The New York Giants have been a potent option for fantasy football since their second week match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Giants are currently the second best passing offense in the NFL led by Eli Manning. In their first game of 2012, the Giants posted 17 points total, a somewhat pedestrian start to the year. In their second game, the Giants posted 41 points in a shootout and comeback win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In their last game, the Giants posted a dominating 36 points against the seven points scored by the Carolina Panthers. The Giants have been raking up game points and fantasy points thru their last two games like the first game of their season never happened (a loss to the Dallas Cowboys 24-17). The Giants, as a team, in standard scoring formats have scored a total of 285 fantasy points thru the first three games of the 2012 season.
The Giants have been one of the top scoring teams and best rated offenses in the NFL. The recent emergence of a rushing attack led by backup running back Andre Brown has been astounding. For comparative purposes, starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw has totaled 15 points in two games (14 in the first and one in the second). While it might be unfair to compare Bradshaw to Andre Brown, due to Bradshaw’s injuries, Andre Brown has been a man on a mission in his first two games in relief of Bradshaw. In the game against the Bucs, Brown had 13 touches for 71 yards (5.5 yards/carry) and one touchdown. Good for 16 fantasy points. After his emergence as viable fantasy option in Week Two, Andre Brown was a waiver wire pickup for everyone in anticipation of his Week Three performance. In response to this anticipation, he performed exceptionally, 20 touches for 113 yards (5.7 yards/carry), and two touchdowns. Rewarding his fantasy football owners who clawed and scratched their way to grab him over their competitors with an exceptional 24 points. So with Bradshaw returning what can we expect from this rushing attack of the New York Giants?
The most reasonable thing to expect is more of the same. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently ranked first against the rushing attack. They have allowed the least yards per attempt at 2.3. This was with Andre Brown’s first relief for Bradshaw. Considering that the Giants were able to post respectable numbers against what is becoming one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL, there is no reason to expect a decline in the New York Giants’ running backs’ production. In fact, with Ahmad Bradshaw returning to his starting role and Andre Brown still performing his back up role, I would expect the Giants to flourish with a 1-2 punch in their ground game. This ground game should remain potent if not thrive with the ability of having two starting caliber running backs to keep the ground game running constantly fresh and at it’s optimal potential. The other benefit to having two fresh running backs that can optimize the chances that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride gives them is that the Giants will be able to open up some things in the passing game.
Quarterback Eli Manning leads the New York Giants’ passing game. Manning is nine-year veteran for the quarterback and is truly coming into his own with respect to his level of play. Eli has stepped out of the shadow of his big brother Peyton and developed respect throughout the league. Manning’s trademark is his ability to perform well under pressure in the fourth quarter. It is well documented that when the G-men have been down and out, that they turn to Manning who puts on miraculous comebacks. For example, see Week Two against the Buccaneers. New York is down 24-13 going in at halftime and then down 27-16 going into the fourth quarter. Manning goes out there and leads the Giants to score 25 points in the fourth quarter. His astounding ability has rewarded his fantasy owners. Manning has produced respectable fantasy numbers even with the emergence of a legitimate running game.
Three games into the 2012 season, Manning has produced 53 fantasy points for his owners. Week One, Manning threw for 213 yards, one touchdown and scored 12 points. (Not so hot…) Week Two, (TURNAROUND TIME!) 510 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions and still posted 26 points! Week Three, Manning led the Giants spectacularly but suffered a slightly downtick in points due to the emergence of Andre Brown. Week Three, Manning threw for 288 yards, one touchdown and scored 15 points. Not bad and definitely serviceable. When the Giants are down and out of a game, there is little doubt as to whom they will turn to. Manning’s fantasy value increases with how far out of the game the Giants are in a given week. The other amazing thing to note about Manning is that even with injuries to one of his primary receivers (WR Hakeem Nicks), his starting running back (Ahmad Bradshaw) and one of his veteran linemen (OT Dave Diehl), he was still able to prosper and lead the Giants to a dominating performance at the expense of the Panthers. Manning should continue to be a presence in fantasy football but, with Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride seemingly more partial to running the ball when close to the end zone, it may limit the ability of Manning to score exceptionally points from week to week. So with Manning throwing so well this year, who are the beneficiaries of his play?
Believe it or not, the top fantasy scoring option pass catcher for the New York Giants is Martellus “The Black Unicorn” Bennett. This tight end, despite his unorthodox (to put it mildly) self-imposed nickname has scored the fourth most points on the Giants’ roster with 36. Bennett has been the most consistent Giants’ fantasy option this year so far, scoring 10 points in Week One, 13 points in Week Two and 13 points in Week Three. It is clear that Bennett is filling the tight end role that was normally filled by Jake Ballard last year. Manning likes looking for his tight ends and Bennett has been very good this year so far. Bennett has notched 15 receptions this year.
The next most valuable pass catcher in this Giants’ offense has been wide receiver, Victor Cruz. Cruz has scored 32 points so far this year, scoring five in Week One, 23 in Week Two and four in Week Three. He is the most targeted Giants’ wide receiver with twenty three total receptions but has only one touchdown so far, Cruz looks to become more involved in the red zone or “green zone” (as Giants’ Head Coach Tom Coughlin puts it) offense. Unfortunately for Cruz owners, without Hakeem Nicks to draw double coverage away from Cruz, he will continue to be targeted by extra coverage. Nicks will not be playing this week against the Eagles, so expect Cruz to still draw the double coverage this week. Teammate, Ramses Barden (15 points thus far this season), has emerged as the third string wide receiver and after his nine receptions, 138 yard performance against the Panthers, he will be a legitimate recipient of fantasy points in relief of Nicks. So with the offense firing on all cylinders, what other players have contributed to the Giants’ 285 total fantasy points?
Lawrence Tynes, the kicker for the G-men, has produced 40 fantasy points in standard scoring formats. Tynes had a pedestrian five points in Week One, but kicked it up to near quarterback levels of points in Week Two with 15 points and 20 points in Week Three. These levels are not unprecedented but as the Giants continue to have positive performances so will Lawrence Tynes.
Below is a complete list of the players, their positions and their point totals for the season on the New York Giants:
- Eli Manning, QB, 53 points
- Lawrence Tynes, K, 40 points
- Andre Brown, RB, 40 points
- Martellus Bennett, TE, 36 points
- Victor Cruz, WR, 32 points
- Hakeem Nicks, WR, 28 points
- Giants D/ST, 21 points
- Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, 15 points
- Ramses Barden, WR, 15 points
- Domenik Hixon, WR, 6 points
- Henry Hynoski, FB/RB, 1 point
- David Wilson, RB, -2 points
Final Verdict: The G-men are riding the momentum of their big wins these past two weeks against the Panthers and the Bucs, however this week they will need to be on their A-game when they take on their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are also 2-1 and this game will go a long way towards determining the dominant force within the NFC East. If the Giants are to continue their statistical dominance both in the NFL and in Fantasy Football, they must continue to be a solid defense and Eli Manning must continue to manage their high-octane offense.
If the Giants can pressure Eagles’ quarterback, Michael Vick, to make poor decisions and the Giants can capitalize on these opportunities, then the Giants should be able to continue their winning ways. Despite this, the Giants have only won one of their past seven meetings with the Eagles. The Eagles may be able to extend this streak if quarterback Michael Vick can make good decisions and revisit some of his statistical dominance from 2010. So what do I think will happen?
Giants over the Eagles, 37-24. The Giants are riding a hot streak right now and the Eagles are turning the ball over too much. The Giants’ disciplined approach should lead to a win for the G-men this week.