Today, we’ll finish our fantasy previews for New York Giant skill position players. Last season, Eli Manning post career highs in yards (4,933), completions (359), and attempts (589). Prior to 2011, Eli never threw for more than 4,021 yards in a single season. We can credit Victor Cruz’s emergence and big play ability as a catalyst to Eli’s lucrative yardage totals. The Giants’ ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game, so the Giants had to rely on Eli’s right shoulder. Ultimately, Eli led the Giants to their second Super Bowl title in four years and erased all doubt about his place among the game’s best. Entering 2012, are Eli’s fantasy prospects at an all-time high?
Last season, we watched Eli Manning cement his place among the game’s best quarterbacks. His 4,933 passing yards were the fourth highest total in the league. Eli enjoyed the emergence of Cruz and watched Hakeem Nicks blossom in his third full year as a starter. Eli was sacked a career high 28 times, but the Giant offensive line was riddled with injuries. Entering this season, the offensive line appears healthy and that should help create some additional running lanes. The Giants let Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, and Jake Ballard go in the off-season, leaving nearly 1,800 total yards vacated. The Giants drafted David Wilson and Rueben Randle to allievate some of the burden. Eli Manning will need to establish trust with his weapons.
Eli Manning has the league’s best receiving duo at his diposal. Many will worry about Nicks’ foot injury, but he should be ready to go for Week 1. Nicks and Cruz will help open up the running lanes and help the Giants create a more balanced attack. Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson should create a formittable, balanced attack.
Eli’s 4,933 passing yards appear unrepeatable. His yardage total was 900 yards more than any past season. Add in Eli’s new, inexperienced options and matching last year’s total doesn’t seem possible. The Giants also play the league’s toughest schedule and will face tough tests from San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and their NFC East foes. Expect a lot of hard fought, grueling contests.
According to FantasyFootballCalculator, Eli is currently the ninth quarterback off the board. To me, that just screams value for a guy that threw for nearly 5,000 yards last season. Michael Vick, Tony Romo, and Big Brother are currently being drafted ahead of Little Brother. While all three of these players have obvious health concerns, drafters are clearly targetting upside than the steady handed Eli. Personally, I think Vick can be had for a nice value this season, but I’d prefer Eli over Romo and Peyton. Vick can give owners 500+ rushing yards on top of his passing totals. There’s some obvious question marks about his health, but the upside is great. Romo and Peyton don’t offer the rushing upsides, so I like Eli. Given his average draft position, Eli offers some nice value for those waiting on QB. Draft him with confidence and enjoy the rewards.
2012 Projection: 340 completions, 4,200 yards, 28 TDs, 18 INTs