Marshall will defer to Odell Beckham Jr.
but should have no problem returning WR2 value in 2017.
For the first time since 2007, his second NFL season, Brandon Marshall isn’t his team’s top receiver. That might
be a shock to the system if it weren’t for the fact that
the free agent receiver knowingly chose to sign with the New York
Giants. So, playing a support role for Odell Beckham Jr. shouldn’t
be an issue on the field or in the Giants’ clubhouse.
There was a time when it would have been a problem. But Marshall
isn’t the same guy he was a decade ago. He’s even
done solid work in the community regarding mental health issues
recently. Other than a run-in with well-known “knucklehead”
Sheldon Richardson, Marshall was a good citizen in the Jets locker
room last season.
Still, the reasonably-priced signing (two years, $12 million)
won’t be without risk.
Projected Impact with the Giants
New York drafted Sterling Shepard in the second round of the 2016
draft and the rookie posted solid numbers last season (65-683-8).
What he didn’t do, however, was force teams to play Beckham
That’s one of Marshall’s primary jobs.
ODB’s catch percentage was around 60-percent for the second
consecutive season after catching 70-percent of his targets in
his rookie season (2014). He finished with 10 touchdowns in 2016,
the lowest total of his career. Meanwhile, his red-zone touchdown
total has dropped from eight to six to five in three seasons.
Job No. 2 for Marshall is red-zone and goal-line touchdowns. The
11-year veteran has caught 50 of his 82 career touchdowns inside
the opponent’s 20-yard line. Eli Manning should see improved
red zone efficiency by using the 6-foot-4, 229 lbs two-time All-Pro
Marshall on fade and back shoulder routes in the corner of the
Fantasy impact with the Giants
Marshall is just the deputy sheriff in the Giants’ passing
game. He’ll certainly see significantly less targets and
opportunities than Beckham Jr. and Shepard also will draw his
fair share of the receiving workload.
Fortunately, unless the Giants draft a stud running back or sign
free agent Adrian Peterson, the New York running game will continue
to be sub-standard. They ran the ball 39.9-percent of the time
last season behind Rashad Jennings, Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen.
As a group they averaged just 3.5 ypc which ranked them 30th of
With no running game or pass-catching tight end (assuming they
don’t draft Alabama’s O.J. Howard), all three wide
receivers can still be viable fantasy options.
There are red flags of which you should be aware. The Giants do
have some issues on the offensive line which can’t be ignored
and the 36-year-old Manning didn’t play particularly well
last season. They could use an upgrade at both guard and tackle
because keeping Manning upright would lead to better decision-making
- a must if Eli is going to throw the ball 600 times or more.
Marshall’s Fantasy Projection
Over the past three seasons, Beckham has averaged 96 receptions
for 1,367 yards and 11.7 touchdowns on 152 targets. Meanwhile,
the Giants’ No. 2 man (rookie Shepard/underachiever Rueben Randle) averaged 64 receptions for 806 yards and 6.3 scores on
107 targets. Even at 33-years-old, Marshall should do better than
This will be a new experience for Marshall, seeing double coverage
on the other side of the field, but after averaging almost 155
targets per season over the past 10 years, he’ll have to
produce results on significantly fewer opportunities. As long
as he doesn’t get frustrated, Marshall can generate high
Ignore his 2016 season in which he played with an “inefficient”
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty and Geno Smith at quarterback (Yes,
I’m being very kind). Marshall is still the player who posted
1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns the previous season. Unfortunately,
he won’t see 173 targets as he did in 2015.
Figure Marshall for 128 targets, 76 receptions for 976 yards,
eight touchdowns and three 100-yard receiving days. Adding it
all up, Marshall should average 9.6 FPts/G in 2017. That kind
of production would have ranked him 13th among receivers who played
at least four games last season.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.