Injuries on offense led to the Giants falling to 31st in points scored (246), which was 174 fewer points from 2015. New York finished with 3-13 record ending Ben McAdoo’s two-year run as head coach (13-15). Pat Shurmur takes over as the head coach after spending 2017 as the offensive coordinator for the Vikings. Shurmur has 19 years of coaching experience in the NFL with five coming as an offensive coordinator. In his first chance as the head coach for the Browns, Pat went 9-23.
Mike Shula will run the offense. He has 25 years of experience in the NFL. Over the last five years, Shula was the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. Mike struggled as the head coach of Alabama (26-23). The Giants finished 25th and 21st in offensive yards gained over the last two seasons.
New York signed James Bettcher to be the defensive coordinator. He’s led the Cardinals’ defense over the last three seasons. Bettcher has six seasons of experience in the NFL.
The first area of weakness that the Giants addressed in the offseason was the offensive line. They signed T Nate Solder and G Patrick Omameh while releasing G D.J. Fluker, C Weston Richburg, and T Justin Pugh. Solder has been a long-time starter for the Patriots, but his value has been league average or below in three of his last four seasons. Omameh struggled in all areas in 2017 while starting all 16 games. His play was much higher in 2015 and 2016 with the Jaguars. Both players are expected to start.
New York signed Jonathan Stewart for RB depth while releasing Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen. Stewart will have a minimal role with Saquon Barkley added to the roster.
The Giants added WR Cody Latimer while moving on from Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris. Latimer has never developed into viable starting WR in the NFL.
The new coaching staff focused on changing the face of the secondary after signing S William Gay, S Michael Thomas, CB B.W. Webb, and CB Teddy Williams. New York released CB Ross Cockrell and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. All new options will offer only bench value while Rodgers-Cromartie will be tough to replace after a long career of success in the NFL. His game did have some fade in 2017 at age 31.
New York brought in LB Kareem Martin and DE Josh Mauro while moving on from LB Devon Kennard. Martin and Mauro played under new defensive coordinator in Arizona with rotational value. Mauro will miss the first four games in 2018 due to failing a drug test. Kennard was a neutral player for New York off the bench over the last four seasons.
New York changed the face of the franchise with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting RB Saquon Barkley. He brings a unique combination of speed (4.4), size (6’0” and 233 lbs.), and power to the running back position. Saquon runs with quickness and elusiveness while offering three-down ability. His vision is plus while being a high upside player in the red zone.
In the second round, the Giants drafted G Will Hernandez. His game is built with power and strength. Hernandez has the footwork to handle the pass rush plus the power to lead runs over his area of the field. His speed and quickness do limit his blocking window if asked to reach beyond his small piece of real estate on the field.
The next two selections were dictated toward the defensive line – DE Lorenzo Carter and DT B.J. Hill. Carter is built to be an impactful edge rusher. His frame has room to grow, but he needs more strength to be a better finisher in the pass rush when stalled in the pass rush. Lorenzo will only have value when moving toward the line of scrimmage. Hill is quick off the snap with strength in his upper body to finish his rushes. B.J. needs to develop a better base to become an anchor run defender and overcome double teams.
New York brought in Kyle Lauletta to hopefully develop into the future QB when Eli Manning retires. His arm is below NFL standards, which can lead to interceptions when his ball doesn’t reach it’s desired target on time. His pocket presence grades well while showing the ability to read defenses.
With their last pick in the fifth round, the Giants returned to their weakness on the defensive line with DT R.J. McIntosh. He has pass rushing skills thanks to his speed and quickness, but McIntosh isn’t strong enough to handle his responsivities in the pass rush. R.J. needs to improve his overall technique while adding a better foundation to his body.
The Giants finished 26th in rushing yards (1,549) with only six rushing TDs and eight runs over 20 yards. Their ball carriers gained 3.9 yards per rush.
New York fell to 19th in passing yards (3,479) with 20 TDs and 14 Ints. They gained only 6.1 yards per pass attempt with 33 completions over 20 yards. Their offensive line allowed 34 sacks and 70 QB hits.
LT Nate Solder remains a solid asset at his position after getting drafted 17th overall in 2011. He struggled last year in pass protection while remaining an edge in run blocking. Over the last four years, Nate has only been a league average player.
