2012 Fantasy Football Preview: New York Giants

Contributed by: Michael Schwartz
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2012 1:44 PM

QB Eli Manning - Last season was a remarkable one for the Giants as Eli Manning entered the peak of his career.

He showed great poise under pressure in the playoffs and led an explosive passing offense that has become accustomed to throwing bombs and creating big plays.

The results showed as Manning nearly threw for 5,000 yards and scored the 6th most points amongst QBs last year.

However, there is risk with taking Manning because he gets picked off a lot in New York’s risk-taking offense and the Giants' QB had 6 games with 14 points or fewer.

However, with great targets like Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz in a pass-heavy offense, Manning justifies his place as the 6th best fantasy QB.       

RB Ahmad Bradshaw - Bradshaw’s fantasy production has steadily declined over the last couple of years due to health issues and poor run blocking. Bradshaw’s foot once again affected his availability as he had to miss four games due to a stress fracture in his foot.

While the foot problems won’t go away, another red flag is the regression of the Giants' offensive line as New York became dead last in rushing yards per game and per carry. However, touchdowns are the redeeming factor for Bradshaw owners as the 11 he scored last season were vital to many fantasy owners.

With Brandon Jacobs being replaced with rookie David Wilson, the touches for Bradshaw may slightly increase especially in the red zone. Bradshaw is a solid second-tier running back though owners should be wary of his foot.     

RB David Wilson - A wise move for all Bradshaw owners would be picking up rookie David Wilson as a handcuff as the first round draft pick could be a sleeper. The potential breakout rookie largely resembles Bradshaw in that he’s fast and he doesn’t shy away from contact.

Wilson has big-play potential written all over him and he seems to have a secure hold on the backup role considering the Giants' depth chart. However, as a rookie, there are many things Wilson needs to improve on as he needs to be a more direct runner with better field vision.

Wilson doesn’t have great hands and he must get better at blocking. Yet, his biggest problem is that he fumbled the ball way too much in college and if he doesn’t develop better ball security, he’ll never get out of Coughlin’s doghouse.          

WR Hakeem Nicks - Nicks is one of the Giants' two top receivers and truly should be commended for his unbelievable form in the playoffs (28 catches for 444 yards and 4 touchdowns). He benefitted from the opposition focusing on the explosive Victor Cruz which could continue throughout this season.

With Mario Manningham gone, Nicks will be a key presence in the red zone as he has superb hands and is a fantastic route-runner. However, he’s highly-rated so he’ll have to be drafted as a No. 1 WR which is risky due to health concerns.

Like Bradshaw, Nicks also has foot issues as he broke a bone in his foot during minicamp. While he is expected to be ready for the star of the season, injuries could derail his season.

WR Victor Cruz - Victor Cruz took the NFL by storm last year as he showed remarkable bursts of explosive speed as a slot receiver. The Giants allowed Mario Manningham to walk because of how confident they are about Cruz as their No. 2 receiver.

However, defenses focused a lot on shutting out his big-play ability in the playoffs and that could continue this season. He also is expected to transition from being a slot receiver to lining up on the outside which could lower his value. Cruz’s fantasy significance came primarily from big plays as 5 of his 9 touchdowns were from 68 or more yards.

Therefore, it’s risky to feel assured that he’s going to have as many big plays as he had last year. And owners will have to pay as if he’s going to automatically be a No. 1 WR which is a huge gamble considering he only had one red zone touchdown. Yet, because he’s healthy and Manning loves to go deep, Cruz is still a valuable receiver to own.        

WR Rueben Randle - Considered to be a massive steal for the Giants in the second round of the NFL Draft, the LSU receiver was a highly regarded WR prospect. Known to be a combination of A.J. Green and Julio Jones, Randle will immediately replace Mario Manningham (now with the San Francisco 49ers) as the third best receiver in the Giants’ strong aerial attack.

Considered to be a clone of Nicks because of his speed, size and hands, Randle is a potential sleeper and a breakout rookie who could do well in the red zone.   

TE Martellus Bennett - After four years in Dallas, Bennett was acquired by the Giants and will finally get his chance to be a starter. He never fulfilled his enormous promise in Dallas because he had limited opportunities to shine while playing behind Jason Witten.

However, he’s 25 and boasts ideal size and speed which could do wonders for the Giants. Whether it was Kevin Boss or Jake Ballard, Manning has always been generous with his tight ends and that’s why a tremendous athlete like Bennett could prove to be a sleeper. Bennett could be a late-round steal for fantasy owners if the former Cowboys tight end connects often with Manning down the field.           

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