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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
Rams not expected to pick up 2016 option on S Mark Barron
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(5:51 pm ET) The Rams are not expected to pick up the 2016 option on safety Mark Barron, reports ProFootballTalk.com. 

The Rams acquired Barron from the Buccaneers in a trade midseason last year for a fourth- and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. 

He started all seven games he was with the Rams in 2014. 

The Rams will evaluate Barron's play in 2015 before deciding if they'll pursue a new contract.


Giants waive running back Michael Cox
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) The Giants have waived running back Michael Cox, the team has announced.

Cox played in four games in 2014, having his season cut short after suffering a fractured leg in Week 10.

A seventh-round draft choice in 2013, Cox played in 18 games and started one in two seasons for the Giants.

Rams to exercise fifth-year option on DT Michael Brockers
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(5:04 pm ET) The Rams have announced that they will exercise the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers, keeping him with the club through at least 2016, per NFL.com. 

Brockers was drafted No. 14 overall in 2012 by the Rams and has started every game for the team the last two seasons. 

The former LSU standout will earn over $5 million in 2016 after signing a four-year, $9.52 million rookie deal.


Report: Eagles excercise fifth-year option on Fletcher Cox
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:28 pm ET) The Eagles have reportedly exercised their fifth-year team option on defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, according to NFL Network.

Cox is entering his four season in Philadelphia, where he has missed just one game his career. Cox has totaled 109 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks in his three seasons with the club.


Bills release DB Jonte Green
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4:14 pm ET) After signing him in January, the Bills have released defensive back Jonte Green, the team has announced.

Green was drafted by the Lions in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of New Mexico State.

He played 24 games with seven starts over the 2012 and 2013 seasons for the Lions and totaled 38 tackles, one sack, seven passes defensed and one interception.

He did not play in the NFL in 2014.


Bills send DB Jonte Green packing
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:06 pm ET) The Bills have released defensive back Jonte Green three-and-a-half months after signing him.

Green played in 24 games with Detroit in 2012 and 2013. He totaled 38 tackles, one sacks and seven passes defensed.


Report: NFLPA appeals Greg Hardy suspension
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:58 pm ET) The NFL Players Association has appealed the 10-game suspension of Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, per the Charlotte Observer.

The union is expected to claim that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell applied the discipline retroactively under the new personal conduct policy, which was not enacted until December - seven months after Hardy was arrested on domestic violence charges.

Goodell, however, has claimed that the suspension is identical to what it would have been under the old policy for conduct detrimental to the league.

Hardy, who signed an incentive-enhanced one-year deal with Dallas in March, could lose as much as $5.8 million if the suspension stands.


Redskins pick up QB Robert Griffin III's fifth-year option
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:03 pm ET) Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan announced Monday that the team will pick up quarterback Robert Griffin III's fifth-year option for the 2016 season, a move worth $16.155 million, per The Washington Post

The Redskins have already announced that Griffin will be the starter this season, and locking him up would not affect the team's plans, if they have any, to draft a quarterback. NFL Media insider Albert Breer said the team views the option as a franchise tag of sorts. 

The risk comes in that if Griffin is hurt during this season, the Redskins would be on the hook to pay the full $16 million. If Griffin does not perform well in 2015, the Redskins could release the quarterback without taking a salary-cap hit. 

Griffin threw for 1,694 yards and four touchdowns with six interceptions last season.


Steelers WR Antonio Brown arrives at team facility
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:52 am ET) Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was noticably absent during the first few days of the team's offseason workout program, was back in camp on Monday, the team reported. 

Speculation bloomed that Brown was dissatisfied with his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $6 million this season, but Brown wrote on Twitter that he was spending time with his newborn child and would be back soon. 

The receiver racked up 1,815 yards and 138 catches for the Steelers last season.


Joe Flacco: Ravens don't need to draft wide receiver
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:35 am ET) When your Super Bowl quarterback doesn't believe his team needs to draft a wide receiver, then perhaps it doesn't.

Joe Flacco feels the Ravens are well-stocked in that area despite having lost Torrey Smith to free agency. They still boast Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanero and Jeremy Butler, but are expected to seriously considering adding a wideout as early as the first round.

"Obviously, without Torrey now, the one thing we probably don't have as much of is that speed, is that one guy who can stretch the field," Flacco told ESPN. "But I'm not going to say we need it. I think we got really good guys and I think we're good with who we have."


 
 
 
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