LG Patrick Omameh has been a neutral player at his position in 2015 and 2016 while showing failure in all areas last year despite the Jaguars having the best rushing attack in the NFL.
C Brett Jones made 13 starts for the Jets last year after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Jones below average talent with the most risk in run blocking.
RG Will Hernandez will over into the starting lineup either at left guard or right guard. He expects to grade well in both run and pass blocking with his best side of the equation coming in the run game.
RT Ereck Flowers was selected in the first round in 2015, but he’s struggled in his responsibilities over the last three years leading to a drop down in position. At this point of his career, Flowers goes down a bust with no upside in any area.
Even with a dynamic running back in the Giants’ offense, a Fantasy may not be able to get past the below average offensive line in New York. They have weakness in two slots in the starting lineup while the combination of the other three options may end up being about league average. A better running back will cover up some holes and create a better passing window for Eli Manning. Overall, this line ranks in the bottom 25 percent of the league.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2017, which will work as our starting point for 2018. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2017 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2017.
2017 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2017 Adjustment is based on the 2017 league average and the 2017 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
New York will be challenged to run the ball in four games (CAR, TEN, and PHI X 2). Their best success will come in two games vs. Washington. Overall, the Giants have a below average schedule for the rushing offense.
Their toughest matchup for their passing attack comes in Week 1 vs. the Jaguars. Over the last 15 games of the season, the Giants only have one other below par game for their pass defense while only having one favorable contest (TB) on the year.
In 2017, New York played without their starting two WRs for most of the season due to injuries. They struggled to find consistency running the ball with defenses able to take away some of the field in the passing game. This season the Giants have a chance to be more balance on offense with game score being the key to the overall passing value.
QB Eli Manning – Over the last three seasons before 2017, Eli averaged 606 passing attempts per game leading to just under 4,300 passing yards and about 30 TDs per season. Manning passed for over 4,000 yards in six of his last nine years. His sack total tends to be short along with his yards per pass attempt due to Eli getting rid of the ball quickly when his pass blocking breaks down. His drop-in production last year (3,468 passing yards and 19 TDs) was due to injuries. This season he’ll have strength at two wide receiver positions plus an upside, big play TE. Over 13 seasons in the NFL, Manning has a 111-103 record with two Super Bowl titles. This offense has enough talent for Eli to post a career high in passing yards and TDs, but the addition of an elite RB may take away his upside in many games. Odell Beckham is a beast while coming off an injury. Evan Engram is the real deal at TE, and Saquon Barkley can only make the offense better. Outside at 4,500+ yards with 30 TDs well within reach.
Other Options: Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta, Alex Tanney
RB Saquon Barkley – Over his last two seasons at Penn State, Saquon had 3,801 combined yards with 43 TDs and 82 catches. He projects as a three-down back with high value in scoring ability. Giants’ fans have to be excited by the addition of Barkley. He’ll threaten the second level of the defense with his speed if he gets a free run through the line of scrimmage while offering a dig step to set up linebackers and safeties for big plays. His vision is exceptional with the hands and route running to be a true three-down threat. If he had the Cowboys’ offensive line, Saquon would no doubt be a top three draft pick in 2018. Last year the Giants’ RBs rushed for 1,511 yards on 378 carries with only five rushing TDs. Their backs caught 105 of 139 targets for 608 yards and one TD. Eli will look to dump off many passes to the RB position when the pass blocking breaks down, which is going to happen a lot in 2018. Barkley will command a top tier RB opportunity even with a veteran RB roster. My floor is 300 rushes for 1,400 yards with 60+ catches for another 500 yards. I fully expect double digit TDs with more upside if New York’s offense clicks on all cylinders. Buy the hype and watch him deliver Fantasy championships with two possible upside matchups in Week 14 (@WAS) and Week 16 (@IND).
Update: 8/14/2018 > Barkley suffered a quad injury in practice to gave Fantasy owners a slight scare. The injury appears to be minor while having plenty of time to get ready for the regular season.
RB Jonathan Stewart – Over the last three seasons, Stewart has lost value in his yards per carry (4.6, 4.1, 3.8, and 3.4). The Panthers gave him 200 or more touches over the last four seasons, but his game is just about empty in the passing game (2016 – 8/60 and 2017 – 8/52/1). Jonathan has 23 TDs over his last 41 games. Stewart should see between 75 and 100 touches on the year while being only an insurance card for Saquon Barkley.
