Odell Beckham Jr.
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Odell Beckham, Jr. is not happy with his lack of production and the Giants’ inability to get the ball downfield. It is particularly frustrating considering the Giants have Saquon Barkley to take some pressure off of Eli Manning and the passing game. Will Beckham’s expression of his displeasure result in the squeaky wheel getting greased?
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I’m venturing to guess the answer is yes.
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Through four games Beckham has yet to score a touchdown. This is a guy that entered the season with 38 touchdowns in 47 career games.
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It’s not for lack of trying. Beckham has been targeted 45 times in four games (11.25 per game), securing 31 of them (7.75 per game) for 331 yards (82.75 per game). His longest reception of the season went for 30 yards and his 10.7 yards per catch is well below his 13.8 career average.
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The Giants obviously aren’t intentionally not trying to frustrate the highest paid receiver in the league.
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The game plan has been, and will continue to remain heavily focused on getting the ball to playmakers like Odell and Barkley.
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Carolina yielded 272 yards to Matt Ryan, including 64 to WR1 Julio Jones and 352 yards to Andy Dalton, including 58 to WR1 AJ Green. WR2s Calvin Ridley (64 yards, TD) and Tyler Boyd (132 yards, TD) have had more success. Sterling Shepard should be a solid play as well this week, but I think this is the week we see a touchdown dance from Odell.
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barkley
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The most controversial decision of night one of the NFL Draft was Cleveland’s selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield at number one overall. But the second pick in the draft could have been just as controversial, as the New York Giants drafted running back Saquon Barkley at number two. Given the team’s current situation, should the Giants have drafted a quarterback instead of opting for the ultra-talented Barkley?
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Giants Quarterback Woes
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New York Giants fans have not had to worry about who their quarterback would be in the future for a very long time. That is because the team grabbed Eli Manning in a trade with the San Diego Chargers for Philip Rivers early in their draft class. Since then, Manning has been the starter for all but a handful of games for the team. But his struggles in recent seasons had our mock draft leaning toward the Giants taking a quarterback second overall.
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Manning threw for less than 3,500 yards last season despite throwing the ball 571 times, the fifth highest number of attempts in a season during his career. He has thrown 13 or more interceptions in every season of his career since 2009, and the Giants looked impotent offensively with him out there last year. Of course, not all of this was his fault, but it is clear that Eli may be past his prime as a quarterback in the NFL.
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That is what made the second overall pick the perfect opportunity to take a quarterback. The Giants could have given themselves a future at the position to improve for years to come. And while Saquon Barkley has the support of some former Giants, he will need to be great to justify being picked second.
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More Important Issues
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There is no doubt that the Giants were one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL last season. They finished 26th in the NFL in rushing yardage, with less than 1,600 yards as a team for the campaign. Bringing in Saquon Barkley is an attempt to fix that, but it does nothing to solve the root of the Giants’ issues: their offensive line.
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In the 2017 season, the Giants scored six rushing touchdowns total. That anemic mark was the result of the offensive line of the Giants failing to get a push at the line of scrimmage. And while Saquon Barkley is a good player, he will not be able to block for himself. While some are choosing to be critical of Barkley for the wrong reasons, it is a fact that he will need help to get enough space to be effective.
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Moreover, the Giants drafted Barkley thanks in large part to his receiving abilities. There is nothing wrong with wanting a running back who can catch the ball, but the Giants already have a loaded receiving corps. Drafting a running back who averaged less than 20 carries per game in two of his three seasons at Penn State when you need a Zeke Elliott type of bell cow in the back field is a decision worth questioning.
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Chance To Repeat History
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In the NFL, there is the saying that it is a quarterback league. And with the Giants at preseason odds of 50/1 to win Super Bowl LIII according to the bookmarker Betway as of May 2, the second overall pick would have been a great chance to let history repeat itself for the Giants by drafting a quarterback. Doing so would have let the young player learn from Manning, the same way Manning had the chance to learn from veteran quarterback Kurt Warner.
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This would have been especially prudent in an NFL landscape where even the slightest injury to a quarterback can damage their hopes of winning a title. Right in the Giants’ division, the Philadelphia Eagles will be set for years to come thanks to their decision to draft Carson Wentz. If Barkley is anything short of a great player, the Giants will regret not making a similar decision.
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There is, of course, a great chance that Saquon Barkley becomes a talented and useful player for the Giants for years to come. But in a quarterback league, failure to solidify yourself at the quarterback position for as long as possible can be disastrous. For the Giants, only time will tell if they made the right decision.
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IMAGE CREDITS – Flickr

