This article is part of our Team Previews series.
New York Giants
The Giants upgraded their offensive line in the draft, taking linemen in the first, third and fifth rounds, so Daniel Jones should have the supporting pieces he lacked as a rookie. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was a poor head coach, but he had success developing quarterbacks in Dallas.
- T Andrew Thomas (Rd. 1, No. 4 – Georgia)
Eventual blind-side protector, he may begin at RT opposite Nate Solder.
- CB James Bradberry (from Panthers)
A top cover corner, he improves a shoddy pass defense.
- S Xavier McKinney (Rd. 2, No. 36 – Alabama)
As the best safety in the draft, he'll be an immediate starter.
- LB Blake Martinez (from Packers)
The upgrade at linebacker is likely to lead the team in tackles.
- LB Kyler Fackrell (from Packers)
Provides needed edge-rushing depth.
- QB Eli Manning (retired)
The franchise leader in everything, good and bad.
- LB Alec Ogletree (FA)
Replaced by Martinez at inside linebacker.
- S Antoine Bethea (FA)
He's reached the twilight of his career at 36 years old.
A Look Under the Hood
Head Coach: Joe Judge (Year 1)
Offensive Coordinator: Jason Garrett (Year 1) - Air Coryell scheme
Defensive Coordinator: Patrick Graham (Year 1) - 3-4 scheme
2020 Vegas Projected Wins: 6.5 (T-25th)
2019 Record: 4-12
2019 Points Scored: 341 (18th)
2019 Points Allowed: 451 (30th)
2019 Point Differential: -110 (28th)
2019 Run-Play Rate: 35.8 percent (30th)
2019 Situation-Neutral Pace: 29.82 seconds per play (8th)
2019 Offensive Snaps: 1,012 (20th)
2019 PFF O-Line Ranking: No. 17
Projected 2020 Depth Chart
FB: Elijhaa Penny
WR3: Golden Tate
Kicker: Aldrick Rosas
How Good Is Daniel Jones?
Jones' rookie season was promising under the circumstances – 24 TD passes to go along with 279 rushing yards and two more scores in only 13 games behind a terrible offensive line while playing with a banged-up set of skill players. He made throws into tight windows, displayed arm strength on deep passes and kept his focus downfield when scrambling in the pocket. But he also held onto the ball too long, taking 38 sacks, tossing 12 picks and losing a whopping 11 of 18 fumbles.
This year, Jones has more going for him – an improved offensive line, a presumably healthy Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, Golden Tate without a four-game suspension and an emerging star in Darius Slayton. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be calling the plays, and while he's easy to mock as a head coach – virtually no one was more cowardly at key times over the last decade – he's also been a quarterback whisperer of sorts, developing both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, two players without much draft pedigree, into NFL stars.
Garrett ran run-heavy offenses behind the Cowboys monstrous offensive line for a few years, but last season, Dallas was actually pass-heavy with Dak Prescott (597 attempts, 10th). With Jones' apparent skills and the team's depth of pass catchers, Garrett is likely to have a diverse attack even with Barkley around.
Can Daniel Jones develop under the tutelage of Jason Garrett? Only time will tell.
A Ticket To The Carnival?
The Giants' upgrades on the offensive line paired with their ample talent at the skill positions and a developing gunslinger at quarterback portend good production offensively. But what could add dry kindling to the fire is a porous defense likely to create more urgent and faster-paced game flows.
The Giants allowed 451 points last year (30th) and let their top pass rusher (Markus Golden) explore the market. Their biggest acquisitions on defense were James Bradberry, Blake Martinez and rookie Xavier McKinney. While the three are undoubtedly upgrades, none are likely to be game changers, meaning this still projects as a bottom-10 defense, barring unexpected development from the team's young defensive line.
As such, opposing teams are likely to move the ball consistently, necessitating more aggressive play calling from Jason Garrett and more risk-taking by the bold-to-a-fault Daniel Jones. Think last year's Buccaneers that produced monstrous numbers for their top receivers and a ton of passing yards (albeit with way too many turnovers) for their quarterback.
The one caveat here is Garrett typically presided over teams that got to the line of scrimmage at a glacial pace, rarely running hurry-up and often slowing games down. But in 2019, the Cowboys were actually the second fastest-paced team in the league.
Saquon Barkley's Ceiling
After a monster rookie year, Barkley dropped off in 2019 due to injuries, odd usage and bad offensive line play. But running behind what should be the best O-line of his short career, and with a presumably more polished quarterback under center in Year 2, there's a case for making Barkley the No. 1 overall fantasy pick.
One of the problems last season was Pat Shurmur's (and Daniel Jones') neglect of Barkley's receiving skills – he had six or more targets in only five games, and just one of them after Week 10. Barkley's not only the league's most explosive ballcarrier, but he's probably its most dangerous back in open space, given his size, speed, strength and vision. Barkley might not be quite the route runner Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara is, but he's no slouch in that department, either.
The question is whether Jason Garrett and coach Joe Judge will get Barkley the 100-plus targets he merits, and it's hard to say. The Cowboys got Ezekiel Elliott 77 catches in 15 games in 2018, and Judge is well acquainted with the merits of a good checkdown option, having coached in New England where James White was used the last few years. Jones didn't like to check down much his rookie year, but making the easy throw to Barkley and letting him pad the passing stats shouldn't be a hard sell.
Saquon Barkley is worth a top-3 pick in fantasy drafts.
⬆️ Rising: WR Darius Slayton
A 2019 fifth-round pick, Slayton caught eight TDs despite not seeing full-time snaps until Week 6. His 4.39 40 speed and plus athleticism make him the team's deep threat, and he could potentially lead it in targets, too.
⬇️ Falling: WR Sterling Shepard
Shepard is okay as possession receivers go, but with Slayton emerging and Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram around, his ceiling is modest. Given Shepard's multiple concussions last year, the floor's no longer there, either.
😴 Sleeper: TE Kaden Smith
Engram hasn't been able to stay healthy throughout his three-year career, and should he get hurt again, Smith showed he can produce with three TDs and two 70-plus yard games in the final six games last season.
🌟 Pivotal Player: Daniel Jones
While the key fantasy player on the Giants is Saquon Barkley, the make or break for the team is quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones flashed his upside as a rookie in 2019, but he also held the ball too long behind a poor offensive line, took too many sacks and committed too many turnovers. As he goes in Year 2, so goes the entire offense.