A season ago, quarterback Eli Manning threw only 10.5 percent of his passes 20-yards or more through the air, which was the fourth-lowest percentage in the league and one of the lowest totals of his professional career. In 2016, that’s likely to change somewhat.
“We have to throw it more and give our receivers a chance to make plays and catch the ball,” Manning told Giants.com on Monday. “It’s dependent on what the defense is doing, too. We’ve got to be able to find completions if they are going to play zone and play soft. Let’s force them to come press us up and be more aggressive, and then we can get our shots down the field. When we throw them, we’ve got to hit them.”
When we think of Odell Beckham, we usually think of a wide receiver who excels at making plays with the ball in the air. That’s why I was surprised to learn that the Giants haven’t thrown deep much with Beckham on the team. I wanted to know how much difference that makes for Beckham’s target profile.
Using the AYA App, I summarized a few of the top WRs’ downfield target rates over their last two seasons (2013-14 for Jordy Nelson; 2014-15 for everyone else). Beckham got the lowest rate of downfield targets, and it wasn’t particularly close:
|Player||Percent of targets 15+ yards downfield|
It’s not because Beckham hasn’t been good downfield. He was a beast down the middle of the field and very good on the right side.
Manning wasn’t very effective throwing deep-left to Beckham, but that appears to be a Manning problem, not a Beckham one. Manning was worse throwing deep-left to other WRs than he was throwing deep-left to Beckham.1
There’s no way to project a better fantasy season for Beckham than he had in 2014 and 2015. He’s averaged 22.8 fantasy points per game in PPR since entering the league, and he turns 24 in November. But a few more downfield targets couldn’t hurt.
For more discussion of the Giants’ 2016 offense, check out the projections articles from Justin Winn and Jason Laso. Both writers project an explosive passing game, and Laso is particularly high on Manning, noting that he’s still a value at QB10 in best ball drafts. Also read 14Team Mocker’s Victor Cruz breakdown and my take on the polarizing Sterling Shepard.
- Though that statement would also be true in every other section of the field. (back)