New York Giants 2012 Fantasy Outlook: Fantasy Football Fan’s Take

Eli Manning and the Giants Offense Aim to Build on Last Year’s Numbers

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Giants have gone from a run-oriented offense to a pass-heavy attack led by Eli Manning. With this in mind, Manning and his star wideouts are the players to target heading into your draft.

Quarterback

Entering his ninth season, Eli Manning has demonstrated that he can take charge of an offense. Given the Giants' struggles in the run game, Manning has had to shoulder the load by airing the ball out an average of 36.8 times per game last year. A high number of pass attempts is an encouraging sign for your fantasy quarterback, but another promising sign of his growth is his drop in interceptions. After throwing a league-leading 25 interceptions in 2010, Manning cut that number down to 16 while still throwing 29 touchdowns. He'll face a tough schedule in 2012, but can be trusted to be a top-10 quarterback.

Running Back

Ahmad Bradshaw is now the feature back with Brandon Jacobs in San Francisco. Despite missing four games with a stress fracture, Bradshaw scored a career-high 11 touchdowns. He's productive when he plays, but he's always plagued by injuries. To add to his injury woes, his once-stout offensive line did a poor job of creating running lanes. New York did not make any significant upgrades to their offensive line, so expect them to struggle in that department once again. If you draft Bradshaw as your No. 2 running back, be sure to have a backup plan in place. Rookie David Wilson is a nice complementary back with his speed, but has a ways to go before he can unseat Bradshaw as the starter.

Wide Receivers and Tight End

Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are the focal points of the Giants offense. Either one can be viewed as a No. 1 receiver for your fantasy team given their big-play ability. Nicks' size and hands provide Manning with a big target in the red zone, especially near the goal line as four of his seven touchdowns came within the five-yard line. He broke his foot in May, but should suit up for Week 1. Nicks will always be Manning's first read as long as he can stay healthy. Cruz was last season's biggest surprise. While Cruz can be explosive, can he repeatedly put up those monster stat lines now that defenses have film on him? Five of Cruz's nine touchdowns went for 68 yards or more, so it's a daunting task for him to have those repeat performances. Both receivers are elite, but the loss of Mario Manningham may affect their overall performance. His ability to stretch the field kept defenses honest, which helped put Nicks and Cruz in favorable situations to generate yards after the catch. Rookie Rueben Randle will take on Manningham's role and become the team's vertical threat, but is a low-end fantasy option to start the season.

The Giants have signed former Dallas Cowboy Martellus Bennett to a one-year deal to be their starting tight end. Playing on a one-year contract with a new team and role, there's plenty of motivation for him to succeed. He has not scored a touchdown in four years, but if he can get consistent playing time and establish a rapport with Manning, Bennett can be a decent sleeper.

Kicker

Lawrence Tynes may be kicking for a championship-caliber offense, but he is not a desirable kicker to own in fantasy. He attempted only 24 field goals last season and made just 79 percent of his attempts. Expect to see a similar trend in 2012.

Defense

Big Blue made a tremendous run throughout last season's playoffs, and their defense was a major reason why they captured their second Super Bowl title in four years. The Giants' pass rush led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora make this unit a decent option with their ability to generate pressure, however, the defense as a whole was subpar when it came to stopping the run or pass. To help in those areas, the Giants brought in 6'4'', 350-pound defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and get back cornerback Terrell Thomas, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. This group has a very good chance of finishing as a top-five fantasy defense.

Sources:

nfl.com

Travis Chan is a fantasy sports enthusiast and contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Travischan1.

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