Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
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Manning, who just turned 36, was inconsistent for most of this season. While he had some QB1 weeks, he was a fantasy QB2 for most of the season. He finished the year with 4,027 yards, 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. While the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. makes it possible for him to put up a big game in any given week, the days of Manning finishing in the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks is probably over. In order to help him, the Giants need to do a better job of surrounding Manning with a better offensive line and more weapons, especially a play-making tight end and another wide receiver with some size. While that would certainly help Manning, they will also look to upgrade the running situation as well. I anticipate a shift in the final three or four years of Manning’s career, where they will look to become more a run-oriented team, with a strong defense. If this is the direction the Giants choose to take, it hard to envision a scenario where Manning is more than a backup or streamer in one quarterback dynasty leagues.
The Giants selected Perkins with the 149th pick (fifth round) of the draft last year. After not playing much in the first half of the season, Perkins started to carve out a consistent role as the year went on and started the final few games, including the playoff game for the Giants. He finished the year with 456 rushing yards and 162 receiving yards. While the Giants like what Perkins brings to the table, the odds are very high that the Giants invest a premium draft pick in the early rounds on another running back. I believe they think Perkins could be a part of a committee in a change of pace role, but do not believe he can be the future bell cow of this offense.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think they want to become a more ball control, running offense, to protect Manning as he ages. I do not believe they think Perkins can be the man to run the ball between the tackles 20 times a game. If the Giants wait to the third day of the draft to select a running back, it is possible he is in an even timeshare next season. If the Giants move on from Vereen, Perkins could develop into the third down receiving back, as they did trust him in pass protection down the stretch. Right now, Perkins would be a hold for me, until I see how the Giants off-season goes, but if someone was willing to give me a late first to mid-second round 2017 rookie pick, I would move Perkins for it. I think Perkins’ upside is an RB3 in PPR leagues, if he was to receive about half the backfield touches.
Vereen really struggled with injuries this season, as he tore his triceps in the third game of the season and when he finally returned late in the season, he suffered a concussion and then tore his triceps again. With a potential cap savings of 3.7 million, I believe Vereen is a strong candidate for release. With Perkins on the roster, and the potential to draft another running back high, they may see it as a chance to revamp the entire running back position and use the cap savings on another position. If the Giants do keep him, they will hope Vereen can be as effective as he was in 2015, when he caught 59 passes for 485 yards and four touchdowns. It was obvious during the season that Manning missed having Vereen as an outlet out of the backfield, which is the only reason to believe they may try to hold on to him for one more season. Whether Vereen is with the Giants or on another team in a similar role, he is an inconsistent RB3 in PPR leagues.
Until late in the season, Jennings continued to serve as the Giants starting running back. In that role, he did not produce much in terms of fantasy, as he ran for 593 yards and only three touchdowns. He helped his production with 35 receptions for another 201 yards as well but his production was very inconsistent and hard to predict. Jennings will turn 32 years old this off-season and similar to Vereen, is a strong candidate to be released. He would save the Giants three million dollars if they cut him. If he is back with the Giants or signs on with another team, I think Jennings will be a backup running back next year, who will have very little, if any fantasy value.
While at times during the year, some people thought Beckham was having a down year, he still finished fourth amongst wide receivers in PPR leagues. He finished with 101 receptions, 1,367 yards and ten touchdowns, despite the Giants offense struggling for the entire season. With Antonio Brown turning 29 before next season, Beckham, who is only 24, should be considered the number one wide receiver in any dynasty rankings, and possibly number one overall. While the Giants may look to become a more balanced team by improving the run game, Beckham will still be the focal point of the pass offense and get his high target totals. Even if his targets were to slightly dip, his game breaking and big play ability will keep him as one of the elite wide receivers in all of fantasy football.
With the 40th pick in the second round of the NFL Draft last year, the Giants selected Shepard, who immediately took over as a starter alongside Beckham and Victor Cruz in their base three wide sets. Shepard played the majority of his snaps, inside, in the slot, unless they moved Beckham there. For the season, Shepard had a very productive season, catching 65 passes, for 683 yards and eight touchdowns, producing low WR3 value in PPR leagues in his rookie year. Moving forward, I expect Shepard to increase his receptions to 75-85, but with his size and the Giants most likely looking to upgrade both the tight end and third wide receiver position, his touchdown total may not be repeatable. I believe Shepard will maintain WR3 value in all PPR leagues, with an outside chance to produce low end WR2 numbers if he can increase his yards per catch and receptions and still score close to eight touchdowns moving forward.
While Cruz making it all the way back from injuries and staying healthy was a great story, he is no longer the player he once was. He finished this season with only 39 receptions for 586 yards and one touchdown. While some of those receptions had a major impact on the outcome of the game, Cruz offered little to no fantasy value this past season, even thought he was on the field for close to 85-90 % of their offensive snaps. With Shepard and Beckham both often used in the slot, it left Cruz on the outside, where he was never as effective. With a cap number of over nine million dollars, and a potential savings of 7.5 million, there is no chance Cruz will be back at that number. If he is willing to cut his salary to close the league minimum, there is a chance he returns, but the most likely outcome is the Giants part ways with him. Whether he returns or signs on with another team, Cruz will no longer provide any fantasy value in dynasty leagues.
Lewis made the team as undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green last summer. He had a very productive college career, and many thought he could be a late round selection, but some character concerns may have pushed him out of the draft. Lewis played as the fourth wide receiver for most of the season, finishing with seven receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He had issues with drops, but did possess the ability to get behind coverage for a few deep shots that resulted in touchdowns. With Cruz more than likely to be a cap casualty, it is possible Lewis has a chance to be the fourth receiver on the depth chart again next year. While he has the ability to become an effective backup wide receiver, Lewis has little to no fantasy value and should be on the waiver wire in all dynasty leagues.
Tye, in his second year, as an undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook, was the Giants starting tight end all season. While some had hopes that he could produce low TE1 or high TE2 fantasy stats, that never materialized. He finished the year with 48 receptions but only 395 yards and one touchdown. Tye is a serviceable backup tight end, but he is not a starting caliber player. The Giants will look to add a playmaking tight end early in this draft, which is filled with a lot of highly regarded prospects at the position. Tye has almost no fantasy value entering this off-season in dynasty leagues, except in really deep dynasty leagues that require you starting two tight ends.
In the sixth round, the 184th pick, the Giants selected Adams last year. Adams was one of my favorite tight end prospects last year, and many thought he could go as early as round three. He is very athletic, has the ability to attack the seam, and can be a solid receiver. As the year went on, he moved up the depth chart, replacing Larry Donnell, as their second tight end. He finished the year with 16 receptions for 122 yards. If for some reason, the Giants do not pick a tight end in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft, Adams will be someone I look to buy late in the off-season. I do believe he has the skill set to be an above average receiving tight end and could have some fantasy value in two tight end leagues or tight end premium leagues.