RB Wayne Gallman – Clemson gave Gallman plenty of touches (556) over his last two seasons leading to 3,025 combined yards with 31 TDs and 42 catches. His career was highlighted by his junior year (1,740 combined yards with 14 TDs and 22 catches). Over three years in college, Wayne caught 66 combined passes for 486 yards and two TDs. He runs hard with some open field ability thanks to a spin move and some wiggle. In his rookie season, Gallman gained 669 combined yards with one TD and 34 catches on 145 touches. Over the last four games of 2017, he finished with 329 yards with 19 catches while just under 16 touches per game. Wayne will be a top pass-catching backup at RB with possibly more upside on early downs than Jonathan Stewart.
Other Options: Jalen Simmons, Robert Martin, Paul Perkins
WR Odell Beckham – Beckham is a special WR, and we still haven’t seen him at his best. Over his first three seasons in the NFL, Odell had 288 catches for 4,122 yards and 35 TDs or 21.67 Fantasy points per start. During this stretch, Beckham averaged 6.9 catches for 98.1 yards and 0.83 TDs per game. His ankle issue will lead to him being discounted some in the 2018 draft season. Beckham has all the talent and explosiveness a Fantasy owner is looking for as a lead WR on a Fantasy team. New York added an elite RB with strength at WR2 and TE. If 2018 breaks right, Odell may end up being the top WR in the land. Possible 100+ catches for 1,500+ yards and a dozen or more TDs. New York expects him to be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp.
Update: 7/27/18 > Odell Beckham was cleared to play in training camp, which sets the stage for an exciting season with the Giants expected to be much better offensively. The 2018 depth at RB in the first round sets up a great buying opportunity for a yellow sticker owner late in the first round with Beckham being the top prize as the third WR off the table.
WR Sterling Shepard – Shepard was just a Fantasy tease in 2018. He posted an elite game in Week 3 (7/133/1 on ten targets) setting up a great opportunity after the injury to Odell Beckham in Week 4. Unfortunately, an ankle injury in Week 5 led to two missed games. He looked the WR1 part in Week 9 (5/70) and Week 10 (11/142), but migraines led to two more missed games. Sterling lost his way in two games (3/56 and 2/16) when he returned to the starting line while flashing for the third time in 2017 in Week 15 (11/139/1). He battled a hamstring and neck issue late in the year leaving a Fantasy owner scratching his head with his 2018 value. Shepard is the clear WR2 in this offense with possession value in most weeks. Last year he showed his game offered more than 5/50 skill set with his ability to beat a defense with his legs (three catches over 40 yards). His next step is 80+ catches for 1,000 yards with five to seven TDs.
WR Roger Lewis – Over 28 games in 2014 and 2015 at Bowling Green, Lewis caught 158 passes for 2,638 yards and 23 TDs with his best success coming in his sophomore seasons (85/1544/16). After signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Roger saw a bump in chances last year (36/416/2 on 72 targets) after the injuries to Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall. Improving player with a low volume opportunity. Over his last three games in 2017, Lewis had 32 combined targets leading to 15 catches for 160 yards.
Other Options: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Travis Rudolph, Hunter Sharp, Kalif Raymond
TE Evan Engram – The Giants added an interesting dynamic to their offense in the 2017 draft with Engram. He caught 162 passes over four years in college resulting in 2,320 yards and 15 TDs. In 2016, his game made an excellent step forward (65/926/8). Evan is an oversized WR playing the TE position with excellent speed and quickness to threaten the defense in all areas. He’ll need to improve his route running and blocking skills to be on the field for more plays. Over 14.5 games, Engram caught 64 of his 115 targets for 722 yards and six TDs. He had seven games with five catches or more and four games with double-digit targets. His three clunker games came in Week 5 (0/0 on four targets), Week 11 (1/8 on six targets), and Week 16 (1/12 on two targets while leaving the game after an early injury). This season he’ll be the third option in the passing game, which will help him see favorable coverage on many plays. Even with competition for targets, Evan should be able to push his way to 70+ catches for 800+ yards with about seven TDs.