Brandon Marshall
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The New York Giants made a splash by signing Brandon Marshall to join forces with Odell Beckham, Jr. to give the G-Men one of the best wide receiver duos in the league.
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The clear winner in this signing is Eli Manning. He now has two top 20 receivers at his disposal. The Giants offense is heavily geared towards the passing attack and this will help. If receivers try to take Odell away, Marshall will make them pay. Play Odell without help over the top, you’ll pay. It’s great news for Eli.
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Brandon Marshall also gets a boost. He gets an upgrade at quarterback and is in a more favorable offense. He finished with just 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns. In 2015 he had 109 catches for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns. Look for Marshall to land somewhere in the middle of those two campaigns. He’s a solid WR2 going into 2017.
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You would think that Odell Beckham, Jr. takes a little hit as Marshall will command a lot of targets, but I think there is plenty to go around. Beckham had 101 catches for 1, 367 yards and 10 TDs. He wasn’t as dominant as he was in previous years, but it’s hard to be upset about his production. He should be able to match last year’s production. Marshall will take some of the attention away from Beckham. He should also push him to be at his very best
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Sterling Shepard’s value takes a hit. He caught 65 passes for 683 yards and 8 touchdowns as a rookie. I think he can match or beat the receptions and yardage totals, but he likely takes a hit in the touchdown department. One would have predicted he take a major leap in his second year, but that isn’t likely to be the case now that Marshall is in town. He’ll likely remain on the WR4-5 radar.

Rashad Jennings
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New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings ran the ball 195 times last year for 863 yards on a 4.4 yards per carry basis. He scored three rushing touchdowns. Jennings added 29 receptions for 296 yards and another score. Will the departure of Andre Williams bolster Jennings’ fantasy value?
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My initial though is yes.
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Andre Williams had 88 carries last year for 257 yards (2.9 ypc) and one score. With the big back gone, Jennings should see additional goal-line carries, which helps his fantasy stock immensely.
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Jennings was a force down the stretch last year averaging 130.3 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns during the last four games of the year. His success came against the likes of Carolina and Minnesota so it wasn’t like he just took advantage of the bottom feeders of the NFL.
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Jennings is 31 so you have to temper your expectations a little. The presence of pass catching specialist Shane Vereen also impacts Jennings value.
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Still, Jennings is a borderline RB2. I have him inside the top twenty for the first week of the season.
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Meanwhile, Williams landed in San Diego. He’ll work behind Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead. He could eventually carve out some fantasy value for the Chargers.
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About the only stable running back scene in the NFC East belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. LeSean McCoy ran for 1080 yards and seven touchdowns. He added to his totals with a ridiculous 78 catches for 592 yards and two more scores. Sure, he’ll lose some touchdowns to Michael Vick, but he doesn’t have much competition from other running backs. McCoy is a solid RB1.
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Felix Jones is the lead back in Dallas, but the Cowboys fully expect to share the workload. Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray will be in the mix, but they probably won’t do enough for fantasy teams barring injury. Jones is best suited as an RB3 at this point. Marion Barber III is unlikely to return gone.
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Ahmad Bradshaw is in limbo until the lockout is settled. If he become a restricted free agent he will likely remain with the Giants. If he is unrestricted he’ll go to the highest bidder. I like his prospects better if he stays with the G-Men, but I wouldn’t shy away from him if he bolts. Bradshaw is a solid RB2 regardless. Brandon Jacobs is also in limbo. The Giants could ask him to take a paycut. Whether or not he’ll be willing to do so will determine his fantasy worth. Like Bradshaw I like Jacobs better if he returns to the Giants. He’s a solid RB3 that would get a boost in value if Bradshaw leaves.
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Then there’s Washington. Ryan Torain had some moments last year, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. He’s a big risk that should probably be no better than a RB4. Torain will have to share the load with rookie Roy Helu, who has a good chance of becoming the most productive of his class this year. Clinton Portis is unlikely to return.
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The NFC East has three established quarterbacks and one messy situation.
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Michael Vick is the number one fantasy quarterback in the division. He’s a bit of a risk in part because of injuries and in part because he’s never had a season like last year. He has the tools to succeed and the weapons around him to flourish, but we won’t know if he still has the drive to be a better quarterback. He’s easily a top tier QB1, but he has more risk than the likes of Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Manning. Kevin Kolb is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. He could find himself traded, possibly to Arizona. He makes a decent QB2 if he’s a starter.
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Tony Romo put up big numbers when he is healthy. Dez Bryant is immature, but he gives Romo another quality weapon. He’s averaged 2699.5 yards and 1.9 touchdown passes per game over the past four years (51 games). His lack of playoff success keeps him from the Brady, Peyton, and Brees discussions, but he is possibly the best value among fantasy quarterbacks because of it.
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Eli Manning reached 4000 yards for the second straight season. Not bad for a team that historically likes to run the football. His career high of 31 touchdowns gives him an average of 29 over the past two years and 25 over the past six. He really formed a nice rapport with Hakeem Nicks and remains a solid QB1 if you want to address other needs or a high-end QB2.
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Then there is Washington. Donovan McNabb is as good as gone, which marks the second straight season he’s been sent packing. I don’t know if he’s a starting caliber quarterback anymore. Even if he finds a new gig, his fantasy days are most likely behind him. Rex Grossman could be brought back, but it appears John Beck could get a chance to show what he can do. This is a situation to avoid. Not only are the QB options mediocre at best, but they are running thin in the playmaker department.
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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Hakeem Nicks had a solid rookie season for the Giants last year. He caught 47 passes for 790 yards (16.8 ypc) and 6 TDs. He had 411 yards after the catch, which is an impressive number given his relatively few receptions. He is big at 6’0″, 215 lbs with good speed, making him difficult to bring down. He should turn in another solid season, but are people drinking a little too much of the Giants’ Kool-Aid?

