The 2017 NFL regular season has concluded, so it’s time to briefly examine the state of each team’s skill positions for fantasy purposes with an eye towards next season. I will be reviewing each team in the reverse order of the 2017 NFL standings. The next team on the docket:
New York Giants (3-13)
Eli Manning suffered through his worst statistical season since 2013, as injuries and coaching ineptitude propelled the Giants down a path few would have predicted during the 2017 off-season. Additionally, Manning’s consecutive start streak of 210 games was unceremoniously halted when since-fired Giants head coach Ben McAdoo benched him for Geno Smith in Week 15, as if Smith were somehow the cure for all that ailed the team. With McAdoo having been shown the door, it seems the talk of the Giants moving on from Manning as well has quelled, though it’s clear the veteran QB doesn’t have much left in the tank. The return of a healthy Odell Beckham should make Manning a serviceable quarterback streamer during some weeks of the 2018 season, though he won’t be worthy of a selection in fantasy drafts this coming summer.
Orleans Darkwa was the Giants’ leading rusher, and his 4.4 yards-per-carry (YPC) is all the more impressive considering the abominable play of the offensive line. A free agent this coming off-season, Darkwa is a candidate to land elsewhere and could find value as an early-down/short yardage specialist. Wayne Gallman spent the first three games of the season as a healthy inactive, but was pressed into duty when Darkwa missed Week 4 with a back injury, and responded with 50 total yards and a score. Gallman never found the end zone again the rest of the season, but he was able to remain in the Giants backfield plans, posting double-digit touches in each of his final four contests. Gallman would appear the favorite to start for the Giants next season should Darkwa sign elsewhere, and could enter 2018 as a potential RB2 assuming the Giants decide not to bring in any competition. Shane Vereen was supposed to be the Giants’ primary receiving back this past season, but saw his role decrease at the expense of Gallman’s. Going on 29 years of age with an expiring contract, Vereen is no lock to be back with the Giants next season either. Paul Perkins began the 2017 season as the Giants’ primary early down RB, going for just 61 yards on 32 carries (1.9 yard average) from Weeks 1-4 before being sidelined with a rib injury. Perkins returned in Week 9 but only saw nine more carries the rest of the season and will most likely need to fight for a roster spot this summer.
|Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham’s season was nearly over before it began, as he suffered a severe ankle sprain in Week 3 of the pre-season that could have been much worse than it was. Beckham only ended up missing the season opener with the injury, though it’s possible he returned too soon, as he ended up re-injuring the same ankle in Week 5 and missed the rest of the season as a result. With Eli Manning looking likely to return for another season as the Giants’ starting QB, Beckham should remain in the mix as a top 5 fantasy wideout barring any injury setbacks. Brandon Marshall was brought in via a two-year $12 million free agent contract to be the Giants no. 2 wideout, and turned out to be a colossal dud posting two catches or fewer in three of the season’s first give games before also bowing out in Week 5 for the remainder of the year with an ankle injury of his own. Should the Giants decide to bring Marshall back for the 2018 season, he won’t have any fantasy value at age 34. Sterling Shepard led the Giants in receiving, and shined at times over the second half of the season with a pair of of 11-catch outings in which he posted at least 139 receiving yards in each. Unfortunately, the injury bug in New York was quite contagious, and Shepard was not immune, missing 5 total games due to migraine, ankle, and neck issues. If Marshall is indeed let go this off-season, Shepard should be able to return WR3 value in 2018 as a complementary piece to Beckham.
Evan Engram’s final numbers reflect the best statistical performance from a rookie tight end since Rob Gronkowski went 42-546-10 back in 2010. After Week 5, Engram essentially was the Giants’ receiving game with both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall shut down for the season and Sterling Shepard being shuffled in and out of the lineup with his own injury issues. Essentially a wide receiver with tight end eligibility, Engram should carry low-end TE1 value and is a candidate to take another step forward with a new coaching staff and all the pieces around him healthier.