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2011 Fantasy outlooks: New York Giants

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Last year was an interesting season for Eli Manning. He finished as the No. 10 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues, but he still had somewhat of a disappointing year.

The positives for Manning were his second-consecutive year with 4,000-plus passing yards and a career-high 31 touchdowns. The negatives were a career-high 25 interceptions and five fumbles. He also missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Now it's time for Manning to build on the positives and have a complete season. His performance could be a difference-maker for Fantasy owners.

Manning falls in the category of quarterbacks that will come off the draft board after all the guaranteed starting options. I have him ranked No. 12, and if you are the last owner to draft a quarterback you have to decide between Manning, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford.

Manning is more consistent than Flacco and Cutler and safer than Stafford even if the Lions starter has more upside. Manning has the potential for another 4,000-plus yard season with his receiving corps of Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and most likely Steve Smith, who is a free agent this offseason. He also has 58 touchdowns the past two years, so 30 touchdowns is a possibility.

If Manning can cut down on the turnovers then he could remain a Top 10 Fantasy option. And that would be great value for someone drafted in Round 7 or later.

Sleeper ... Mario Manningham, WR

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value
Quarterbacks
Eli Manning
Running Backs
Ahmad Bradshaw
Brandon Jacobs
Wide Receivers
Hakeem Nicks
Mario Manningham
Steve Smith
Tight Ends
Kevin Boss
Kicker/DST
Lawrence Tynes
Giants DST

Manningham had a career year in his third year in the NFL in 2010, and he's hoping to build off that performance this season in what should be a contract year. Manningham has the chance for a good season with Smith dealing with a knee injury and potentially not coming back to the team. Last season, Manningham had 60 catches for 944 yards and nine touchdowns, and he has 14 touchdowns in his past two years. He closed the season on a high note with 16 catches for 346 yards and four touchdowns in his final three games, and he's capable of big stats as a go-to target for Manning. Manningham will likely open the season starting opposite Nicks, and with that being the case we consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside to play like a No. 2 option. He's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues, and hopefully he can hold off Smith for targets if he returns.

Late-round flier ... Brandon Jacobs, RB

Ahmad Bradshaw is a free agent this offseason, but he's expected to return to the Giants and remain the starter. He should be drafted as early as Round 2. But Jacobs is expected to again share carries with Bradshaw, and coach Tom Coughlin has said he wants to get Jacobs more involved. Jacobs finished 2010 with quality stats of 147 carries for 823 yards (5.6 average) and nine touchdowns, and he had seven games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Bradshaw clearly has more upside than Jacobs at this point in his career, but Jacobs is still a quality Fantasy reserve. He has the potential to duplicate his stats from 2010 this season, and with that being the case we recommend drafting him as a No. 3 running back with a mid-round pick even though has been going late on Draft Day. He's not expected to play like he did in 2008 when he had 1,089 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, but he should still produce enough to be considered a potential flex option or someone to use as a bye-week or injury replacement.

Injury-risk candidate … Steve Smith, WR

Smith has two things working against him this offseason: a knee injury and a lack of a contract. He's expected to return to the Giants this year, but when he will get back on the field is another story. Smith suffered torn cartilage in his knee in December and underwent microfracture surgery. He hopes to be ready by training camp, but that's overly optimistic. We expect to see Smith early in the year, barring a setback, and he will likely be the No. 3 receiver for the Giants behind Nicks and Manningham and work in the slot. He could eventually replace Manningham as a starter if he plays well, but Smith should only be drafted with a mid-round pick as a risk/reward receiver. He's someone to stash on your roster and wait for his return. When healthy, as we saw in 2009, Smith has 100-catch, 1,200-yard potential with a half-dozen touchdowns, and we hope he can get back to that level soon.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@WAS STL @PHI @ARI SEA BUF bye MIA @NE @SF PHI @NO GB @DAL WAS @NYJ DAL

The Giants benefit from nine home games this season with a Week 16 matchup "at" the Jets. That should be a fun contest for New Yorkers, but Fantasy owners won't love the lack of offense when those two defenses meet, especially in a potential Fantasy championship. The Giants, even with playing in the NFC East, have a relatively easy schedule with home games against St. Louis, Seattle and Buffalo. But they have a tough two-week stretch with a road game at New England in Week 9 followed by a cross-country trip to San Francisco in Week 10. Still, the overall schedule should favor Bradshaw, Jacobs and the passing game.

