Don't ever say things can't get worse. The Giants made a point of adding pass-catchers last offseason and saw their points per game actually drop from 17.5 to 15.2. The hope is new head coach Brian Daboll can work some magic on Daniel Jones, but expectations have to be pretty low. After all, the Giants turned down Jones' fifth-year option, so they have no long-term obligations to him anymore.
Record: 4-13 (28)
PPG: 15.2 (31)
YPG: 287.3 (31)
Pass YPG: 188.0 (31)
Rush YPG: 99.3 (24)
PAPG: 34.9 (15)
RAPG: 24.6 (25)
2021 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 18.4%
Jones posted the worst bad-throw rate of his career last season, as it looked like he has failed to develop in any way since getting to the NFL. He missed time last season with a neck injury, which provides some sort of extenuating circumstances. But that doesn't absolve Jones, given how much he has struggled over the course of his career.
Jones is a pretty good athlete, and his best moments have often come when he uses his legs to make plays, because his decision-making as a passer leaves a lot to be desired. You could have used all of those words to describe Josh Allen prior to his 2021 breakout, a development Daboll has gotten a lot of credit for during his time as Buffalo's offensive coordinator. Of course, Jones isn't in Allen's class in terms of athleticism or arm strength, so the comparison falls apart upon closer inspection.
Of course, Jones doesn't have to be as good as Allen to help this offense take a step forward, and Daboll does figure to be a pretty big upgrade on the Joe Judge/Jason Garrett combination. In theory, Jones has some pretty good weapons to work with, though Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard will all have to prove they are healthy and then stay healthy in order for that theory to prove true. You can squint and see how the Giants could have a pretty good offense, but it requires an awful lot of things to go right for an awful lot of players who haven't had much go right over the years.
1. (5) Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE
1. (7) Evan Neal, OL
2. (43) Wan'Dale Robinson, WR
3. (67) Joshua Ezeudu, OL
3. (81) Cordale Flott, CB
4. (112) Daniel Bellinger, TE
4. (114) Dane Belton, DB
5. (146) Micah McFadden, LB
5. (147) D.J. Davidson, DT
5. (173) Marcus McKethan, OL
6. (182) Darrian Beavers, LB
169 carries, 58 RB targets, 53 WR targets, 112 TE targets
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Daniel Jones||PA: 590, YD: 4015, TD: 22, INT: 15; RUSH -- ATT: 77, YD: 387, TD: 3|
|RB||Saquon Barkley||CAR: 237, YD: 947, TD: 8, TAR: 77, REC: 58, YD: 432, TD: 2|
|RB||Matt Breida||CAR: 108, YD: 430, TD: 4, TAR: 0, REC: 0, YD: 0, TD: 0|
|WR||Kenny Golladay||TAR: 90, REC: 63, YD: 629, TD: 4|
|WR||Sterling Shepard||TAR: 88, REC: 49, YD: 629, TD: 5|
|WR||Kadarius Toney||TAR: 118, REC: 83, YD: 841, TD: 5|
|TE||Ricky Seals-Jones||TAR: 59, REC: 35, YD: 314, TD: 2|
Can Daniel Jones be even competent?
Yeah, we're setting the bar pretty low here. The Giants actually have some intriguing skill position talent, but as we saw last year, that really didn't matter much given the QB play. Daboll has a well-earned reputation thanks to his work with Josh Allen, but Jones is three years into a career averaging 6.6 yards per attempt with a 3.5% touchdown rate, so Daboll has his work cut out for him. Snagging a few Giants at discounted prices in the event a breakout happens isn't a bad idea, though.
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One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Golladay's first season with the Giants really couldn't have gone worse. After averaging better than 10 yards per target in 2019 and 2020, he dropped all the way down to 6.9. His catch rate fell to below 50% and his yards per catch fell below 15 for the first time in his career, despite Golladay's average depth of target remaining pretty high. He just wasn't getting many catchable targets and wasn't winning when he got them. The problem for Golladay is that he'll never be the kind of receiver who wins by getting wide open -- he had the least average yards of separation last season -- so playing with an indecisive, inaccurate quarterback is just a bad combo. However, the price is low and the upside high enough that I'm willing to snag Golladay at cost -- WR53 in ADP, roughly the 12th or 13th round.
In running back terms, three years is a long time, and that's how far removed we are from Barkley's rookie season, the only time he's really looked like an elite Fantasy option. Does he still have that upside? Barkley seems to think so, and he's talked a lot about how this is the best he's felt in years after coming back from a torn ACL last season. Barkley was largely a disappointment last season, but it's worth remembering that he was starting to show some of that upside, totaling 220 yards, three touchdowns, and 11 catches in Weeks 3 and 4. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle in Week 5 after six snaps and just never really looked the same after missing four games, and was even used more or less in an even timeshare with Devontae Booker down the stretch. If the offense as a whole is better, that bodes well for Barkley, but his own health will be the most important factor.
Reports indicating that the Giants were considering trading Toney around the NFL Draft came as a shock to Fantasy players, but people who cover the team seemed a bit less surprised. Toney has struggled with injuries since being selected in the first round in 2021 and hasn't participated in offseason workouts with the team while recovering from a minor knee surgery. Hopefully that won't be a lingering issue, but Toney enters Year 2 with a lot of questions around how likely he is to ultimately live up to the upside he clearly has. Toney really only flashed that upside in two games, when he had 16 catches for 267 combined yards in Weeks 4 and 5 -- and he did that despite playing just 54% of the snaps in Week 5 before being ejected. Toney is a tantalizing talent, but he has a lot to prove at this point.