The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).
The 2019 season didn’t go as planned for the Giants and coach Pat Shurmur. The team drafted the quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones, and he got plenty of starts. But the team struggled to stay healthy and struggled to get wins. The Giants finished just 4-12 and earned a Top 4 draft pick. That spelled the end for Shurmur, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
The Giants also bid farewell to Eli Manning, long a fixture at starting quarterback and a two-time Super Bowl champion. But with Jones ready to launch into year two, they have a replacement. And new coach Joe Judge, and new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, must hope he can come into his own and thrive on the field in 2020.
The biggest changes were the ones mentioned above as the Giants saw Manning retire while turning to Judge and Garrett. Judge comes from the Patriots organization, where he served as Special Teams Coach. Garrett was the head coach of the rival Dallas Cowboys, parting with the organization after the season. Now he’s tasked with getting the most out of Jones and an offense that features Saquon Barkley.
In terms of players, the Giants focused heavily on improving their offensive line and defense in the draft and made only a few fantasy-relevant free agent moves. The team signed Dion Lewis, formerly of the Patriots and Titans, as depth in the running back room. The team also signed veteran tight end Levine Toilolo and re-signed veteran receiver Corey Coleman.
Some were surprised with where the Giants took Jones in the 2019 draft, but he had a decent first season. Jones started 12 games, throwing for 3,027 yards and 24 TDs. But he went just 3-9, threw 12 interceptions and lost 18 fumbles. It will be incumbent upon Garrett to clean up his turnovers and help him be more efficient on the field, hopefully leading to wins. I think Jones in this offense could be a solid, high-end QB2, which dovetails with his ADP of QB15 currently. I expect Jones to take a step forward this season, and I think he’s a great pick up in dynasty.
The real force on the offense is Barkley, the third year running back who is a consensus Top 3 pick. In 13 games last year, Barkley ran for just over 1,000 yards and caught 52 passes for 438 yards. That made him RB10 on the season. But as a rookie, he ran for more than 1,300 yards and caught 91 passes. The Giants—and fantasy owners—must hope for more of a return to form in year three. He’s easily an RB1 and should be one of the first four picks off the board regardless of format. Lewis and fellow running back Wayne Gallman are little more than handcuffs or late round dart throws.
Among pass catchers, the biggest impediment seems to be availability. Sterling Shepherd played in 10 games, Golden Tate 11, and Darius Slayton played in 14. Tight end Evan Engram saw 68 targets, but only managed eight games. If all four can stay on the field, alongside Barkley, the Giants will provide a top tier group of weapons for Jones. Slayton broke out late in 2019, finishing as WR37, while Tate had a solid season, finishing as WR45. I think Slayton will lead the way this season, but it’s hard to count out Shepherd if healthy. I like Slayton as a WR3, and Tate as a WR4. I don’t have as much confidence in Shepherd, but he could be a WR3 if everything breaks right.
Engram is a solid tight end, too. He has Top 5 potential when healthy. In eight games he caught 44 passes for 467 yards and three TDs. His biggest challenge is staying on the field. He played in 15 games as a rookie, 11 in his second year and just eight last year. He seems to be trending the wrong direction, but his upside is still immense, especially considering Garrett’s system utilizes the tight end.
The Giants have more talent than their record showed and now it’s up to Judge and Garrett to get more out of them. I think if Jones takes a step forward, and all the Giants’ skill players are available, the team should be a lot more fun to watch. Will that translate to a lot of wins? I’m less bullish on that. I think it will still be at least another season before the Giants are a playoff team.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.