New York Giants
|By Shawn Childs, Monday, August 28, 2023|
2023 New York Giants Outlook
New York handed the team keys to Brian Daboll over the winter of 2022, and he rewarded them with the Giants with their first winning season (9-7-1) since 2016. Daboll spent the previous four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Bills while holding the same position for four other years (Cleveland, Miami, and Kansas City). Daboll started his coaching career with the Patriots in 2000 and has been part of five Super Bowl wins and one college championship. He has 22 seasons of NFL coaching experience.
Mike Kafka made the jump from quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Chiefs from 2018 to 2021 to the Giants' offensive coordinator last season. He'll start the year at age 36 with six seasons of coaching experience. Kafka helped Kansas City win the Super Bowl in 2020.
New York improved from 31st in the league in offensive yards in 2020 and 2021 to 18th last year. They scored 365 points (15th) in 2022, an improvement of 107 points from 2021 (258).
The Giants swiped Don Martindale from the Ravens to run their defense in 2022. He held the same position from 2018 to 2021 with Baltimore and the Broncos in 2010. Martindale has been in the NFL since 2004, with all of his experience coming on the defensive side of the ball.
Their defense finished 17th in points allowed (371 – 45 fewer than the previous year) and 25th in yards allowed.
New York's top signing in free agency was LB Bobby Okereke ($40 million – about $22 million in guaranteed money). Their defense lost S Julian Love (SEA) while adding DT A'Shawn Robinson.
Backup offensive lineman (G Nick Gates) signed with the Commanders. Their only offensive addition was WR Parris Campbell.
With the 24th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Giants selected CB Deonte Banks. He brings exceptional speed (4.35 40-yard dash) and quickness to New York's defense. Banks handles himself well vs. press coverage with the skill set to follow his assignment over the long field. His next step is developing a better feel for the ball on over-the-top throws in a trail position. He does have a thinker feel off the ball, leaving Banks a tick behind his coverage on underneath passes.
C John Michael Schmitz was their choice in the second round. His game is technically sound in run blocking, thanks to his ability to see and capture the space in his immediate area. Schmitz doesn't have the foot speed to add wins beyond the line of scrimmage on many occasions. Schmitz can be tested in pass projection when asked to expand his coverage.
New York focused on their offense with the addition of WR Jalin Hyatt (3rd) and RB Eric Gray (5th).
Hyatt is a silky fast (4.4 40-yard dash) deep threat who has room in his frame (6'0" and 180 lbs.) to add bulk. He must get stronger to improve his release vs. press coverage and his chances of winning closely contested passes. His speed plays exceptionally in the deep passing game due to his route running at the third level of the defense. Hyatt can create some catches over the short areas of the field on comeback routes, but his skill set needs some polish on shorter pass patterns.
Gray gives the Giants a change of pace back behind Saquan Barkley. He runs with vision while offering the movements to create in tight quarters. His change of direction quickness is the key to his wins, but Gray doesn't bring difference-maker speed over the long field. New York should be able to trust him on all three downs, but he needs to improve his perimeter pass protection.
The final three additions in this year's draft class came on defense – CB Tre Hawkins (6th), DT Jordan Riley (7th), and S Gervarrius Owens (7th).
Hawkins has the tools to be a better player, but his vision is trailing while making too many mistakes in coverage. He should help in press coverage over the short areas of the field. Hawkins must improve his technique and play recognition before earning meaningful snaps in the NFL.
Riley projects as an early down run clogger. He brings massive size (6'5" and 340 lbs.) to the Giants' defensive line while having limited experience in college. His overall production has been relatively low, suggesting that 2023 will be a learning experience.
Owens will transition from cornerback to safety in the NFL. His pass coverage has shortcomings in multiple areas. He wants to be a physical defender that should play well in run support. Owens can't reach starting status without a better understanding of developing plays and improving his tackling.
The Giants jumped to 4th in rushing yards (2,519) with 21 rushing touchdowns and only 15 runs over 20 yards. Their ball carriers gained 4.8 yards per rush with 30.6 attempts per game.
New York finished 27th in passing yards (3,431), with only 17 touchdowns but a league-best six interceptions. They gained only 6.6 yards per pass attempt while allowing 49 sacks.
LT Andrew Thomas became an elite player in his third season with the Giants after getting drafted fourth overall in 2020. His run blocking is exceptional while allowing minimal sacks and pressure on the quarterback.
