Prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season, the New York Giants looked like they would be a bastion of fantasy football value. As many as half a dozen players, and maybe more, would be viable pieces in standard fantasy leagues. Despite the struggles on offense last season, this was going to be a group to pay close attention to this season. After one game, that story line looks vastly different.
Week 1 was obviously headlined by the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. For New York, it was an awful occurrence. For fantasy owners, it should have been a welcomed scenario. Without Beckham, the other Giants would be privy to many more targets and chances.
That never materialized against the Dallas Cowboys. Instead of being buoyed by Beckham’s absence, the remaining players were simply unable to get open or find any space to maneuver. Sterling Shepard was the biggest winner for New York, gathering seven receptions on eight targets. But everything thrown his way was underneath. No plays were made deep down the field.
Roger Lewis was statistically the best Giants wide receiver, but he should hardly see the field when Beckham is healthy. The real alarming outcome was what happened with Brandon Marshall. Instead of developing into the go-to guy, Marshall completely disappeared. With it being his first game in the NY offense, we have to give him more time. But this was incredibly disconcerting for Marshall owners. If he can’t do anything with Beckham out, he certainly can’t be trusted to produce with the majority of all targets going OBJ’s way.
The same goes for tight end Evan Engram. Just a rookie, many hoped he would break out immediately as a pass catcher and need more time to refine the rest of his game. Even the former didn’t happen in Week 1. He needs more time in all aspects of his game, and Eli Manning needs more time in developing a rapport with the young man.
In the backfield, Paul Perkins had no room to run and did nothing with the room that existed. He was out-snapped by Shane Vereen and essentially split time with Orleans Darkwa. Fantasy owners hoping 2017 was going to be Perkins’ breakout have to be terrified of the implications of Week 1’s outcome. Vereen now looks like the most useful Giants back.
Vereen didn’t carry the ball a single time, but he was on the field for 31 of the 58 offensive snaps according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. He saw 10 targets in the passing game, hauling in nine receptions. Perkins, conversely, saw just 17 snaps, carrying the ball seven times for 16 yards. In PPR leagues, Vereen’s receptions alone could be worth more than Perkins’ entire output.
A Dirty, Worn, Silver Lining
The Giants defense was solid against Dallas, though it didn’t generate fantasy points. No, really. It didn’t generate a single fantasy point. This isn’t necessarily a bad sign. The Cowboys have a formidable offense that was given a major advantage thanks to the ineptitude of the NY offense. Even still, Dallas hardly pushed the G-Men around on that side of the ball. Moving forward, the New York defense should still be a viable fantasy play.
Beckham remains questionable to play Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. He is a must-start when active. After one week of game play, he may be the only Giant who fits that description.