Fantasy Tidbits: Football is Back

Eli Manning
Eli Manning

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been almost six months since there was football played, so seeing the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills on the gridiron for the Hall of Fame game on Sunday was a sight for sore eyes. While the first preseason game is dominated by backups who are fighting for roster spots on their respective teams, fantasy owners were still given some key information. This information can be helpful for owners who have yet to draft, or even those who have drafted and want to make some changes to their roster.

The Giants’s Backfield

Rashad Jennings, who owns an ADP of 4.12 per ffcalculator.com, was the starting running back for the Giants tonight and totaled a respectable 43 yards on 10 touches, including several receptions. Jennings looks like the man who will dominate the field when the Giants are between the 20’s, but once they get into the red zone, it’s Andre Williams time. Williams was the star on Sunday night, totaling 48 yards on seven rushing attempts and one touchdown. He showed short field burst, which was evident on a 20-yard scamper where he outran the linebacker trying to hold the edge, as well as power, which came on his touchdown run.

Keep in mind however that Williams had many of his carries, including his touchdown, running behind the 1st team offensive line. The Bills had their 2nd team defensive front on the field. That being said, it was an encouraging start for Williams, who will see plenty of action if David Wilson is to miss any significant time. It’s also time to rethink Jennings as a potential bell cow back. With Williams in the picture, it’s hard to justify his current 4th/5th round ADP.

Bills’ Passing Attack

EJ Manuel struggled in the opener, completing just two of seven passes for 17 yards. While he did target rookie receiver Sammy Watkins twice, he was staring down his receivers, made evident by two balls batted down by the defensive line. On his first attempt to Watkins, whom many were hoping to be featured, Manuel overthrew him. The next attempt was a jump ball in the end zone, which was nicely defended by the Giants’ defensive back.

Watkins currently has an ADP of 7.01, which is a little rich for my taste considering his quarterback. While Manuel did show flashes of being a capable quarterback last year, Watkins is clearly going to be limited by someone who may not have what it takes to make it in the NFL. I’d much rather have a guy like Marques Colston or Kendall Wright, who are going a few picks later.

Ben McAdoo’s Offense

When reports came out of New York that the Giants wanted Eli Manning to have a 70% completion next year, many, including myself, scoffed. After one game, it seems like the Giants are at least setting Manning up for success. While the offensive line looked to struggle against the dominant front four of the Bills, Manning was looking to get the ball out quickly. He completed six of seven pass attempts for 43 yards, and looked comfortable in the new offense.

While the new West Coast offense may be good for Manning statistically, the one who suffers is going to be Victor Cruz. Cruz, who does not put up many yards after the catch, is going to have to figure a way out to make plays in space, as opposed to making big plays. The offensive line is not going to be able to allow plays to develop, which hurts Cruz’s fantasy value. The guy whom I think stands to benefit the most from McAdoo’s system? Odell Beckham, who sat out today due to a hamstring injury.

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