The left guard position will be an open competition between four players – Ben Bredeson, Joshua Ezeudu, Marcus McKethan, and Wyatt Davis. Ezeudu (shoulder) and McKethan (knee) are coming off injuries, while Bredeson also missed time in 2022 due to a knee issue. No player projects to be an edge in any area.
C John Michael Schmitz should slide into the starting role in his rookie season. He'll make all the line calls while being an instant upgrade in run blocking. Last year Jon Feliciano (now on San Fran) minimized the damage in pressure on the quarterback while grading a below-average player in all areas in his eight seasons in the NFL.
RG Mark Glowinski continues to have risk in pass protection while having a long career of being a neutral run blocker. He'll try to hold off Shane Lemieux, who played only two combined games in 2021 and 2022 due to knee and toe injuries.
RT Evan Neal missed four games in his rookie season after getting drafted seventh overall in 2022. He struggled mightily in pass protection while being a liability in run blocking on most of his days. New York needs him to be much improved this season.
This offensive line has two studs and two players with the potential to rank better than the league average. The Giants need their guards to play much better in 2023 if New York wants to push higher up the offensive rankings.
QB Daniel Jones - Quality Backup
Over his first three seasons with the Giants, Jones posted a 12-25 record with 45 passing touchdowns and 49 turnovers (29 interceptions and 36 fumbles – 20 lost). He added value to their run game (172/1,000/5 – 5.8 yards per rush), but Jones gained only 6.6 yards per pass attempt in his career. Five of his six 300-yard passing games came in his rookie season.
In 2021, he missed the final six matchups with a neck injury that didn't require surgery. His only game of value came in Week 2 (429/2) while failing to deliver over two scores in any contest.
Jones set a career-best with his completion rate (67.2) last season, giving him three consecutive years of improvement. The change in coaching staff allowed him to be much more active in the run game (120/708/7), but he averaged only 29.5 passes over his 16 starts. Over his last 41 games, Jones threw only 36 passing touchdowns. His best growth area in 2022 was turnovers (five interceptions and three lost fumbles). He passed for more than 300 yards three times (341/1, 334/1, and 301/2) while finishing with 200 or fewer passing yards in 12 of his 18 matchups (including the postseason).
Fantasy Outlook: Despite missing one game, Jones finished 12th in quarterback scoring (329/05) in four-point passing touchdowns leagues. He scored more than 30.00 fantasy points in four games (30.80, 30.05, 37.95, and 30.85), two of which came from big days on the ground (11/107/1 and 11/91/2). This draft season, Jones is the 15th quarterback off the board. New York gave him a big-play wideout in this year's draft, suggesting a new top in his yards per pass attempt (6.8 or below in all four seasons in the NFL). With 525 pass attempts, Jones has a chance at 4,300 combined yards with about 27 touchdowns.
Other Options: Tyrod Taylor, DeVito
Injury Status: Injured Reserve
RB Saquon Barkley - Stud (low risk)
In his rookie season, Barkley ranked second in running back scoring (385.80 in PPR leagues – 2,028 combined yards with 15 touchdowns and 91 catches). He gained 1,441 combined yards the following year with eight touchdowns and 52 catches over 13 games (high-ankle sprain). His success over his first 29 games came to 21.65 fantasy points per game.
A torn ACL in his right knee in 2020 led to only two games of action (94 yards and six catches on 25 touches).
In 2021, Barkley struggled over his first two games (23/83 – 3.6 yards per catch and three catches for 13 yards) before looking sharp over the next two weeks (220 combined with three touchdowns and 11 catches). Unfortunately, a left ankle injury in Week 5 led to him missing most of his next five games. When Barkley returned to the lineup, the Giants' offense lacked a pulse, leading to a dull finish to the season (521 combined yards with one score and 27 catches). He gained only 3.7 yards per rush and 4.9 yards per catch over this span.
The change in coaching staff in 2022 led to Barkley getting 352 touches, leading to career-highs in carries (295), rushing yards (1,312), and rushing touchdowns (13). He had nine plays of 20 yards or more, with three reaching the 40-yard mark. New York struggled to get him in space in the passing game (5.9 yards per catch). Barkley rushed for more than 100 yards in four games (18/164/1, 31/146, 24/110, and 35/152/1) but none after Week 10.
Fantasy Outlook: He finished fifth in running back scoring (284.50) in PPR leagues while delivering only one impact game (33.40 fantasy points in Week 1). Barkley scored between 17.00 and 27.50 fantasy points in 10 of his 18 starts. His lowest three outputs (6.80, 7.80, and 10.20 fantasy points) came over his final six matchups. In mid-June, Barkley is the fifth running back drafted with an early second-round ADP. The Giants gave him a franchise tag this spring, possibly inviting a holdout this summer and into the season. With the Giants trending up, I believe Barkley will get signed before the start of the season. He has an upside of 1,800 combined yards with double-digit scores and 70 catches.
