightly, but not by much. Nicks is the safer fantasy option and, like I projected earlier, should lead the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, just like he did in the playoffs last season. Cruz is still a one year wonder whose 18.9 yards per catch will be impossible to sustain.

8/7/12: I moved Nicks down a little bit when he got hurt, but he’s practicing already and looks fine. He won’t miss any time, so I moved him back up.

5/27/12: Nicks could be in a race to play week 1 with a broken foot. I won’t knock him down too much, but it’s worth noting.

I’ll take Hakeem Nicks over Victor Cruz. Nicks has a proven history of success as he has 79 catches for 1052 yards and 11 touchdowns and 76 catches for 1192 yards and 7 touchdowns in the last 2 seasons. He’s also bigger so he should have more touchdowns than Cruz, who had more touchdowns between the two last season. Hicks was also significantly better in the playoffs, 28/444/4, than Cruz, 21/269/1.

Projection: 80 catches 1070 receiving yards 10 receiving touchdowns (167 pts standard/247 pts PPR)

WR Victor Cruz (NY Giants)

8/13/12: I had Eli Manning’s projected numbers back more in line with his career averages, rather than his crazy numbers from last year, as the Giants seem committed to going back running the more ball more this season. However, my projections for Nicks and Cruz were both too high. In 2009 and 2010, the Giants’ top-2 receivers combined for about 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns per year.

Nicks and Cruz should exceed that slightly, but not by much. Nicks is the safer fantasy option and, like I projected earlier, should lead the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, just like he did in the playoffs last season. Cruz is still a one year wonder whose 18.9 yards per catch will be impossible to sustain.

I’d be wary of buying high on Cruz. He did nothing before his breakout year last year and his 18.7 YPC is going to be hard to maintain. Nicks and Cruz had equal amounts of targets last year, Nicks with 133 and Cruz with 131. If that happens again this year, they’ll probably have more similar stats. I also like Nicks to have the edge in touchdowns.

Projection: 64 catches 1000 receiving yards 7 receiving touchdowns (142 pts standard/206 pts PPR)

WR Rueben Randle (NY Giants)

Randle will come in on 3-wide receiver sets and move Cruz to the slot and he’ll see a good amount of the field. The Giants have been very impressed with him in practice so far and they used a high pick on him. Mario Manningham managed 39 catches for 523 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games in a similar role last year. He has some fantasy value.

Projection: 45 catches 620 receiving yards 5 receiving touchdowns (92 pts standard/137 pts PPR)

TE Martellus Bennett (NY Giants)

Bennett was a great blocker in Dallas, but never did anything in the passing game behind Jason Witten. However, he did have 49 catches in his last season at Texas A&M and Eli Manning has made Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard look like better pass catchers than they actually were before. There’s some value with him in very deep leagues.

Projection: 40 catches 600 receiving yards 4 receiving touchdowns (84 pts standard/124 pts PPR)

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