 

Nicks has an ADP of 53 (19th WR) according to Mock Draft Central. I have him as my 24th WR (click to see my WR rankings), but I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him quite so early. I prefer the likes of Dwyane Bowe, Percy Harvin, Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Pierre Garcon, and others that have lower ADPs. If Nicks is on my team, it will be as a WR3. I don’t see that happening based on this scenario.

 

It’s not that I dislike him, but I am going to temper my expectations. I am predicting 65 catches for 950 yards and 6 TDs. Not bad numbers, but not numbers you expect out of the fifth pick of the fifth round in fantasy drafts either. Not unless they are coming from a tight end.


The problem is the Giants have a lot of options in the passing game. Steve Smith is the clear #1. Mario Manningham figures to see at least as many targets as Nicks. Kevin Boss and Ahmad Bradshaw, provided they can stay healthy, should also have decent roles in the passing attack.


I’m also expecting a more balanced attack this year. The Giants attempted 542 passes to just 443 running plays. I would expect fewer attempts from Manning and more carries from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Andre Brown, if he can recover from his Achilles injury, could formulate the three-head monster the Giants used with great success in 2008.


If the Giants are running more and passing less, it stands to reason the G-men WRs will suffer, especially considering how many quality options they have. Throw in his injury history from last year, and I just can’t trust him quite at 53.


What are your thoughts on Hakeem Nicks?

 

The G-Men had question marks at WR and turned out three that had solid seasons. The running game took a step back. I see the running game bouncing back at the expense of the air attack.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Difficult
First they have to travel to Minnesota in Week 14. They return home to face the Eagles. Then they travel to Green Bay in the fantasy championship.

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

Four Star Fantasy Options
Eli Manning – Manning had an impressive season throwing for 4021 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs, a 62.3 completion percentage, and 93.1 passer rating. All of those numbers, except for the INTs, were career bests. He is a decent starting fantasy QB, but as I said, I expect the Giants to utilize the rushing attack more.

Steve Smith – Smith came out of nowhere to deliver for the G-Men in a big way. He had 107 catches for 1220 yards and 7 TDs. I expect a step back from Smith, but he still should be a solid WR2.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Brandon Jacobs – His 835 yards and 5 TDs were a far cry from the 1089 yards and 15 TDs he had in 2008. He suffered through injuries last year, which have been a problem most of his career. If he can stay healthy he can approach double-digit TDs. I wouldn’t bank on 1000 yards for him though.

