Fantasy Football Free Agency Preview: New York Giants

Free agency has a major impact on fantasy football. For dynasty team owners it’s never too early to start thinking about how player values could change.

I’m going through each team’s free agency and salary cap as a thought exercise. As an avid dynasty player, knowing how player values could change is key to making good decisions about which players to stash and which to put on the trade block. Once I finish running through the teams, I’ll circle back and do some more player or position-specific analysis.

New York Giants

Free Agents1

PLAYER POS TEAM TYPE 16 SAL 16 GUAR TEAM CAP
Josh Johnson QB Giants UFA $885,000 $0 $28,434,686
Ryan Nassib QB Giants UFA $653,400 $453,600 $28,434,686
Bobby Rainey RB Giants UFA $840,000 $40,000 $28,434,686
Orleans Darkwa RB Giants RFA $600,000 $0 $28,434,686
Nikita Whitlock RB Giants ERFA $480,000 $0 $28,434,686
Larry Donnell TE Giants UFA $1,671,000 $0 $28,434,686
Will Tye TE Giants ERFA $525,000 $0 $28,434,686
Matt LaCosse TE Giants ERFA $442,500 $0 $28,434,686
Ben Edwards WR Giants ERFA $442,500 $0 $28,434,686

Cut Candidates

TEAM PLAYER POS DEAD $ CAP SAVINGS
GIANTS S.VEREEN RB 1.2 3.8
GIANTS R.JENNINGS RB 0.6 2.5
GIANTS V.CRUZ WR 1.9 7.5

Needs – QB, TE, WR

There are already rumors that the Giants might be interested drafting a quarterback, and both of their primary tight ends are free agents. Victor Cruz will probably have to take a pay cut to stick around, or the Giants could just replace him with a cheaper option. Running back appears to have a lot of moving parts, but probably not an empty chair once the music stops.

Discussion

We had some sleeper-love for Will Tye prior to the season, but it never really panned out. He did eventually replace Larry Donnell as the starter, but he only managed to produce one double-digit PPR performance. He might re-sign, but I don’t see any need to hold on to him at this point. Almost any free agent TE that signed with New York would be in the mix to be the starter, even if Tye re-signs.

At wide receiver, Sterling Shepard out produced Cruz, and should remain the team’s WR2 next year. Cruz did well in his return, but is over priced for his new role. He might return at a reduced salary, or get replaced. Regardless, the Giants third WR doesn’t carry a lot of value — just 12 percent of targets went to the position this year.

The most interesting position here for fantasy purposes is running back. Three role players are free agents, and two veterans are potential cap casualties. Paul Perkins is really the only RB assured of a roster spot. Both Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen could return, but I think it’s likely one of them is gone.

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Vereen has been less eficient as both a runner and receiver, and costs almost $2 million more than Jennings, so if it were up to me, Vereen would be the odd man out. Vereen’s PPR points per game have also declined four straight seasons. I’d gladly move on from Vereen if I could get a second round pick for him. He could end up in a decent role somewhere else of course, but there aren’t many positive indicators going for him.

Jennings arguably has more value, especially if he sticks with the Giants. In a season where he missed three games and served in a three-way committee at times, he still finished as PPR RB36. It’s possible that becomes just a two-way committee next year, with Jennings and Perkins splitting the work. Of course, having more potential value than Vereen doesn’t mean Jennings is a must-hold. I’d keep him on my bench in very deep leagues, but in shallow leagues I’d be willing to drop him if I could upgrade.

Perkins holds the most value in the Giants backfield, as both the youngest and cheapest back. Here’s how Perkins looks compared to some other rookies.

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Of course, the most important thing for RBs is volume, which is a bit of an open question. DeAndre Washington will have to contend with Jalen Richard, regardless of what happens with Latavius Murray. In Tennessee, Derrick Henry has another year of DeMarco Murray. Baltimore’s Kenneth Dixon may be the most likely to become a workhorse next year, but that’s not guaranteed. Perkins seems fairly certain to see an increased role. All it takes is one of Vereen or Jennings getting cut. If both get cut, then Perkins could be a workhorse too. All of that is very fluid of course but I think you could make a case that, as of right now, looking at just 2017, these four have similar value.

  1. Available cap space was compiled in mid-December, 2016, and may have changed since. I’ll update that once I finish reviewing all the teams.  (back)

Charles Kleinheksel

Editor and contributor since 2013. Director of Special Projects August 2017. Occasionally found at numberFire, Rotoballer, and FantasyPros.

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