Training camp topics

2010 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Ahmad Bradshaw 323
Brandon Jacobs 154
Hakeem Nicks 79
Mario Manningham 61
Steve Smith 48

Smith's health will be a big topic to see if he can return on time. His presence on the field will impact two players for Fantasy owners when you factor in Manningham. We already have established Nicks as the best Fantasy receiver for the Giants, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 2 in all leagues.

Fantasy owners should also monitor if Coughlin will stick to his word about getting Jacobs more touches. If Jacobs can get into the 180-carry range and maintain his 5.6-yard average then he could be looking at 1,000-plus rushing yards and double digits in touchdowns. That's tremendous value with a late-round pick.

Of course, Jacobs' draft status will depend on Bradshaw, and we expect him to be in camp with the Giants. But two players who won't be in camp with the Giants are Tiki Barber and Plaxico Burress.

The Giants own the rights to Barber and Burress, but they are expected to join new teams once the lockout is over. Barber has minimal Fantasy value and should not be drafted in the majority of leagues, but Burress could be worth drafting with a late-round selection if he signs with the right team.

Injury update

Steve Smith (knee; questionable for the start of training camp) … Hakeem Nicks (toe; probable for the start of training camp) ... Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle; probable for the start of training camp) ... Kevin Boss (hip; probable for the start of training camp) ... Osi Umenyiora (hip; probable for the start of training camp)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley: 'I have something to prove'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is expected to become a free agent in the coming weeks and he is ready for the experience.

"I'm excited about it," Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday. "As a player coming into the league, you get there and your first contract you kind of have to establish yourself and see what you can do. Everybody is a good player if you get to make it to the NFL, but there is something to be said if you get to that second contract."

Ridley has rushed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons in the league with the Patriots.

"Where I'll be playing, and who I'll be playing for, is still unknown, but I know I've come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent's hands to get me on another team, or stay where I'm at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick."

Ridley has played in 20 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, starting in just 11 of them.

"I take it personal to any team or anybody that says I can't be a very productive player on whatever team I land on," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life, I'm going to come in and be a leader, and I'm going to be a guy that comes in and busts his butt in the weight room and busts his butt on the field. I'm a good teammate, I have fun with my guys, but when the lights come on Sundays, it's all business and I plan on going out there and making plays."


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Dobson finished a disappointing 2014 season with three catches for 38 yards.

"He is doing great," Fischer said. "I'm really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we're working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else's. Nothing major."


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The Falcons have also reportedly been interested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

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(2/27/2015) With the signing of Josh McCown Friday, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer could be looking elsewhere for employment. Coach Mike Pettine called Hoyer to inform him the team was signing McCown and Hoyer appears ready to move on, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Hoyer played in 14 games for the Browns in 2014, throwing for 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He lost his starting position to Johnny Manziel in Week 15, but was forced back into action after Manziel suffered a season-ending injury.


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(2/27/2015) Free agent quarterback Josh McCown has agreed to terms with the Browns on a contract, according to his agent Mike McCartney. The team later confirmed the report. The deal is reportedly set to have McCown on the Browns for three seasons, according to ESPN.

McCown, who will turn 36 before the season begins, previously visited with the Bills before signing with the Browns. McCown threw for 2,206 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2014 with the Buccaneers.


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(2/27/2015) Jets receiver Percy Harvin will not agree to a reduction in his 2015 salary, reports CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. 

Harvin is slated to earn $10.5 million this season, something the Jets cannot afford. Teams around the league are interested signing Harvin to a short-term deal. With his expensive contract, though, the Jets will be hard-pressed to find a suitor interested in trading Harvin. 

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(2/27/2015) Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne underwent surgery Friday to repair his injured triceps, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Wayne, 36, is beginning rehab for the injury and is reportedly considering retirement, according to Rapoport.

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Buccaneers' Vincent Jackson not accepting pay cut for 2015
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(2/27/2015) Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is likely to remain with Tampa Bay this offseason, but he is not willing to accept a pay cut, according to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

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by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Though Sean Weatherspoon missed most of the past two seasons due to injuries, Falcons coach Dan Quinn is hopeful the franchise can re-sign the standout inside linebacker to a new contract before he hits the free agent market on March 10. 

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