QB Eli Manning
(2012 QB Rank – #14, 19.3 FPts/G)
If you were looking for a brief summary of Manning’s 2012 season, you could say that he, his fantasy owners and the Giants were all frustrated by it. After having arguably the finest year of his career in 2011, Manning saw his numbers dip last season as he struggled with turnovers and clearly missed having a healthy Hakeem Nicks in the lineup. With none of the team’s backup wide receivers stepping up, Manning finished the season with 3,948 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. While that is decent production, Manning was wildly inconsistent. Let’s take a closer look. Just under 32 percent of his fantasy production came in three games, including a Week 17 blow out of the Eagles. Just under 56 percent of his fantasy production came in six games. He also had five games with 12 fantasy points or less. The good news is that Nicks is expected to be completely healthy on opening day and the team expects Rueben Randle to take a leap forward in his second year in the league. Brandon Myers has replaced Martellus Bennett at tight end, basically an even trade off. Add it all up and Manning seems poised for a fantasy bounceback in 2013. You can likely grab him as an upper-tier backup with the potential for him to re-emerge as a mid-tier QB1.
RB David Wilson
(2012 RB Rank – #47, 4.9 FPts/G; #54 PPR, 5.2 FPts/G)
Wilson is getting a lot of love in fantasy circles this year as a potential breakout candidate. The 2012 first-round pick disappointed for much of his rookie season before earning a consistent role when Andre Brown was lost for the year in Week 12. Over the final four games, Wilson amassed 247 yards and three touchdowns on just 43 carries as he displayed some of the game-breaking ability the Giants were expecting. Wilson enters training camp as the starter and there is little reason to doubt that he will build on the progress he displayed last season. The issue is how the Giants coaches will split the playing time in the backfield, with Andre Brown coming off a breakout season. If Wilson can hold up in pass protection and not have any ball security issues, he could be in line for a breakout season. Unfortunately, Brown is almost assured of getting the goal-line looks, and that limits Wilson’s upside. Consider him a mid-tier RB2 in redraft formats and an outstanding dynasty league prospect.
RB Andre Brown
(2012 RB Rank – #32, 10.6 FPts/G; #39 PPR, 11.9 FPts/G)
After bouncing around from team to team during the first three years of his career, Brown earned a solid role with the Giants last season, gaining 385 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on just 73 carries despite appearing in just eight games. A broken leg ended his season in Week 12 after he had established himself as the team’s top backup. With Ahmad Bradshaw having been released, Brown will compete with 2012 first-round pick David Wilson for a starting position in 2013. While all indications are that Brown will lose that battle, the Giants will almost certainly stick to the committee approach they have used for several years. Although he lacks great speed and agility, Brown is a road grader, a solid pass protector and an outstanding short-yardage runner. Given Wilson’s lack of experience, poor pass blocking ability and reputation as a fumbler, Brown rates as a solid flex play and low-end RB3 entering 2013.
RB Da’Rel Scott
(2012 RB Rank – #145, 0.9 FPts/G; #149 PPR, 0.9 FPts/G)
While the Giants think their 2011 seventh-round pick has some upside, he was passed on the depth chart last season by Andre Brown and once again faces an uphill battle for playing time in 2013. The speedy Scott dressed for just four games last season, getting the rock in just one game—a six-carry, nine-yard performance against the Panthers in Week 3. With the Giants committed to David Wilson and Andre Brown, Scott is unlikely to see the field much in 2013 barring injury to one of those two players.
WR Victor Cruz
(2012 WR Rank – #13, 10.6 FPts/G; #14 PPR, 16.0 FPts/G)
Well, aren’t we all glad that Cruz got his contract extension so we don’t have to read about it anymore? Kudos to Cruz, who erased any doubts that his 2011 breakout season was a fluke by catching 86 passes for 1,092 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns last season. That brings his two-year haul to 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. If you weren’t convinced that he was a worthy WR1 prior to last season, you should be now. While Cruz may lack Hakeem Nicks’ athletic ability and he failed to generate as many big plays as in 2011, he has clearly earned quarterback Eli Manning’s trust and has been a healthy, consistent producer with 12 100-yard receiving games over the past two years. The Giants like to throw it, they don’t have a proven No. 3 wide receiver, Nicks can’t seem to stay healthy, and there are questions about how well Brandon Myers will fit into the Giants offense. That makes Cruz a relatively safe low-end WR1 in 2013.
