The Giants pose a dilemma for dynasty owners. We are entering year four in the Ben McAdoo offense and we still don’t know the full potential of this offense. Since McAdoo took over the offense in 2014 their offensive DVOA rankings have dropped each year from 14th in 2014, 16th in 2015, to 23rd in 2016, McAdoo’s 1st year as head coach. The rushing attack is the biggest culprit, ranking 23rd, 23rd, and 26th in DVOA in that same timeframe.
Naturally, this led Giants to sign Brandon Marshall and let their leading rusher, Rashad Jennings, go in free agency. I’m not advocating for Jennings to get another shot after he struggled to stay healthy and effective over the last two years, I just find it interesting that the Giants are hoping that replacing Jennings with 29 year old career backup Shaun Draughn is the remedy for their lackluster rushing attack. The Giants appear to be ready to give Paul Perkins’ every opportunity to win the job barring an investment at the position through the draft.
That being said, the fantasy outlook for this team rests on the relationship between McAdoo and Eli Manning, which isn’t all that comforting from a dynasty perspective. The Giants are in a similar transitional situation as the Cardinals, Steelers, Saints, and Chargers in that they need to take advantage of a closing window with an aging quarterback while also planning for the future. Not an easy task.
Quarterback: Eli Manning
Eli Manning is 36 years old and is entering the 14th year of his career. With two Super Bowl’s and a last name that invites commercial opportunities when Payton’s not available, would it shock anyone to see Manning retire in the next couple years? How much longer does Manning want to watch Odell Beckham love/hate relationship with inanimate objects on the sideline? On the field, Manning is set to have the best set of wide receivers of his career with the addition of Marshall, another year of seasoning with Sterling Shepard, and the addition of Evan Engram.
Eli Manning has hovered around 63-percent completion percentage in the three years running McAdoo’s offense which is the best of his career. The Giants offensive line, despite their run-blocking woes, actually gave up the 3rd fewest sacks, with an Offensive Line score of 112.9, ranking 3rd according to PlayerProfiler.com. They added Chargers castoff DJ Fluker and have been pegged to take an offensive lineman with their 1st round pick in numerous mock drafts.
The Giants have been top 10 in pass attempts in each of the past three years in McAdoo’s offense, so at first glance, the volume should be able to support multiple weapons. Eli Manning saw a decline in production across the board last year compared with his first two years under McAdoo, including yards, touchdowns, yards per attempt, touchdowns, and completions over 20 yards. This is troubling in the third year operating McAdoo’s offense.
Adding Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram will provide additional options which should free up Odell Beckham on the outside. In turn, this should help Eli Manning’s deep ball completion percentage, where Manning ranked 24th in 2016. Manning will benefit from an improved running game but he’s is in the latter stages of his career. Will his production continue to decline in 2018? The Giants invested a 3rd round pick on Davis Webb, who some thought could go in the 1st round. I’m a huge fan of this move, more for the forward thinking rather than the player, who compares to Matt Cassel according to Player Profiler. If Webb does pan out, the Giants offensive weapons should continue to produce results.
Running Back: Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen & Wayne Gallman
I have a feeling Paul Perkins is going to be the topic of debate leading up to fantasy drafts. As I mentioned previously, the Giants run blocking in 2016 was atrocious. The Giants ranked No. 24 in Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards. Not all blame should be point at the offensive line though, as evidenced by the No. 29 rank in Open Field Yards according to Football Outsiders. So where does that leave us? Perkins isn’t particularly athletic, posting a 116.4 Burst Score (35th-percentile) and a 97.5 Speed Score (50th-percentile) per PlayerProfiler.
He wasn’t real dominant in college either, as shown by a28.4-percent (57th-percentile) College Dominator Rating. Here’s the rub: Perkins has a giant (no pun intended) opportunity and will rarely face a stacked box. The Giants have a running back ‘type’ considering they drafted Wayne Gallman in the 4th round of the 2017 draft. Gallman’s workout metrics are almost identical to Perkins and isn’t a high priority target for me in dynasty formats. Shane Vereen will figure into the mix on 3rd downs and potentially during the two minute drill. Ultimately I’m looking to sell any piece of this Giants backfield if it will provide any type of respectable return.
Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall & Sterling Shepard
Brandon Marshall deserves credit for turning his life around and advocating for mental health. However, neither Marshall nor Odell Beckham handle adversity on the field very well. If Eli struggles, this match has the potential to go very badly. The Giants should be on Hard Knocks for this reason alone.
Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall should form one of the best 1-2 punches at wide receiver in the league. Marshall is entering his 12th year in the league. With a budding TV career waiting for him it’s not out of the question to wonder how much longer he wants to play. An argument can be made that only Jay Cutler in 2014 and Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2016 prevented Marshall from five straight 100 catch seasons dating back to 2012, which is astounding. Marshall will likely be motivated playing alongside Beckham but it’s something to monitor. I’m still looking to deal him in a dynasty format, especially if he and the Giants offense starts out hot. At the very least I can almost guarantee he won’t be making another bet with Antonio Brown.
Odell Beckham ranked in the top 10 in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns all three years of his young career. Let’s put that into context. Go ahead and tell me the last wide receiver to do that, I’ll wait. I haven’t found one yet. Not even guys named Calvin, Moss, AJ, Dez, Julio, Antonio, Demaryius, Wayne, Marshall, Marvin, TO, Holt, Evans, or Andre. The point is, Beckham’s career is off to the kind of start we’ve never seen before. Oh, and he’s still getting better! His targets have increased each year, as evidenced by his No. 4 ranking in target share, meaning volume, volume, volume. However, Brandon Marshall has averaged 155 targets a year over the last 10 years, so how does his arrival eat into that massive volume Beckham has feasted on? To be honest, I’m not all that concerned.
Odell Beckham’s 126.5 Burst Score is in the 79th-percentile, his 10.63 Agility Score is in the 97th-percentile, and his 10.29 Catch Radius is in the 95th-percentile which is really impressive considering he stands under 6-0. The point is, despite the arrival of Marshall and Engram, Beckham is just too explosive and too talented. Even if Marshall and Engram eat into Beckham’s target share, McAdoo’s offense can support multiple top ten wide receivers. Count yourself lucky if you own Beckham in a Dynasty league. Despite Manning nearing the end of his career I’m not looking to trade away a generational talent like Beckham.
Tight End: Evan Engram
Evan Engram. Is he a tight end? Is he a wide receiver? Given how the Giants offense is currently constructed does it matter? Engram will be surrounded by numerous weapons which will lead to significant of single coverage. His workout metrics are a wonder to behold. He scores in the 96th-percentile Height Adjusted Speed Score, 84th-percentile Burst Score, and 90th-percentile Agility Score. He’s also got a College Dominator Rating checks in at the 86th-percentile, which is exceptional.
The question is, can his game translate to the next level? Roto Underworld’s Matt Kelley did a nice job laying out the reasons why these skill-position tweeners don’t often succeed.
Given the struggles these tweeners face I’m ultimately not a buyer at this point. Not when there are too many mouths to feed in this passing game. Eli’s age is just the cherry on top of that sundae.
Buy or Sell?
There are nice pieces here, with a few players that either don’t excite me or will not provide value. I’m not looking to go out of my way to add any of these pieces from a dynasty perspective. My advice may change depending on the development of Webb but that holds a wide range of potential outcomes. There’s ultimately too much uncertainty here for me to be looking to add pieces of this offense long term.