Which New York Giants Wide Receiver Should You Draft?

by Shervon Fakhimi · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

The New York Giants have one of the wonkiest crews of wide receivers in the NFL. They have players tending to injuries. None has the reputation of a true bona fide starting caliber receiver yet. Few have even day 2 draft capital and those that do are either rehabbing an injury or are aging out of a big time role. On top of that, all these receivers will be taking a backseat behind newcomer Darren Waller. It doesn’t seem like an exciting situation at first glance, but there is value to be mined in such ambiguous situations. Let’s break down the wide receiver group in New York to determine who will emerge as a weekly producer.

Slot Receivers

Parris Campbell

Contract: 1 Year, $4.7M ($2.9M guaranteed)

The Giants signed a lot of slot receivers this offseason, but the one they prioritized money-wise was Parris Campbell. He got just under $3 million guaranteed and can get up to $4.7 million this season. That contract may not be super lucrative, but it is a lot more than what the Giants gave to other receivers. Campbell has been tormented by injuries throughout his career, but he was finally able to stay on the field last season.

After playing just 15 games in his first three seasons, Campbell played in all 17 games and posted a solid 91-63-623-3 statline. Metrics like Yards Per Route Run (1.11, No. 89) and Yards Per Team Pass Attempt (1.03, No. 67) don’t paint Campbell in a great light but it’s hard to blame him when the Colts’ offense was in such disarray last season.

Campbell did shine in other metrics like Route Win Rate (42.4-percent; No. 38) and Yards After Catch (269, No. 31). That suggests Campbell was able to win often and make plays after the catch, but didn’t get a ton of opportunities to do so behind Michael Pittman and a dreadful offense. Campbell has also showcased his versatility in camp. While he led the NFL in Slot Snaps last season, he’s taken some reps out of the backfield too.

The Giants’ depth at running back is weak behind Saquon Barkley. Maybe Campbell has some sneaky contingent upside in the event of a Barkley injury? Regardless, with an open target hierarchy behind Waller and a good shot to begin the season as the primary slot receiver, Campbell can make noise in a much better situation with the Giants. 

Jalin Hyatt

3.10 Draft Capital

You may think that Jalin Hyatt‘s speed would necessitate he play outside. Perhaps there is more to Hyatt’s game than we saw in Tennessee when he won the Biletnikoff Award last season. He was primarily a slot receiver last season (his only season with real playing time). And when he was in the slot, he was asked to run basic routes in one of the wonkiest offenses in college football. Hyatt was one of the more puzzling receivers I researched before the NFL Draft in the spring.

Hyatt has been making plays in camp and has flashed with the first team. When asked about the speedy receiver, head coach Brian Daboll mentioned Hyatt has “a long way to go,” seemingly indicating the plan is to bring Hyatt along slowly.

Hyatt enters a wide-open depth chart with a lot of variables. It is very possible Hyatt is the one who emerges from the pack. His speed is evident; it was reported that Hyatt clocked in at 24 miles per hour earlier in camp. But speed alone doesn’t grant playing time and Hyatt’s route tree and route running were limited while at Tennessee. It doesn’t seem likely that Hyatt earns major playing time right away.

Wan’Dale Robinson

2.11 Draft Capital

If Wan’Dale Robinson was healthy, not only would he likely be the favorite to emerge from this group of wide receivers, but he also probably would have prevented the Giants from needing to sign so many other slot receivers. Robinson was awesome as a rookie. A knee sprain stalled out his freshman season, but once he recovered from that, he took off. Robinson played in four games where he played at least 60-percent of the Giants’ snaps. He registered at least eight targets and six receptions in two of those games, including a 13-9-100 game against the Lions in Week 11. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in that game, but not before averaging a very good 2.03 Yards Per Route Run, 27.7-percent Target Rate, 19.6-percent Target Share, and 54.1-percent Route Win Rate.


The problem for Robinson is the torn ACL he suffered in Week 11 – November 20th. He will have 9-plus months to recover before Week 1 of the 2023 season. The good news is that slot receivers have delivered top notch seasons in fantasy the first season after their ACL tear at a way better rate than non-slot receivers. Last year when I debated the merits of Chris Godwin and DeAndre Hopkins, I evaluated how receivers who tore their ACL did the following season since Godwin was entering 2022 rehabbing a torn ACL.

Wan’Dale Robinson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The results were promising for slot receivers, and not as much for perimeter-bound players. Godwin himself averaged 14.7 PPR points per game post-ACL tear. That’s worse than other slot receivers like Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, and Julian Edelman after their ACL tears, but was good for the WR16 on a per game basis. Robinson is not necessarily on par with those players, but he performed very well before his ACL tear and recent data suggests he can after his tear, too. His advanced numbers show he was a very good prospect coming out of Kentucky. The Giants’ organization is more invested in Robinson than any receiver on their roster. If he can get on the field soon and shed the PUP tag, Robinson has a lot of things going for him.