WR Hakeem Nicks
(2012 WR Rank – #54, 7.3 FPts/G; #53 PPR, 11.7 FPts/G)
After a solid rookie season and two years where he displayed the potential to be among the league’s leading receivers, Nicks was a huge disappointment in 2013 as he struggled with foot and knee injuries. While he was healthy enough to appear in 13 games, he lacked the explosiveness that he displayed during his first three years in the league, catching just 53 of his 100 targets for 692 yards and three touchdowns. With Eli Manning at quarterback and playing alongside the talented Victor Cruz, Nicks’ only issue is staying healthy, but can we expect that in 2013? Although he has missed only ten games during his four-year career, he seems to be consistently dealing with various nicks and sprains, raising doubts over his ability to ever realize on his immense potential. While Cruz has been the straw that stirs the Giants passing attack over the past two seasons, it is Nicks who the team feels is their most talented wide receiver. Since the shine has rubbed off of Nicks’ fantasy luster, you can likely grab him as a WR3, which should be considered an absolute steal.
WR Rueben Randle
(2012 WR Rank – #85, 4.3 FPts/G; #89 PPR, 6.1 FPts/G)
Considered a steal as a second-round pick and one of the most Pro-ready receivers in the 2012 draft, Randle was expected to carve out a role as the Giants’ top backup receiver as a rookie. While he flashed some potential, the 6’2”, 208-pound LSU product failed to take on a consistent role despite Hakeem Nicks’ injury issues. Look for that to change this season, although the Giants have hedged their bets by re-signing Ramses Barden and acquiring journeyman Louis Murphy. Still, Randle should be considered the front-runner to earn the top backup role given his bigger upside and the fact that Nicks is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Randle rates as a WR5 with upside because of his potential and Nicks’ injury history.
WR Ramses Barden
(2012 WR Rank – #122, 3.1 FPts/G; #124 PPR, 5.1 FPts/G)
After four seasons that seemed to generate plenty of offseason hype but little in the way of on-the-field production, Barden hit the free agent market this offseason, hanging his hat on a wonderful nine-reception, 138-yard performance against the Panthers in Week 3 last year. Unfortunately for Barden, team’s were more focused on the production he put up over the entire season, which, with 14 receptions for 220 yards and no touchdowns, wasn’t all that impressive. The Giants ended up signing him for a song, but he will need to have a solid preseason to land a roster spot.
WR Louis Murphy
(2012 WR Rank – #97, 2.7 FPts/G; #95 PPR, 4.3 FPts/G)
After a middling year in Carolina where he caught 25 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown, Murphy brings his dog-and-pony show to the Big Apple. After being taken in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, Murphy had a couple of solid seasons but struggled to earn playing time with the Raiders in 2011 and was jettisoned to the Panthers last year. Once again he was unable to land a major role despite Carolina’s lack of depth at wide receiver. Well, the Giants do have a talented depth chart at the position, so Murphy is a long shot to earn anything more than a minor role in 2013.
WR Jerrel Jernigan
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Taken in the third round of the 2011 draft, Jernigan, a 5’8”, 189-pound Troy State product, has been a bust for the Giants, hauling in just three receptions for 22 yards during his first two years in the league. Expected to earn some playing time out of the slot, the Giants have chosen to move Victor Cruz inside in three-receiver sets and go with various options outside rather than hand Jernigan much playing time. It won’t be a surprise if he finds himself on the street come opening day.
TE Brandon Myers
(2012 TE Rank – #9, 6.5 FPts/G; #6 PPR, 11.5 FPts/G)
After spending most of his first three years nailed to the sideline, Myers emerged last season to win the Raiders’ starting tight end spot. And once in the starting lineup, he proved to be a steady, reliable receiving option for quarterback Carson Palmer, hitting career highs in all major categories with 79 receptions for 806 yards and four touchdowns. Myers brings those talents to the Giants offense in 2013 and, while there is some uncertainty as to his role there, New York has generally received solid production from the tight end position over the last several years, despite never employing an upper-tier option at the position. Since the Giants possess far more talent at the wide receiving position than the Raiders did, a repeat of Myers’ 2012 production seems unlikely. Consider him a mid-tier TE2 with moderate upside.
TE Adrien Robinson
(2012 TE Rank – #95, 0.0 FPts/G; #95 PPR, 0.0 FPts/G)
The Giants acquired Robinson in the fourth round of last year’s draft and the former basketball player barely saw the field as a rookie, playing in just two games. While the team feels he has considerable upside, and didn’t make a huge investment in Brandon Myers, it seems a stretch to expect Robinson to earn a major role in 2013. He is a lower-tier dynasty prospect.