The 2013 Giants boasted the franchise’s worst offense in at least 10 years. So they hired OC Ben McAdoo for 2014 and jumped from 28th in scoring and yardage to 13 in scoring and 10th in yardage. Last season found another rise, to 6th and 8th, respectively.
That got McAdoo hired to succeed Tom Coughlin as the HC. Then the team drafted WR Sterling Shepard, RB Paul Perkins and TE Jerell Adams. Throw in the return of Victor Cruz, and training camp will feature plenty points of interest.
But where should you focus as you prepare for your fantasy football draft? Let’s jump into the Giants fantasy football preview ...
What will happen: Rashad Jennings will pay off
This one’s easy. Jennings will basically need to lose his starting job in summer or get hurt in Week 1 to not deliver on his draft price. And you can draft him so late that there’s almost no risk.
MFL10 ADP finds him going 39th among RBs, midway through Round 9. He’s going so late that the only reason to pass on him at all is that you already have as many RBs as you want. That will be less of an issue as we move from best-ball draft season to more traditional leagues.
The only risk with Jennings is that rookie Paul Perkins wows in his 1st camp. We probably like the former Bruin as much as you do, but we’re also talking about a 5th-round pick here. It’s not like the Giants made a Kenyan Drake-type move to secure him. Otherwise, the backfield sports strict pass-catcher Shane Vereen and the slimmer but still marginally talented Andre Williams. That guy’s insurance; not a threat.
Jennings, meanwhile, saw his touch volume spike late last season. Over the 1st 12 games of 2015, he garnered 55% or more of the team carries only once. Jennings hit 70% in 3 of the final 4 contests. And in 2014 -- HC Ben McAdoo’s 1st season as OC -- Jennings’ 15.2 carries per game ranked 12th in the league.
What won’t happen: Andre Williams will become relevant
Raise your hand if you watched Williams lumber to 3.3 yards per carry as a 2014 rookie and then 2.9 yards per rush last year -- and then thought, “If he were just skinnier, he’d be really good.”
If your hand is up, then please let someone else draft your team.
Williams’ plodding start to his pro career only supported the initial concern for his athleticism. That’s why he lasted until the 4th round after rushing for 2,177 yards as a Boston College senior.
And Williams offers zero receiving upside. He caught just 10 balls across 4 seasons at BC, including a whopping 0 in his lone full turn as the backfield starter.
The Giants’ RB group presents versatile backs in Rashad Jennings and rookie Paul Perkins, as well as a strong receiving back in Shane Vereen. That leaves Williams as a power back who ran for just 1 TD last year in the league’s #6 scoring offense.
Ignore him on draft day.
What might happen: The defense will finish top 6
Last year’s D stunk. The crew allowed the 3rd most points in the league and ranked last in yards allowed. The unit didn’t play well against the run or the pass either, ranking 25th in passing TDs yielded and 26th in rushing TDs.
Yet the Giants still finished 8 of 16 weeks in fantasy-starter territory. Credit 4 defensive TDs, a number only 4 teams exceeded and 2 others matched. The Giants also did well in turnovers, forcing the 6th most in the league.
Then they spent the offseason throwing money at DE Olivier Vernon and CB Janoris Jenkins. Add Vernon to a line that will also have a healthier Jason Pierre-Paul from the beginning of the season, and we should see the team beat last season’s #30 finish in sacks. Jenkins can further help an already decent INT rate that ranked 13th in 2015.
There’s also upside at safety, where 3rd-round rookie Darian Thompson’s the favorite to start at FS next to 2015 rookie SS Landon Collins. And the LB corps at least added some players, with nowhere to go but up from last season’s version.
Depending on your scoring format, last year’s Giants just might have finished top 12, despite holding just 2 opponents to fewer than 21 points -- and only 1 to fewer than 18. Any improvement over that performance could turn this group into a fantasy D that you can actually count on.
Don’t consider this a vote for drafting the Giants defense high, but rather a reminder that you can wait pretty much as long as you want (outside of MyFantasyLeague.com public-league drafts) and still find decent options.