The 2020 New York Giants season was a proverbial roller-coaster. A new head coach, Joe Judge, trying to find his way, with a second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, who struggled with turnover issues and injuries throughout the year. It ultimately led to a 6-10 record and a second-place finish in the NFC East. The leading receiver for the Giants was Darius Slayton, who totaled only 50 catches on 96 targets for 751 receiving yards. The top rusher was poised to be Saquon Barkley before a torn ACL in Week 2 of the regular season put a screeching halt to his year, which led to Wayne Gallman Jr. being the top running back contributor for the Giants with 682 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Despite all the offensive struggles, the defense was solid, ranking inside the top 10 in most metrics. After his trade from the New York Jets in 2019, Leonard Williams put on a show in 2020 for the Giants, racking up 11.5 sacks and cementing his status as one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL. Linebacker Blake Martinez led the team in tackles (151) and finished fourth in the NFL overall.
Free Agency Impact
Entering the offseason, the Giants needed to add weapons to the offense, reinforce the offensive line and rebuild the secondary. They addressed the defense early in free agency, signing cornerback Adoree Jackson, who would have been an integral part of the Titans defense before a knee injury he suffered prior to Week 1, which ended his season before it began.
The big fish for the Giants was landing wide receiver Kenny Golladay on a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency. Between Slayton and Sterling Shepard, there was a lack of perimeter size for Jones to throw to. They desperately needed someone to win the 50-50 balls in the red zone or deep balls down the field. Good news for the Giants, this is where Golladay excelled with the Detroit Lions. According to Pro Football Focus, Golladay’s contested catch win rate was top five in 2019 at 63.41 percent. During an injury-shortened season in 2020, Golladay was an integral part of the Lions engineering a last-minute comeback drive against the Atlanta Falcons, which included two massive contested catches. Golladay is an excellent piece to the offense and brings top-10 receiver potential to the Giants. If he can stay healthy, he opens up improvement for the other receivers, the running game and Jones, as defenses will have to focus on multiple levels, instead of just locking down on one facet of the offense.
The Giants focused a lot on defense in the 2021 NFL Draft. They added one of the top pass-rushers with the selection of Azeez Ojulari in Round 2 and then added a linebacker and two cornerbacks in the mid-to-late rounds to help add some depth and shore up the back half of the defense. After a trade with the Chicago Bears in Round 1, the Giants added wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who plans to be a chess piece for the team to utilize all over the field. The production will probably be lower than anticipated for a first-round selection, but with a little bit of patience, this could be an electrifying piece to this offense. In the sixth round, the Giants selected running back Gary Brightwell from Arizona. Brightwell was a power runner and special teams star for the Wildcats and will be someone who can pick up a challenging yard or two with strong north and south ability. He will challenge Devontae Booker for the primary backup role behind Barkley and is someone Judge will lean on heavily in special-teams packages.
Dynasty Fantasy Football Players to Target
1. Saquon Barkley: At only 24-years-old, Barkley is one of the most talented running backs in the league, regardless of the injuries the past two years. With the weapons added to the perimeter of the offense, teams will have to decide who to take away and Barkley will make teams pay for making those decisions incorrectly and light up the scoreboard for your fantasy team. He will be fully healthy for the start of the 2021 season and should be back in the top five running backs in short order.
2. Darius Slayton: Another situation where the new additions to the offense will significantly increase his potential value. He is just 24-years-old, so he has many miles left. The return of Barkley will put more focus on the run game and the addition of Golladay will have take secondary focus away from Slayton, freeing him up for a potential breakout year in 2021.
3. Kenny Golladay: He had been an integral part of the Detroit Lions since they drafted him in 2017. However, his injury history has not been favorable, having played an entire season once in his career. In that one season, 2019, he finished as WR9 for the season. Golladay has the potential to finish in the top 10 again in 2021 and should be drafted with that in mind.
4. Evan Engram: The tight-end position in fantasy football is about as volatile as it has ever been, so when you get the opportunity to get one with the upside we have seen from Engram, you have to take a look. He has been injured throughout his career and dealt with up-and-down quarterback play, but with some stability in the offense, he has the potential to be a steal at the position.
5. Kadarius Toney: This will be a stash pick, but the upside is massive. He lines up all over the field and has speed to burn and be able to show flashes of that this season. Once he finds a foothold in the offense, the upside will show. You could have the steal of your rookie draft.
Fantasy Football Sleeper: Daniel Jones
His worth in fantasy football has been a hot topic of discussion since he came into the league. So far, Jones has solidified himself as a good flyer because of his running ability. Jones put together over 400 rushing yards and was just shy of 3,000 passing yards in 2020. What held him back was the combination of his injury, injuries to his weapons and his turnover issue. If he can clean up the turnovers and stay healthy, Jones has the potential to be close to the top 10 of fantasy quarterbacks.