The NY Giants failed in their attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champions falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-11 in the Divisional Playoff. The loss of Plaxico Burress who accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unregistered gun and was subsequently suspended and released clearly contributed to the Giants downfall. The Giants never had the deep threat after Burress’s departure as Dominick Hixon, and Steve Smith failed miserably to fill his shoes. What do the Giants have in store for fantasy owners heading into the upcoming season? Is Eli Manning a true number 1 fantasy QB? I examine all of this and more with my fantasy preview of the 2009 NY Giants.
I doubt that Manning will ever break away from the shadows from his older brother but he does have a Super Bowl ring and when given the right weapons at his disposal can be a suitable number one fantasy QB albeit a low end one. 2008 witnesses Manning throw for 3238 yards with 21 TD’s and 10 Int’s. The aforementioned loss of Burress certainly kept Manning from posting greater numbers and the Giants addressed the hole by drafting WR Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina with their first draft pick. Nicks wowed the nation last bowl season with his behind the back circus catch and the Gmen are hoping that he provides a similar boost to Manning and the passing game. Personally, as I write this Manning is on the cusp of being a very low end number 1 QB high end number 2 QB. On draft day expect him to go around the same time you see QB’s like Matt Cassel and Carson Palmer move off the board.
For the last several years the Giants have had a dominant ground game know as “Earth Wind and Fire that produced 2 decent options for fantasy owners. Earth is obviously bruiser Brandon Jacobs, Wind has departed to Tampa (Derrick Ward), and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) is still on the roster and looks to have a more prominent role in the Giants offense with the departure of Ward. Last season Jacobs only played in just 13 games but still managed to rush for 1089 yards and an amazing 15 TD’s. Look for more of the same out of Jacobs this season as the Giants have always been and will always be a run first team. If he can stay healthy he has a real chance to put up some good numbers with the backfield minus Ward. Draft Jacobs as a high end number 2 fantasy RB with a draft pick around the 3rd or 4th round. As for Bradshaw look for him to go around the 12th-14th rounds. The Giants also drafted Andre Brown out of North Carolina State. He will go undrafted but keep and eye on him.
The Giants receiving corps is the main reason to be leery of Manning as Hixon, Smith, and David Tyree put fear into nobody’s eyes. The addition of Hicks should help but he is a rookie and very few rookie WR’s make immediate fantasy impacts. No Giant receiver should be starting for your squad under any format or scoring system and none should be drafted as anything more as a late round flier/reserve. TE Kevin Boss is helping Giant fans forget about Jeremy Shockey. Boss only caught 33 passes for 384 yards but he found pay dirt 6 times and as the season wore on really became a favorite of Manning’s in the Red Zone. Boss is not a number one TE but is a more than suitable bye week replacement because of his penchant to score.
Led by DE Osi Umenyiora and LB Antonio Pierce the Giants DST is usually one of the more dependable starting units you could have. Last season the Giants ranked second in total defense trailing only the Tennessee Titans and third overall against the run. Consider the Giants a top 10 DST heading into 2009 as they will continue to have rugged battles in the NFC East.
That concludes my analysis of the fantasy prospects of the 2009 NY Giants and the NFC East. Next, I will be covering the NFC South and I will be starting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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