New York Giants 2011 record: 9-7; 1st in the NFC East (Super Bowl Champions)
Fans who missed out on the elite fantasy quarterbacks entering their 2011 drafts were well rewarded if they took a chance on Eli Manning. He tossed 29 touchdowns to go along with a career high 4,933 passing yards. While a repeat of those numbers will be challenging in 2012, he is a relatively consistent quarterback who is extremely durable. Fantasy owners could do worse than Manning this campaign.
Defections of Offense
Mario Manningham fled to San Francisco and the Giants will hope that either Domenik Hixon stays healthy this season or outstanding rookie Rueben Randle (second round pick; LSU) can be a suitable replacement as a third back. Brandon Jacobs also signed with the 49ers. David Wilson (first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft; Virginia Tech) will replace him. The bottom line - too many questions surrounding playing time make Hixon, Randle, and Wilson risky draft day selections.
The Trouble at Tight End
Signing perennial disappointment Martellus Bennett away from the Dallas Cowboys has done little to ease the angst the Giants have at the tight end position. Bennett hasn't caught a touchdown since 2008 which is all the information necessary for fantasy owners hoping he can turn it around in New York. Bear Pascoe will also get an opportunity to contribute at the position.
The Running Game
Can Ahmad Bradshaw stay healthy? If so, he has 1,000 yard, 50 reception potential. 1,500 combined yards and a dozen touchdowns would not be unreasonable. For fantasy owners with the fortitude to make the pick, he represents a potential steal in all formats.
The Brutal Schedule
Tom Coughlin probably had to rub his eyes and glance at the 2012 schedule a second time when it was released. Road games versus the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers is painful enough, but the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints all come to town. That's in addition to the usual suspects in the NFC East. What does it matter to fantasy owners? There is opportunity for the offense in some of these games but the defense will, without question, be stretched.
There are two fantasy issues surrounding Cruz - the word is out on him and what else can he possibly do as an encore to 1,536 receiving yards? Is he that good? Yes. Nonetheless, be prepared to pay a high premium on him.
Repeating as Super Bowl challengers will be difficult but not impossible for this squad. Keep in mind they were 9-7 last season and play in one of the toughest divisions in football. The defense is solid once again but with so many high octane offenses on the schedule it's tough to envision this group putting up elite numbers in 2012. Manning will be, well, Mannning and can be counted on for his consistency if nothing else. In other words, you know what you are getting. Hakeem Nicks (despite a broken foot) and Victor Cruz will be an elite wide receiver tandem. Owners will want to take a chance on Bradshaw given he should have every chance to get 300-plus touches this season. Let someone else be disappointed in Martellus Bennett.
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Giants fan, fantasy football fanatic, and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.
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