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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
Martellus Bennett scores again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett scored for the second straight week Sunday night at San Francisco. Bennett hauled in seven of eight targets for 37 yards, including an easy 3-yard score to put Chicago ahead with 13:14 remaining.

Bennett, who tied for the team lead in targets, visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Alshon Jeffery guts it out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Playing on a tender hamstring, Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery was clearly not 100 percent Week 2 at San Francisco. He managed three catches on six targets for 47 yards.

Jeffery came up with a big play with eight minutes left in the game. His 29-yard reception fueled Chicago's final touchdown drive in a 28-20 win.

Jeffery has an extra day to get healthy for Week 3, as the Bears visit the Jets on Monday Night Football.


Matt Forte held to 36 yards
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:14 am ET) Bears running back Matt Forte couldn't get going Sunday night at San Francisco, totaling 36 yards on 17 touches from scrimmage. Forte ran eight times for 8 yards in the first half and finished with 12 carries for 21 yards.

He added five catches for 15 yards. On the plus side, Forte tied for the team lead with eight targets.

Forte visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Colin Kaepernick craters with four turnovers
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick turned in a careless performance Week 2 vs. the Bears. Kaepernick threw three interceptions, including one throw across his body into traffic, and lost a fumble.

He completed 21 of 34 throws for 248 yards and a touchdown and ran nine times for 66 yards.

Things started well for Kaepernick, who tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree less than three minutes in. But he lost tight end Vernon Davis to an ankle injury in the second half and the offense bogged down. Kaepernick was picked off twice in the fourth quarter by rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller as the Bears stormed back to win 28-20.

Kaepernick will try to bounce back Week 3 at Arizona.


Jay Cutler shreds 49ers for four touchdown passes
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Bears quarterback Jay Cutler played one of the finest games of his career Week 2 at San Francisco. After a ragged start, Cutler picked apart the 49ers. He hit 23 of 34 throws for 176 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions or fumbles, and he ran five times for 25 yards.

It was an unusually discplined performance for Cutler, who posted a 119.2 passer rating.

Cutler began to heat up in the second quarter. Wideout Brandon Marshall helped him out with a ridiculous, one-handed 17-yard touchdown catch right before halftime, and Cutler was consistently brilliant in the second half, throwing just one incompletion.

He's up to six touchdown passes entering Week 3 at the Jets on Monday Night Football.


Who needs practice? Brandon Marshall catches three TDs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Despite not practicing all week with an ankle injury, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall caught three touchdown passes in the Week 2 win at San Francisco. He has 11 scoring grabs in the last 11 games in which Jay Cutler has taken the majority of snaps at quarterback.

Marshall tied for the team lead with eight targets, hauling in five passes for 48 yards. On his first score right before halftime, Marshall snared a 17-yarder with one hand at the top of his jump. Marshall added 5- and 3-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Marshall has 27 touchdown catches since the start of the 2012 season -- tied for most in the NFL with New Orleans' Jimmy Graham. Marshall visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Jay Ratliff has a concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff suffered a concussion in the second half against the 49ers, reports NBC Sports. Ratliff made two tackles, one for loss, before leaving.

Vernon Davis suffers ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis suffered an ankle injury in the second half against the Bears and did not return. Davis was dragged down from behind after making his third catch.

He caught all three of his targets for 39 yards. The severity of his injury was unclear.


Chris Conte ruled out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Bears safety Chris Conte, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first half against the 49ers, won't return to Sunday night's game. He watched the fourth quarter in street clothes.

Conte has an interception in both games this season.


Clinton McDonald, William Gholston each come away with a pick
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Buccaneers defensive linemen Clinton McDonald and William Gholston each came away with a sack Week 2 against the Rams. McDonald sacked Austin Davis in the third quarter, while Gholston took down the quarterback in the fourth quarter. McDonald registered seven total tackles (six solo), with one sack and one tackle for loss. Gholston registered six total tackles (four solo), with one sack and one tackle for loss. 

 
 
 
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