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Offseason Primers: New York Giants

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Giants might have had a Super Bowl hangover in 2012. At least that's an excuse they can use for a down season.

After winning Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots to end the 2011 season, the Giants fell apart. They finished 9-7 but failed to make the playoffs, and their key players really struggled.

Eli Manning was miserable for most of the season. Ahmad Bradshaw was inconsistent and lost a ton of Fantasy production to Andre Brown. Hakeem Nicks was hurt again. And rookie phenom David Wilson failed to get on the field early in the season.

2012 Touches Leaders
732 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Ahmad Bradshaw 244 (221 car., 23 rec.) 33.3%
Victor Cruz 86 rec. 11.7%
Andre Brown 85 (73 car., 12 rec.) 11.6%
David Wilson 75 (71 car., 4 rec.) 10.2%
Martellus Bennett 55 rec. 7.5%
All Others 187 25.5%

Only Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett played well, and now Bennett is gone as a free agent to Chicago. He is being replaced by Brandon Myers, and the Giants should have a different look this season.

Manning is poised for a rebound year, especially if Nicks returns at 100 percent. And the Giants will replace Bradshaw, who was released, with a combination of Wilson and Brown. Cruz is back to lead the receiving corps, and we hope Myers can replicate his performance with the Raiders last season in New York.

We expect the Giants to play better in 2013 than they did last year because they're too talented to struggle again. And if that happens as expected then you can count on the Giants' offense to help Fantasy owners just as they have in the past.

Eli Manning -- Bounce-back candidate

2012 Target Leaders
539 pass attempts
Victor Cruz 143 26.5%
Hakeem Nicks 100 18.5%
Martellus Bennett 90 16.7%
Domenik Hixon 59 10.9%
Rueben Randle 32 5.9%
All Others 115 21.3%

Manning's final stats in 2012 were respectable but misleading. He finished the year with 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, which gave him 276 Fantasy points in a standard league. But Manning needed 208 passing yards and five touchdowns -- 38 Fantasy points -- in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Eagles to save his production. Without that game, Manning would have been the No. 22 Fantasy quarterback compared to where he actually finished at No. 14. He was brutal for most of the season (he had four games with five Fantasy points or less), and we hope a rebound year is in order. Getting Nicks back at 100 percent will help, and the Giants need to hope Rueben Randle can become a viable third receiver all season and that Myers can continue to play at a high level. Prior to last year, Manning had consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards and 30 total touchdowns. It won't take him much to get back to that level, and he actually presents great value since he'll fall to a mid- to late-round pick in most leagues. We love getting Manning as a low-end starter or high-end backup, and he should bounce back in 2013.

David Wilson -- Breakout

The Giants showed how much they are committed to Wilson this offseason when they cut Bradshaw. That left the running back position to Wilson and Brown splitting carries, with Wilson the expected starter. He was drafted in the first round last year out of Virginia Tech but struggled to get on the field at running back for most of the season, mostly because of his lack of pass blocking. But he displayed his talents as the year went on, including a big game in Week 14 against New Orleans when he had 13 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He closed the season with 49 Fantasy points in his final four games, and he should have the chance for a big season. Brown will take on the short-yardage work, limiting Wilson's touchdowns, but he has 1,500 total-yard potential, and we love his upside with Bradshaw gone. He's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues. As for Brown, he could reach double digits in touchdowns, and he's a nice sleeper with a mid-round pick.

Hakeem Nicks -- Injury-risk sleeper

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Eli Manning 94-100 overall
David Wilson 34-42 overall
Andre Brown 55-62 overall
Victor Cruz 35-43 overall
Hakeem Nicks 65-72 overall
Brandon Myers Undrafted

Nicks is out to prove that he's still among the best receivers in the NFL after an injury-plagued year in 2012. Nicks appeared in 13 games last season, but his leg injuries were problematic. He was limited to 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns, with his yards and touchdowns new career lows. If Nicks is able to take part in training camp without any problems then he could easily return as a Top 20 Fantasy receiver. Keep in mind prior to last year he had consecutive seasons of at least 76 catches, 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns with 18 total touchdowns over that span. But if he continues to be limited by knee and foot problems then his value will continue to drop. We'd still take a chance on Nicks with a mid-round pick, and hopefully he can rebound to play like an elite Fantasy receiver once again.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Giants' Antrel Rolle says he's hitting free-agent market
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) During an interview with ESPN Radio, Giants safety Antrel Rolle said he is heading toward free agency, reports the New York Daily News.

