For a sixth straight season, Razzball will be interviewing NFL-team blogs for some actual in-depth football knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy football knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team for our Team Preview Series through the summer. This installment comes courteous of Dennis Esser from the leading New York Giants’ blog: Big Blue View.
Do you think the G-men’s offensive line can help to keep Eli Manning upright this year? If so, is he poised for a bounce back season? Would you consider drafting him as a bench quarterback?
The Giants’ Offensive Line has nowhere to go but up when it comes to their play from last year. Justin Pugh’s steady rookie season was the only bright spot for an offensive line that didn’t do anything very well last season. Eli’s mechanics suffered by being pressured early and often and he couldn’t rely on his running game because there were no holes being opened up front.
This season there is reason for hope as the Giants spent some money in free agency and addressed the offensive line in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. Geoff Schwartz has been a very good player over the last few years and deserved to get a shiny new contract when he moved from the Chiefs to the Giants in the off-season. John Jerry started in Miami and may have had more of a market if he didn’t end up involved in “bullygate”. J.D. Walton was once a promising young Center in Denver and could resurrect his career with the Giants. Charles Brown was brought in as a depth offensive tackle who can push the under-performing Will Beatty in training camp.
Weston Richburg, the Giants second round draft choice, has a chance to start at center if he beats out J.D. Walton and could contribute at guard if Chris Snee’s balky hips or elbows don’t allow him to finish his career on a high note. There are still a lot of if’s even with all of the new faces. If Chris Snee can stay healthy. If Will Beatty can return to an upper-echelon left tackle. If Justin Pugh can build on his rookie year and get stronger. If all the new faces and the old can gel in a compressed off season.
With all that said, I think the Giants’ offensive line will be greatly improved in 2014, but it may take a few games to really see them come together as a unit. Geoff Schwartz is the guy that should help make this unit that much better in 2014. I also expect Richburg to get on the field in one way or another.
Even with an improved offensive line I don’t have the highest hopes for Eli Manning in 2014. He’s going to be learning a new offense and having to shake the bad habits that formed the last few seasons. He will have his big games, but he will also kill your fantasy weeks almost as often. I won’t even be looking to draft him as a bench quarterback in most formats, but he is on my radar in two quarterback formats.
There is talk that the Giants brought in Jennings to be the workhorse or bell-cow running back that they lacked last year, but I think that may be stretching it. If Jennings topped 225 touches for the year I would be surprised. Jennings is a career journeyman whose career totals would look like a mediocre season for Adrian Peterson. I like Jennings’s value as flex play, but his ADP has started to rise lately to the point that he is in the running back two category that is his ceiling. I don’t like drafting a player with an injury history like his where you don’t get any upside even if he hits his ceiling. The Giants also have David Wilson and Andre Williams ready to take some of Jennings’s touches if he struggles. Wilson’s usage will be tough to gauge because he’s yet to be medically cleared from last season’s neck injury, but his upside is still there. Williams supposedly had a second round grade from the Giants and they were excited to get him in the fourth round so you know they will try and use last season’s NCAA leading rusher in some capacity. He just doesn’t have the best hands or that much experience as a pass catcher so he might only get a few series here and there.
I don’t view Odell Beckham Jr. as a sleeper in fantasy football redraft leagues this year. For a while his ADP was actually higher than Rueben Randle’s in the off season. I think that was an overreaction to Beckham being drafted in the 1st round and Jerry Reese questioning Randle in some sound bites. I think Beckham Jr. will be a more valuable football player to the Giants than he will to fantasy teams. He’s going to draw coverage away from Victor Cruz and make the occasional big play, but it’s Randle that I am buying the most stock in. The new offense has taken some of the responsibility away from the wide receivers to make adjustments and read defenses and Randle can now just run the route in a black or white manner while letting his athletic ability take over. He’s by far the Giants best red zone threat and is also great after the catch. Buy Randle in redraft leagues and only take a flyer on Beckham Jr.