Other Options: Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, Shane Smith, Kyle Carter, Ryan O’Malley
K Aldrick Rosas – In his rookie season in the NFL, Rosas made only 18 of his 25 field goals with three missed extra point tries in 23 chances. He did offer value from long range (3-for-3). His conversion rate (72.0) on field goals is below NFL standards, which puts his job at risk before the season starts. New York brought in Marshall Koehn to compete for the starting kicking job. In his last two seasons at Iowa, Koehn made 28 of 36 fields while missing six extra points in 92 tries. A coin flip with the winner expected to have an improved kicking opportunity. Dark horse top 12 kicker with matchup value.
The Giants’ run defense has one of the tougher schedules in 2018. They have seven games (JAX, DAX X 2, NO, CAR, and PHI X 2) vs. teams that run the ball well with five of those games coming over the first six weeks of the season. Their only two favorable games come against the Redskins.
On the passing side, New York has eight games (JAX, DAL X 2, HOU, CAR, CHI, TEN, and IND) favorable games for their defense. The Giants will be tested in three games (NO, ATL and TB) in the passing game.
Game score led to the Giants allowed 29.0 rushing attempts per game and the 27th place ranking in rushing yards allowed (1,933). New York allowed 4.2 yards per rush and ten rushing TDs.
There was some quit in the Giants’ secondary leading to the 31st ranking in passing yards allowed (4,038) with 32 TDs and 13 Ints. Their defense only had 27 sacks.
DT Damon Harrison has developed into an elite run defender over the last three seasons while chipping In with an occasional sack. Last year he had 76 tackles and 1.5 sacks. New York added a pair of DT in this year’s draft, which points to more 4-3 formations in 2018 with the change of coaching staff. DT Dalvin Tomlinson played well in his rookie season against the run, but he managed only one sack. This guy will win by beating up his man rather than gaining his edge in speed and quickness. He projects a winning run clogger with vision. His lack of a first step and finishing speed limits his value as a pass rusher.
New York doesn’t have one defensive end on the roster that projects as an impact pass rusher other than Oliver Vernon who’s listed at linebacker heading into 2018. Over the last five seasons, Vernon has 40.5 sacks over 76 games with winning value against the run.
The Giants acquired LB Alec Ogletree in a trade with the Rams in March. His overall game has risk in all areas even with a high volume of tackles and defended passes in his career. Ogletree offers minimal value in the pass rush. LB B.J. Goodson held his own against the run in his second year in the NFL despite missing nine games with various injuries. LB Lorenzo Carter will see action on passing downs after New York drafted him in the third round.
S Landon Collins has over 100 tackles in his third season in the NFL. His value did slide in pass coverage in 2017 due to him playing through some injuries and trying to plug too many holes on defense. Landon is outstanding against the run. S Darian Thompson earned starting snaps after seeing minimal playing time in his rookie season. Thompson needs to improve in all areas. He posted 75 tackles and six defended passes in 2017. His game will have risk until he improves his decision making in the heat of the battle. Thompson is a hard-hitting playmaker, but his aggressive style tends to hurt him in pass coverage. Darian needs to focus on his responsibilities in the defense as a whole rather than trying to make that one impact play. The best defenders in the game rise to the occasion in the big moments of the game. Thompson needs to save his gambles for the times when the opportunity warrants it. Darian also needs to improve his tackling.
CB Janoris Jenkins remains an above average corner in coverage while showing risk against the run. He missed seven games last year with an ankle injury. Jenkins did return two Ints for TDs while seeing a decline in tackles (31) and defended passes (9). CB Eli Apple appeared to be spoiled in his second year in the NFL. He battled the coaching staff in 2017 leading to a four missed games and a one-game suspension. Even with his negative feel, Eli didn’t show growth as a player last year. Apple looks the part as a starting NFL cornerback. He has an edge in speed (4.4 forty) with solid technique in his coverage duties. Eli has upside in press coverage, but he needs to add some upper body strength to compete with the top WRs in the league. He left college after his sophomore season so he may need some time to develop and improve his tackling ability.
New York has a chance to be good in the secondary, which would be helped by a better pass rush. The defensive line is built to slow down the run game with one star player. The outside pass rush will be a work in progress. Offenses will challenge New York at the second level of the defense. The lack of pressure on the QB will push the Giants to a possible second defense in the Fantasy market with an occasional matchup value.
2018 NFL Team Outlooks