Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.
Key fantasy storyline
Seemingly every year a running back comes along who fascinates the fantasy football community and quickly moves from sleeper to overvalued. In my opinion, we've made it through that whole cycle with Giants' new starting running back David Wilson.
Before raining on the parade, there is a reason why everyone is falling all over themselves to draft Wilson. He's a running back who can do it all with the ball in his hands. He's one of the fastest backs in the league and can score from anywhere on the field. He didn't get a shot to show off his pass-catching abilities last year, but he did have 37 receptions for 363 yards and five touchdowns in his final two years combined at Virginia Tech. He's the type of back who can put up 30-point fantasy days, thanks to his home-run ability. Roll that all up into a guy who you can get late in the second round or early in the third, and it's easy to see why he has fantasy owners swooning.
Here comes that aforementioned rain. While Wilson very well may pull a 2009 Jamaal Charles on us, there are two strikes against him which fantasy owners cannot ignore. The first is the presence of Andre Brown. He served as the Giants' goal-line back last year, and did so admirably, scoring eight touchdowns in 10 games. Even if Wilson is the feature back, you can bet that Tom Coughlin will be sending Brown into the game once the Giants get close to the goal-line. That means Wilson is going to have to do all his scoring from distance, and that is a lot trickier than it sounds.
Secondly, the Giants' coaching staff was quite displeased with Wilson's pass protection last year. The two big-ticket players on offense are Eli Manning and Victor Cruz, and the Giants are already mulling throwing a big contract at Hakeem Nicks, as well. Make no mistake about it, this is a passing offense. If Wilson cannot prove to the coaches that he can handle pass pro and pick up blitzing linebackers and defensive backs, he'll find himself glued to the bench in obvious passing situations.
Would I take Wilson on my fantasy team? Of course I would, at the right price. I just don't think that's going to be the tag attached to his name on draft day. I'd rather have Stevan Ridley or DeMarco Murray, and would consider Lamar Miller over Wilson, as well.
|New York Giants' 2013 schedule|
|Including a look at how the Giants' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season.|
Stats via FFToday.com
The Giants don't really get any favors within the NFC part of their schedule. The East isn't what it used to be, but none of four games against the North will be easy. The also draw the Seahawks out of the West and the Panthers, who likely had the best defense in the South last year. Things are a little easier when they mix it up with the AFC, as the West featured weak defenses a year ago, outside of Denver. The Giants could be in for a tough road when in the fantasy playoffs. They draw the Seahawks Week 15 and Lions Week 16.
QB: Eli Manning, David Carr, Ryan Nassib
RB: David Wilson, Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott, Ryan Torain
WR: Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy, Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan
TE: Brandon Myers, Bear Pascoe, Adrien Robinson
|New York Giants' 2012 defensive rankings|
The once-vaunted Giants defense fell off a cliff last year, allowing 383 yards per game. When they were at the top of their game, they got after the passer better than any team in the NFL. They had 33 sacks last season, which was good enough for 22nd. They were able to get away with allowing so many yards because they had 35 takeaways, third most in the league behind the Bears and Patriots.
They lost Osi Umenyiora to the Falcons, but defensive end remains a position of strength with Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka. They also got bigger on the interior part of their line, signing Cullen Jenkins away from division rival Philadelphia. That should help shore up a rush defense that ranked 25th in the league last year.
The starting secondary returns entirely intact, with Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara at the corners, and Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle at the safeties, though a healthy Terrell Thomas could factor in at safety, as well.
The only major difference on the defense is new middle linebacker Dan Connor, whom they signed after he spent last year with the Cowboys. That's an area of concern for the Giants, as they'll struggle to replace the departed Chase Blackburn. Connor will compete for the starting gig with Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger.
With this many questions surrounding the unit, you'll want to stay way from them in fantasy leagues, at least at the start of the season. There's a chance they could become fantasy relevant if their pass rush returns to its old heights, but until they show that capability, consider them nothing more than a matchup play.