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New York Giants
Stadium : Met Life Stadium (outside)
Schedule Strength : 13th (at Baltimore Week 16)
Postseason Weather issues : vs. New Orleans (Week 14), at Baltimore (Week 16)
Offensive Line Ranking : 14th
Head Coach – Tom Coughlin (Disciple of Bill Parcells)
Coughlin’s rise in the coaching ranks began as the offensive coordinator at Boston College, mentoring a young quarterback by the name of Doug Flutie. Coughlin later entered the NFL as a wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, but returned to Boston College as the head coach in 1991. Coughlin was eventually appointed the head coach for the NFL expansion Jacksonville Jaguars whereby he utilized a strong passing system with Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith. Hired as the New York Giants head coach in 2004, Coughlin has led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories, and is now mentioned amongst the games great head coaches (ironic considering he was on the “hot seat” just four years ago). The offensive system in New York is pretty well established relying on a balanced run-and-shoot system. No real major surprises.
Offensive Coordinator – Kevin Gilbride
Gilbride has predominantly been an offensive coordinator for much of his NFL career, making a name for himself implementing the Warren Moon led run-and-shoot offense with the Houston Oilers (as well as his altercation with Buddy Ryan in which Ryan took a swing at Gilbride on the sidelines). He’s proven time-and-again that he is not afraid to throw the football on any given play, but also stays within the confines of a balanced running attack when called upon. This system hasn’t changed much over the years, and 2012 won’t be any different.
QB – Eli Manning
Did you know Manning is the younger brother of a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback? Entering the 2011 season, Manning declared himself “elite,” and proved it averaging 20.3 fantasy points per game and finishing sixth in fantasy scoring (he also won his second Super Bowl, passing his big brother in the family hierarchy). Coming into his ninth season as a starting quarterback in the NFL we know exactly what we’ll get out of Manning - solid mid-to-upper level QB1 type numbers. Player Rating of 8.8.
RB – Ahmad Bradshaw
In the 2007 NFL Draft, Bradshaw was selected in the seventh round with the 250th overall pick, nearly becoming “Mr. Irrelevant.” Despite his draft status, Bradshaw is one of the league’s most talented players showing the ability to be a three-down running back while running with surprising power for a man less than 200 pounds (maybe that big number 44 on his jersey helps). Bradshaw has had significant foot injuries, but still managed to finish the season. The primary problem that we always encounter in selecting a Giants' tailback is the constant running back by committee implemented in New York. Despite the release of Brandon Jacobs, the Giants went out and spent a first-round selection on Virginia Tech running back David Wilson. The incoming rookie will limit Bradshaw’s carries, however being the incumbent starter should indicate a 65-35 split. That gives Bradshaw a player rating of 8.3.
RB2 – David Wilson
As mentioned above, Wilson became the Giants’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (although rumors surfaced the Giants really wanted Boise State running back Doug Martin). The problem with rookie running backs today is their inability to understand defensive schemes/blitz pickup, putting their quarterback at risk, in this case Eli Manning. Although the Giants have become infamous for utilizing a running back by committee approach, Wilson will be eased into the role. He will garner roughly 35 percent of the team’s total touches. His upside is playing behind yellow flag, injury prone starter Ahmad Bradshaw, giving Wilson handcuff/deep sleeper value with a rating of 7.2, which would skyrocket should Bradshaw succumb to injury.
WR – Hakeem Nicks
Easily amongst the NFL’s most gifted wide receivers, Nicks has the size, hands and downfield speed to be a prolific fantasy contributor. However, Nicks is currently recovering from foot surgery and there is speculation he may not return for the beginning of the regular season (although Nicks claims he’ll be ready). Also, Nicks has proven to be a red flag, injury prone player, suffering multiple injuries during his short time in the NFL, including hamstring, calf and now foot issues. No doubt he has tremendous upside, but the risk may not be worth the reward. Player Rating of 8.5.
WR2 – Victor Cruz
In 2011, Cruz set the NFL on fire averaging 11.7 fantasy points per game (Cam Newton was the only undrafted player having a greater impact on fantasy football). I kick myself for not seeing his emergence after witnessing his skill set during the 2010 preseason, just before injuring himself and landing on Injured Reserve. Now entering his third season, we find no reason to believe Cruz's success will not continue. In fact, a common fantasy football trend is the increased performance from a wide receiver during his third season. We must also factor that Cruz is playing in a contract year, and like Deion Sanders put it best - “Guys just seem to run faster with empty pockets.” Let us not forget he has Eli Manning throwing him the ball. Finally, Cruz could exit the season as the Giants’ No. 1 wide receiver should Nicks’ recovery linger. Player Rating of 9.4.
TE – Martellus Bennett
Here is a real intriguing player. Bennett plays in a solid passing offense, has an “elite” quarterback, while possessing the qualities to be a blocker and solid receiving tight end (meaning he’ll stay in most of the game). Bennett also has the size to be a red zone threat, equating to higher percentage touchdown opportunities. Furthermore, Eli Manning has proven to favor tight ends dating back to Jeremy Shockey, but also producing with a lesser talented Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, who has subsequently been released. Bennett is on my sleeper board with a Player Rating of 8.1, and could climb dependent upon his preseason performance.
D/ST - New York Giants
Plagued by multiple injuries, the Giants defense had a down year in 2011, finishing the season ranked 23rd in fantasy scoring. Getting back starting cornerback Terrell Thomas and fully healthy Osi Umenyiora will improve this team. I’m also a big believer in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. The one strike against this unit is playing opposite a solid offense, which always forces their competitor to throw the ball more in order to keep pace. I see the Giants as a low-end D1 with a rating of 8.1.
K – Lawrence Tynes
Unimpressive statistics in 2011 have me concerned. Playing outside in the Northeast is also a negative. Find better options. Player Rating of 7.6.
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