Fantasy Football: New York Giants player options for Week 1

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 18: Odell Beckham Jr. /

Chances are that football fans who watched the Atlanta Falcons versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, did so with a specific intent, Fantasy Football.

Even though the New York Giants weren’t playing, I’m guilty as charged. First, with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell seemingly out of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, I needed the Eagles top rushing threat, Jay Ajayi, to come through for me. He did with two touchdowns, and 20.20 points in Yahoo Fantasy Public Leagues.

Of course, I still have a bit of a hill to climb, as my lucky opponent, so happened to pick-up James Conner (Steelers), and he’s predicted to get him 14.26 points. Bell’s teammates aren’t the only ones angry with him.

Hopefully, you drafted running back depth. In my 10-team league, I was able to secure Isaiah Crowell with the 117th selection. He’s actually my fourth running back. Crowell was given a season rank of 95 in Yahoo Public Leagues, and he should be the primary ball carrier for the New York Jets. Crowell has a 10.17 points prediction from Yahoo this week, and that should be on the cusp of of 10 and 12 team starting line-ups.

For the first time in forever, the New York Giants have a high-quality option at running back in Saquon Barkley. He’s rostered in 100 percent of Yahoo leagues, which is no surprise. In my 10-team draft, Barkley went sixth, just after Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.

New York Giants
New York Giants /

New York Giants

Ironically, former Fantasy Football must-have, Odell Beckham, dropped to 11th in this particular draft. In two “real” drafts, and several mock Fantasy Football drafts, running backs seemed tremendously over-valued. Eight of 10 first-round picks in my draft were running backs, with the exception of the aforementioned Brown and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans (10th).

Based upon what I saw in Philadelphia on opening night, your running backs had better be able to find the end zone. That’s the primary reason, I don’t love, as a RB1 option, Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons). He went 23rd in my draft, three selections before I grabbed QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers).

The Falcons and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian have yet to figure out the Red Zone concept. This stupidity hurts owners who drafted dynamic wideout Julio Jones too. The fourth-down Freeman sweep was one of the worst-ever play calls I have ever seen. Ever hear of a fade pattern? How about a slant?

If you’re doing a late draft, keep a cool head, despite the running back craziness. I sweated out getting Ajayi (37th) and then Houston Texans Lamar Miller with the 44th pick. The Miami Dolphins’ Kenyon Drake appears to be another good option at that point in the draft. He went with the 32nd selection in my draft.

The real RB lunacy manifests itself when Tom Brady goes one selection before Chris Carson (Seattle Seahawks) in the sixth round. Carson had a good preseason, but drafting based solely on preseason is a flawed strategy. He’s gained 208 yards in his NFL career people.

Big Blue Opportunities

Now back to our favorite team.

With Beckham and Barkley being solid first-round Fantasy Football picks, what other players are legitimately useable for your line-up? Well, right now no one is buying the New York Giants kicker or defense. And when it comes to drafting, I either load up on defense and kicker positions, or let the draft play out.

For the record, the New York Giants defense has been drafted in only 6 percent of Yahoo leagues. As we know, drafting for your team defense remains the toughest part of Fantasy Football. Down the road, keep an eye on Big Blue. After defensive coordinator James Bettecher’s scheme is fully implemented, the G-Men may very well be an option. I would still be concerned about their pass defense though.

At kicker, I’m not sold on Aldrick Rosas either, and at present, neither is anyone else. It must be fandom that has anyone drafting Rosas (1% of Yahoo leagues). One again, have an open mind about seeing results, as Rosas does have a strong leg. But September has a funny way of making preseason success go away quickly.

Because of the major run on halfbacks, I loaded up with Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) as my kicker and the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. As such, I was going to necessarily be a bottom-feeding bargain shopper.

Finally, the New York Giants other receiver weapons, wideout Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, are Fantasy Football unknowns at this point. There is no doubt in my mind that because of coverage packages intended to stymie Odell Beckham, Shepard will have a monster game or two this season. The only problem remains that you cannot plan for it.

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

And because of the inevitable wide receiver injuries, Shepard seems worth taking around 117. He’s projected to have 9.63 points this week against Jacksonville, however, that shouldn’t be enough to be in your starting line-up.

As an example, I have Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers) as my flex option with his predicted 10.16 points, but he’s the top threat in Charlotte.

I drafted Engram in the seventh round, just ahead of the final wave of tight ends: Delanie Walker (Tennessee Titans), Trey Burton (Chicago Bears) and Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings). Scheme-wise, I think head coach Pat Shurmur looks to be a great fit for Engram. But Engram is not an efficient receiver.

Let me stop you before you start, Engram’s inefficiency has nothing to do with quarterback play. If it did, how else do you explain Sterling Shepard’s 70 percent targets-to-catch ratio, when Engram sat last year at 55 percent? Admit it, he dropped a lot of passes. I based my decision on projecting where Engram might end up. I could be upset that I didn’t trust my gut and go with David Njoku (Cleveland Browns) instead.

Finally, in previous seasons, I almost always selected quarterback Eli Manning as my back-up. I didn’t this year, as I thought Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders) was a better option. More people agree with me, as Carr is rostered in 54 percent of Yahoo Leagues, while Manning was grabbed in just 27 percent. We will undoubtedly revisit that situation as the league progresses.

Related Story. Fantasy Football: 5 Undervalued New York Giants. light

Enjoy opening week in your own Fantasy Football league, and please feel free to post questions on the GMenHQ Facebook page or on our Twitter account. We’ll do our best to answer them, but don’t wait until the last minute. These reflections of this article represent the opinion of the author, and are not to be construed as advice or a solicitation of a specific fantasy game or player.