“I want to be apart of it – New York, New York.”
Okay, it's safe to say that Mr. Sinatra was not singing about this year's New York Football Giants. The G-men finished 2018 in last place in the NFC East, and things don't look overly optimistic to expect improvement. The defense was a bottom-half unit last year and probably will be worse. The NFC East is a tough division, and quarterback Eli Manning, the franchise's all-time leading passer, is probably in his final season. Most would say life without the aging Eli would be a positive situation for the Giants, however, that may depend if you're as high on rookie QB Daniel Jones as GM Dave Gettleman is (spoiler alert! I'm not).
That all being said, there is fantasy value to be had in the Big Apple. Let's take a look at three players who could help your fantasy team win this year, starting with the most obvious choice, Saquon Barkley.
Saquon Barkley – RB
I usually avoid the obvious really high draft picks in these articles because if you're not drafting early in the first round they will not be available to you. However, if you have the first pick in your fantasy draft this year, I would like to take a minute to talk about why I believe you should take him as the 1.01.
Barkley finished his rookie campaign as the second best running back overall behind Rams star Todd Gurley. The main difference between Gurley and Barkley was the touchdowns – Gurley was in the most dynamic offense in football and made the most of the opportunity. Barkley finished #1 overall in total scrimmage yards behind pretty poor offensive line play. He was the second best rusher to Ezekiel Elliott with1,307 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. In games where the rushing yardage wasn't there, he often made up for it in the passing game, accumulating 721 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air.
If you're picking first in your draft this year, go ahead and take Barkley, especially if you're in any sort of dynasty or keeper league. He's young, he's extremely talented, and unlike some other stars in the league, he's given no reason to think he may get suspended for some sort of character issue. The offensive line should be improved this season, and as I expect the Giants will get scored on quite a bit this year, they will need to score points, and should put the ball in the hands of their best player often.
Evan Engram – TE
Odell Beckham Jr. is out of town and has taken his team leading 124 targets with him. One of the largest beneficiaries of those vacated targets will be Evan Engram. Engram is entering his third year in New York and has rapport with Eli Manning. In his rookie season, Engram turned heads with 722 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, finishing as the TE #5. Last year's campaign was shortened by injury, but he was on pace for nearly 850 yards and five to six touchdowns again. News broke yesterday that expected top WR Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, so I like Engram even more, especially to start the season.
Engram is currently being drafted at the beginning of the sixth round as the fifth tight end off the board. I like him at this draft price. Don't be surprised if his draft stock rises over the coming weeks. If you've got a few studs at running back and wide receiver through the first four rounds of your draft, I think you can take him in the fifth.
Golden Tate – WR
I was planning to feature Sterling Shepard at this point of the article, but with yesterday's news of a broken thumb I've decided to pivot. While he could have value down the stretch, I wouldn't count on him for the start of the season. Sometimes procrastination pays off, folks.
Golden Tate is being undervalued in fantasy mock drafts to this point. He is currently being
drafted towards the back end of the 10th round. Last year was a season to forget for Tate, who had his fewest yardage since 2012. A mid-season trade to Philadelphia didn't help his cause, and I think you can throw those number out the window.
The soon-to-be 31 year old receiver has the entire preseason to get accustomed to the Giants offense. I don't expect him to be the PPR monster he was in Detroit, but I think he has value considering his cheap draft cost. Don't overpay for him, but he deserves consideration as you fill out your roster later in the draft.
Thank you for checking out the Fantasy Football Pilots! You can follow us on twitter @FF_Pilots, and you can follow me @FFBJordan.. We hope you'll come visit us again, and as always, good luck in your league!