Negotiations between Rolle and the Giants have not gone well, but Rolle did not rule out re-signing with the Giants. If no deal can be worked out, Rolle will become a free agent March 10.

"This is strictly a business move," Rolle said. "If there's 32 teams interested, I'm going to listen to all 32 teams."


Panthers give TE Greg Olsen a three-year extension
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Panthers announced they signed tight end Greg Olsen to a three-year contract extension on Thursday that will keep him in Carolina through the 2018 season, per the team's official website. The extension is worth $22.5 million, with a $12 million signing bonus, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

Olsen, 29, is fresh off a career year after setting franchise records for receptions (84) and receiving yards (1,008) by a tight end in a season. He cracked the 1,000-yard threshold for the first time in eight seasons in the NFL. He has 5,188 yards and 52 touchdowns in his career, and is the only tight end to catch at least five touchdown passes every year since 2008.


Broncos re-sign long snapper Aaron Brewer
(3/5/2015) The Broncos have re-signed long snapper Aaron Brewer to a four-yeal deal Thursday, according to the team's official website. The deal will keep him with the team through 2018.

The former undrafted free agent has been with the Broncos for three years.  Since being signed, he's played on every punt, field goal and extra point snap.


49ers sign receiver Jerome Simpson to two-year contract
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The 49ers announced they've signed veteran receiver Jerome Simpson to a two-year deal on Thursday. 

Simpson, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, was a former second-round draft selection by the Bengals in 2008. He was last with the Vikings and totaled a single-season best 726 receiving yards in 2013. 

He didn't play in 2014 after the Vikings cut him following a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 


Colts extend qualifying offer to RFA Jerrell Freeman
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Colts gave linebacker Jerrell Freeman, a restricted free agent, a qualifying offer, the organization announced on Thursday. 

The Colts also placed tenders on exclusive-rights free agents OLB Daniel Adongo, RB Dan Herron and OLB Cam Johnson.


Raiders part ways with LaMarr Woodley after one season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) As expected, the Raiders have released defensive end LaMarr Woodley on Thursday, per the team's official website.

Woodley, 30, spent his first seven seasons in Pittsburgh before he signed a two-year contract with the Raiders last offseason. He had just five tackles last season with the Raiders, and 304 tackles (57 sacks) through eight seasons in the league. He was scheduled to make $3.85 million with a salary cap hit of $5.1875 million.  


Chiefs release linebacker Joe Mays
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Chiefs have decided to part ways with veteran linebacker Joe Mays, the organization announced on Thursday. 

The move, according to the Kansas City Star, will save the club $2.7 million in cap space. He was slated to earn a base salary of $2.35 million, with a roster bonus of $300,000 and a workout bonus of $50,000. 

Mays appeared in eight games in 2014 and totaled 20 tackles and one fumble recovery. 


Maurice Jones-Drew calls it a career after nine seasons
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) After nine seasons in the league, Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from professional football via Twitter on Thursday. The 29-year-old running back released the following statement:

"After much discussion with my family and business team during the offseason, I've decided to retire from the National Football League. The past nine years were absolutely amazing! I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me throughout my NFL journey. To my fans, and NFL fans worldwide, you are the absolute greatest! But for you, our league would not exist. Football has been a central part of my life over the past 24 years. But, now I'm excited and looking forward to the next chapter of my life."

Jones-Drew was drafted 60th overall by the Jaguars in 2006, and spent his first eight seasons in Jacksonville before an injury-riddled 2014 campaign with the Raiders.

The three-time Pro Bowler and one-time first team All Pro selection won the rushing titles in 2011 with 1,606 rushing yards. Jones-Drew was never able to play a full season due to several injuries. He combined for 1,313 rushing yards the next three seasons after he was the league's top rusher.


Report: Eagles, Giants to pursue S Devin McCourty
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Eagles and Giants will both pursue soon-to-be free agent safety Devin McCourty when the new league year begins next week, according to a report from NBC Washington. 

McCourty was not franchised by the Patriots on Monday and will therefore hit the market. He acknowledged earlier this week that he may not be back in New England next season. 

The Eagles are reportedly very interested in McCourty and have him high on their free agent board.

After recent roster moves, which included trading running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso, the Eagles are expected to have an estimated $50 million in cap space when free agency begins. 


Report: Giants giving tender to cornerback Chandler Fenner
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Cornerback Chandler Fenner will be with the Giants in 2015. 

According to the New York Daily News, the Giants are placing a tender on Fenner, who is an exclusive-rights free agent. The tender will be worth $510,000 for the 2015 season.

Fenner appeared in 11 games during the 2014 season.  


 
 
 
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