RB Matt Breida - Deep-league Only
A trip to Miami didn't work out well for Breida in 2020. The Dolphins only gave him 68 touches for 348 yards and nine catches. In 2021, he was a healthy scratch in eight games with the Bills, leading to a minimal opportunity on the year (197 combined yards with three scores and seven catches on 33 touches). Over the previous two seasons with the 49ers, he averaged 5.2 yards per rush and 8.3 yards per catch while gaining 1,818 combined yards with seven touchdowns and 46 catches.
As the handcuff for Saquan Barkley last season, Breida gained 338 combined yards with one touchdown and 20 catches on 74 touches. He gained more than 30 rushing yards in only one game.
Fantasy Outlook: Breida will start this season at age 28, indicating his weaker role in 2023. He has ties to their head coach In Buffalo, but a better, fresher back clouds his depth chart ranking. On the positive side, New York signed him in March for $2.3 million for one year.
RB Eric Gray - Fantasy Handcuff
Over the past three seasons at Oklahoma, Gray had caught 86 of his 106 targets for 712 yards and four touchdowns. His best opportunity in the run game came in 2022 (213/1,366/11), where he set a four-year high in yards per rush (6.4). Gray gained 3,816 combined yards with 26 scores and 99 catches in his 47 games in college.
Fantasy Outlook: Gray gives New York an upside RB2 for the upcoming season to back up Saquan Barkley. His feel for setting up defenders and catching the ball should push him passed Matt Breida on the depth chart over the summer. Gray is only a late-round flier in mid-June but almost a must-handcuff for Barkley.
RB Gary Brightwell - Not Draft Worthy
Over the last three seasons in college, Brightwell failed to reach 550 yards in any year. He gained 1,569 combined yards with 10 touchdowns and 19 catches. In 2020, Brightwell led Arizona with 101 touches and 443 yards over five games with one touchdown and 13 catches.
The Giants gave Brightwell one carry for four yards in his rookie season. Last year, he gained 180 combined yards with one touchdown and five catches over 17 games.
Other Options: Jashaun Corbin
Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR Jalin Hyatt - Sleeper (undervalued)
After two short seasons (20/276/2 and 21/226/2) in college, Hyatt shined as the Tennessee Volunteers' big-play wide receiver in 2022. He caught 67 of his 91 targets (73.6%) for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hyatt dominated last year vs. Alabama (6/207/5) while adding four other impact games (5/166/2, 7/174/2, 5/138/2, and 7/146/1).
Fantasy Outlook: Based on his play last year, the Giants will use Hyatt as their deep threat in his rookie season while also giving him chances close to the line of scrimmage with the hopes that he can turn a short pass into a big play. Hyatt has an explosive finishing gear and a feel to make defenders miss. He should be a more explosive receiving option than Darius Slayton (46/724/2) was last season. His comparison could be DeSean Jackson in his rookie year (62/912/2). My bar should fall in the range of 50 catches for 750 yards and five touchdowns, supporting his early ranking at wide receiver (WR64) in the high-stake market.
WR Parris Campbell - Gamble (high risk)
Injuries led to only 13 games played over his first three seasons in the league. A left knee injury in 2020 that required surgery led to him missing the final 15 games. A broken foot cost Campbell another 11 games in 2021.
Over the first five games of last season, he only had 11 catches for 112 yards on 15 targets despite having WR2 snaps for the Colts. His play improved significantly in four of his next six contests (7/57/1, 10/70/1, 7/76/1, and 5/67), but Campbell lost his fantasy value over his final six games (19/183 on 31 targets).
He showed explosiveness as a runner in his first two years in college (14/186/2). His short-area quickness brings an edge out of the slot while working best with a free release vs. zone coverage. Campbell needs to improve his route running and show growth in his hands in tight coverage. I like his movements with the ball in his hands, and I expect him to make defenses defend the whole field. Ohio State used him on many plays close to the line of scrimmage as a pass-catcher in 2018, leading to a breakout season (90/1063/12).
Fantasy Outlook: Campbell appears to be the front-runner for the slot role for the Giants in September. Injuries have cost him critical development time, but he does have the skill set to push his bar higher. With a healthy season, Campbell should finish with top-three receiving stats in New York while falling below a starting wide receiver in the fantasy market.
