New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman made it a personal mission to find play-makers to help third-year quarterback Daniel Jones and give last year's 31st ranked scoring offense a much-needed shot-in-the-arm.
So if you're in the early stages of planning your fantasy football draft, Sports Illustrated's Michael Fabiano recently released his top 200 players for a 12-team, PPR format, and plenty of Giants made the list.
6. Saquon Barkley, RB6, NYG / Age: 24 / FA: 2023
The inclusion of Barkley this high on the list is something of a surprise considering he's coming back from a torn ACL that required reconstructive surgery. But before his injury. Barkley recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing performances.
If Barkley is healthy, perhaps he'll be able to add some significant receiving yardage to his all-purpose yardage total, which would make him a welcomed addition on any fantasy team.
Until Barkley can handle a full workload, fantasy football owners who want to get the most "bang for the buck" might wish to carry Barkley on their bench initially and wait until his workload returns closer to normal before starting him consistently.
57. Kenny Golladay, WR25, NYG / Age: 27 / FA: 2025
Like Barkley, Golladay is coming off an injury-shortened season which came after two straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Golladay gives the Giants offense a legitimate X-receiver with height and a solid showing of winning contested catches.
Golladay should, in fact, become a favorite target of quarterback Daniel Jones, who hopes to replicate the success Eli Manning had in his third season with Plaxico Burress, another tallish receiver back in the day, so picking him as a potential WR1 for your team wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea.
124. Sterling Shepard, WR52, NYG / Age: 28 / FA: 2024
Fabiano isn't ready to write off Shepard despite the team's adding of Kadarius Toney, who didn't make the list, by the way.
Toney, who was mainly a slot receiver at Florida, is anticipated to cut into Shepard's slot snaps this year. But that said, Shepard, who has always been productive in the slot, isn't quite finished yet.
Last year, Shepard still had the best reception percentage (80%) among Giants receivers targeted at least ten times from the slot. According to cumulative data from Pro Football Focus, he also had the highest yards after the catch when working from inside (94), and 17 of his career 20 touchdown catches have come from the slot.
Shepard had his most productive season in 2018 when he was primarily a slot receiver. That year, he recorded 872 yards on 66 receptions (both career highs).
Back-to-back injuries have cut into Shepard's last two seasons, causing him to average roughly 51% of the offensive snaps. But as far as drafting Shepard, it might be wise to get a feel for how the Giants end up deploying him, especially with Toney expected to cut into some of the slot snaps this year.
133. Evan Engram, TE15, NYG / Age: 27 / FA: 2022
Last year Evan Engram was voted to his first Pro Bowl despite a lackluster season punctuated with a team-leading eight drops.
While a good part of that is on Engram, his deployment in the Giants offense continues to be a significant head-scratcher (as does the fact that no offensive coordinator has yet to fully unlock all that Engram's talents project him to be).
Engram ran short Y-stick option routes in which he had to stop and come back for the ball. While very much a part of what current offensive coordinator Jason Garret likes to do, this concept is not the best use of Engram's skillset.
Engram can be at his most productive when sent up the seam and matched against a linebacker or defensive back, where his speed and size give him an advantage. Will that be more of the case this year, especially now with Kyle Rudolph, who is better suited for running those Y-stick option routes? Perhaps.
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Speaking of Rudolph, if you want to have one of the Giants' tight ends on your fantasy team, Rudolph would be the better choice only because of his red-zone production history if he's fully recovered from his season foot surgery.
In 2019, his last fully healthy season, Rudolph caught eight of 12 red zone pass targets, five of those eight receptions going for touchdowns.
In 2020 (he missed half of 2019 due to a season-ending foot injury), Engram caught six of 14 red-zone pass targets, with only one of those receptions going for a score.
160. Daniel Jones, QB23, NYG / Age: 24 / FA: 2024
Daniel Jones as a viable fantasy option? Before dismissing the possibility, here's why having Danny Dimes as a potential QB2 on a fantasy roster isn't such a crazy idea.
We can start with the deep ball. Last year among quarterbacks who attempted at least 40 deep-passing attempts of 20+ yards, Jones finished third in completion percentage (46.5), behind Baker Mayfield of the Browns and Deshaun Watson of Houston.
With the addition of legitimate deep-play makers like Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, expectations are that Jones and the Giants will be able to take better advantage of the deep ball this year. (That's assuming, of course, the elephant in the room--the offensive line--can hold its clocks long enough to allow for the deep pass attempts.)
Throw in the fact that Jones is capable of making plays with his legs--last year he finished sixth among quarterbacks in the rushing department with 423 yards, and between the deep passing yardage, the rushing yardage, and the potential scoring bonanza, the Giants believe they've set their offense for in 2021, and Jones right now does indeed look like a very attractive QB2 option.
178. Devontae Booker, RB61, NYG / Age: 28 / FA: 2023
Surprised to see Booker on this list?
Don't be, as the Giants are not only believed to be planning on giving Booker a little heavier than usual workload early on in the season, but if they're smart, they'll refrain from overworking Barkley in his first year back from an ACL injury.
Booker can give fantasy owners a good mix of yardage from both the running and passing games. His best season was in 2016, his rookie campaign when he delivered five touchdowns and 877 scrimmage yards.
That said, there are better options at running back who are likely to get the ball consistently all season, resulting in the production fantasy owners need from their RB1 and RB2 spots.
188. Darius Slayton, WR76, NYG / Age: 24 / FA: 2023
Slayton is coming off a sophomore slump that saw his touchdown total drop from eight in his rookie campaign to three last year. What will be interesting to see is how his snaps are affected, especially with Golladay and Toney now on board.
Last year, Slayton saw a jump in play-time from his rookie campaign, going from 701 offensive snaps (66%) to 877 snaps (87%), his production decreasing.
There is also this notion of Slayton being a deep receiving (20+ yards) threat. But in his rookie season, he caught seven out of 20 deep pass targets (35%), while in his sophomore campaign, that production dipped (six of 21, 28.6%).
Within that stat is the contested catch conversion rate. Slayton only caught two out of six contested catches in 2020 and one out of five in 2019.
With the additions of Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph, it would not be surprising if Slayton's pass targets take a significant dip, which would make carrying Slayton a luxury pick on a fantasy roster.
Satisfy your New York Giants fix!