Ahmad Bradshaw – Bradshaw almost certainly will have more total yards than Jacobs. Health could be a concern for Bradshaw as well, but he is very talented.

Hakeem Nicks – Nicks had fewer catches (47) and yards (790) than Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, but he offers the most upside. He has big play ability. Consistency could be an issue.

Giants Defense/Special Teams – They had a myriad of injuries in the secondary, but should be improved in that department. They are always a good bet to pile up the sacks.

Two Star Fantasy Options
Mario Manningham – Manningham was second in receptions and yardage last year, but is likely to be the third receiver this year. There will be times that you want to use him, but he’s more of a depth option at this point.

Kevin Boss – Boss had 567 yard and 5 TDs last year, which is solid, but I don’t seem much room for improvement. He’s a high-end TE2, but I wouldn’t want him as my starter.

One Star Fantasy Options
Andre Brown – What will Brown do for you? He’s coming off a serious Achilles injury so you will have to see his progress before you consider him. He’s probably at least a  year away (if he ever makes it at this level).

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

The NFL can be very polarizing. If you are a fan of the Houston Texas or a fan of USC football, maybe you don’t think the NFL or the Associated Press should strip Brian Cushing’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award for testing positive for PEDs. After all, Shawne Merriman was still named to the Pro Bowl following his positive test.

 

There is also talk that Lawrence Taylor should be kicked out of the NFL Hall of Fame if he is found guilty of the charges he’s facing involving solicitation of a minor. I can certainly understand that argument.

 

In both cases the player’s image and the league’s image took a hit. The last thing the NFL needs now is negative publicity, especially after Big Ben’s actions.  There is a difference though, and that’s the reason I have differing opinions on the way the honors of Cushing and LT should be treated.

 

Brian Cushing tested positive in September meaning the actions he took affected his play. Obviously it’s impossible to know which players were using PEDs, but given the facts we know about Cushing he wasn’t playing on a level playing field. Would he have played at such a high level without PEDs? Hard to say, but I know how baseball players are judged when they get caught for the same infraction. Just because we like to see bigger, stronger athletes in football, doesn’t mean they should get a free pass. If you want to maintain the integrity that the NFL is striving for, stripping the award would be a step in the right direction.

 

As for LT, what he is accused of is awful. Plain and simple. However, it did not have any bearing on what he did on the playing field. The Hall of Fame is a museum that celebrates the best players to ever pull on a helmet, leather or otherwise. Until you go through and remove players like O.J. Simpson, who have been charged with, and found guilty at least civilly, of at the least equally as heinous a crime, you shouldn’t pass that judgement on Taylor. I’m sure all the Hall of Fames have inductees with unsavory pasts. Taylor isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

“The Lineup: New York’s All-Time Best Baseball Players,” a new original series and interactive fantasy game that will determine the best baseball players in the history of New York, will air its second episode tomorrow night on MSG Network with “First Basemen,” the second of ten weekly episodes. Not surprisingly Yogi Berra was the all-time Catcher. Each 30-minute episode of “The Lineup” will present a number of nominees for consideration at each position, from the Yankees, Mets, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, with one episode dedicated to the best New York manager of all-time. MSG’s Fran Healy will host a panel, consisting of Hall of Fame Mets catcher Gary Carter, former Yankee bullpen ace Sparky Lyle, New York Magazine contributing editor and baseball aficionado Will Leitch, and executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau Steve Hirdt. The panel will whittle down a larger list of players from each position and determine the top five from each spot on the diamond. By the end of each episode, they will crown the top player at each position and name him to the official “Lineup” card.

With an interactive fantasy game launched in conjunction with the on-air program and hosted on http://msg.com/lineup/, viewers can see how they stack up against The Lineup’s experts. Fans will try to predict the five players who will be nominated each week and ultimately who will be selected as the starter in the final “Lineup.” Participants will receive points for each correct pick and will be eligible for weekly prizes such as signed memorabilia from baseball greats like Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. At the end of the series, the participant with the most points will win a Grand Prize. The site will also feature chats for fans to interact and debate each position, quizzes about the nominated players, photo and video galleries, and player statistics for fans to comb through before making their picks.


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