Sterling Shepard

Contract: 1 Year, $1.3M (0 guaranteed)

All Sterling Shepard does when he gets on the field is produce. In 2020, the last season he played double-digit games, he posted a 25.3-percent Target Rate (No. 14) and 1.84 Yards Per Route Run (No. 37). His Target Rate was even better in 2021. Both metrics were better in 2022. But he played fewer games in the last two seasons (10) than he did in 2020 (12). He suffered both an Achilles tear (2021) and an ACL tear (2022) since that 2020 season.

Everything above about Robinson coming back from an ACL tear could apply to Shepard too, but it’s a bit harder to expect a bounce back with how many injuries Shepard has endured. The team doesn’t seem to have too much confidence either: the contract he signed doesn’t guarantee Shepard any money until Week 1, if he makes the team. Shepard should make the team, but if/when Robinson is healthy, he’s the better bet to get playing time between the two.

Veteran Insurance: Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder

Cole Beasley retired during the 2022 season. He then came back to rejoin the Buffalo Bills, but only caught six passes the entire season. Nevertheless, he has been getting work with the first team offense and has experience playing under Brian Daboll in Buffalo (Beasley caught 237 passes for 2,438 yards in three seasons with Daboll). Jamison Crowder also caught six passes in 2022 while with the Bills. Both Beasley and Crowder are in their 30s and have only $27,500 guaranteed between the two of them (all to Crowder). They’re insurance policies in case of injuries or poor performance by Campbell, Robinson, or Hyatt.

Outside Receivers

Isaiah Hodgins

Of any receiver on this team, the player with the most secure role is Isaiah Hodgins. Hodgins is the only X-receiver this team has, and he played the part well last season. A 21.6-percent Target Rate (No. 47 among wide receivers) isn’t the best mark, but his 1.8 Yards Per Route Run (No. 40), 0.46 Fantasy Points Per Route Run (No. 24), 2.13 Fantasy Points Per Target (No. 7) and 53-percent Route Win Rate (No. 1) were very good. He also fared well in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception metrics.

Hodgins did also score five touchdowns in a seven game span including the playoffs (it should’ve been six, but he had a touchdown called back against the Cowboys in Week 12). The TDs inflate his fantasy output a bit. His Target Share since joining the Giants was under 17-percent. With Waller, the new alpha in town, and Saquon Barkley under contract (for this season, at least), a target share around 17-20-percent seems like it will hold for Hodgins. He can perform with that. As The Podfather says, efficiency + opportunity = fantasy points. Hodgins had both last season and should have the X-receiver role practically all to himself in 2023. His ADP of 194.4 at the FFPC and 168.7 on Underdog are both steals.

Darius Slayton

Before the season, Darius Slayton was being shopped in trade talks so aggressively that he was making light of the situation. But when his number was called, he balled out like he did his first two seasons (740 and 751 yard seasons). Last year, his total was just below that: 724 yards, but he shined when digging deeper. His 2.10 Yards Per Route Run ranked No. 23 among all wide receivers in 2022. The Giants didn’t throw it deep much last season, but when they did, they looked to Slayton. Daniel Jones ranked No. 30 among quarterbacks in Deep Ball Attempts with 30; Slayton had 12 of those. 

Slayton seems locked in as the Giants’ flanker receiver. Hyatt could challenge him for that role at some point, but if the Giants plan to slow-play Hyatt, Slayton should continue to start. Slayton racked up at least 58 receiving yards in all but three games from Week 5 on in 2022. He did take a bit of a backseat after Hodgins emerged and will even more so after the acquisition of Waller, but Slayton is a good player and should be on the field. He too is worth a late-round dart throw at the end of your drafts.

The Decision

After breaking these receivers down, Hodgins (X), Slayton (Z), and Robinson (slot) are most likely to start in three-receiver sets if health allows. If it doesn’t, then Campbell could make noise from the slot. Of the starting trio, Robinson would be the one whose workload could be the most robust. Considering he goes last of this group and is a last-round pick on Underdog at the moment, he looks like a great target late in drafts, especially if he gets off the PUP list before camp winds down.

But Hodgins’ role is the most secure of any receiver on this team. Most importantly, he played well with the opportunities he got last season. No one mentioned here is going to leapfrog Waller, but all of them are worthwhile shots to take. Of the glut of receivers on this roster, Hodgins is the best and safest bet. He’s a good one with upside for where he goes in drafts.