WR Wan'Dale Robinson - Deep-league Only
Coming into 2022, Robinson started to climb draft boards in late August in the high-stakes market due to his potential high-volume opportunity out of the slot. The excitement was dashed in Week 1 (1/5) due to a knee injury that cost him four games. Robinson made the most of his chance in Week 6 (3/37/1), Week 7 (6/50), and Week 11 (9/100), but a torn ACL ended his season in November.
The Giants drafted him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft after a career season (104/1,445/7). Over 31 games in college, he caught 195 of his 272 targets (71.3%) for 2,248 yards and 10 scores. Kentucky also gave him carries in the run game (141/691/4).
Fantasy Outlook: Robinson wants to be ready for Week 1. He had right knee surgery in mid-December, giving him almost 10 months to recover. His usage will be spotty over the first few weeks of the season, but Robinson may be a helpful fantasy player over the final two months of the year. In the early draft season, he is the second Giants' wideout selected.
WR Sterling Shepard - Deep-league Only
Despite finishing with similar catches and yards over his first two seasons (48/740 and 50/751) with the Giants, Slayton was a tough start in fantasy leagues in most weeks in 2020 due to fewer touchdowns (3 – 8 in 2019) and a minimal opportunity in 11 contests (27 catches of his for 386 yards and one score on 56 targets).
In 2021, Slayton finished with the second-most wide receiver snaps (536) on the Giants, but he was worthless in the fantasy market after the first two games (3/65 and 3/54/1). Ankle, hamstring, and shoulder injuries led to four missed weeks and weaker results (26/339/2).
Due to multiple injuries, Slayton led New York in wide receiver snaps (813) while finishing with 46 catches for 724 yards and two touchdowns on 71 targets. His best work came over six games (3/58/1, 5/66, 3/95/1, 5/86, 3/63, and 6/90). His season started with a missed game followed by one catch for 11 yards over three weeks. Twelve of his catches (26.1%) gained 20 yards or more.
Fantasy Outlook: The Giants' structure at wide receiver has many moving parts this season, making Slayton a challenging player to gauge. His skill set overlaps with Jalin Hyatt, so New York may give Slayton a starting job out of the gate in 2023. Ultimately, he'll be found in the waiver pool in most 12-team leagues.
WR Isaiah Hodgins - Bye Week Fill-in
The Bills gave Hodgins only six targets (4/41) over his first two seasons after drafting him in the sixth round in 2020. He didn't make his Giants' debut last week until Week 5 (4/41). From Week 13 to Week 19 (first round of the playoffs), Hodgins caught 33 of his 42 targets for 355 yards and five touchdowns. His best success came in two games (8/89/1 and 8/105/1).
Fantasy Outlook: Thanks to some injuries, he made the most of his opportunity in 2022. Hodgins brings size (6'3" and 200 lbs.) to the table, and he caught the ball when given chances (78.6%). Drafter will fade him due to lacking name value, but he did enough to keep an open mind if New York gives him starting snaps. His training camp reports will help better understand his fantasy value in 2023.
TE Darren Waller - Solid/Safe Pick
After two excellent seasons (90/1,145/3 and 107/1,196/9), Waller missed six games in 2021 with ankle, knee, and back issues. He finished with two impact games (10/105/1 and 7/116) while averaging 8.4 targets (9.1 in 2020). Waller's stats (55/665/2) projected over 17 games came to 85 catches for 1,028 yards and three touchdowns. Over his last 52 games, he averaged 13.88 fantasy points in PPR formats.
An injury led to Waller having another disappointing season in 2022. Over his first four starts, he had 16 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown on 24 targets. Waller left Week 5 after six snaps due to a hamstring issue, costing him the next seven games. The Raiders gave him only 19 targets from Week 15 to Week 18, leading to 12 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns.
Fantasy Outlook: There is no doubt that Waller has top-tier tight end talent, but injuries have been a problem in back-to-back seasons. He now plays in a rushing offense with a wide range of receiving options. Waller is the eighth-ranked tight end in the early draft season in the high-stakes market. I only see a 65 to 70-catch player with a chance at 800 yards and about five touchdowns.
Injury Status: Injured Reserve
TE Daniel Bellinger - Dynasty Only
Over his final three seasons at San Diego State, Bellinger caught 67 passes for 761 yards and five touchdowns over 30 games. His best year came in 2021 (31/357/2). He still needs to work on his blocking and route running, but he does bring quickness and speed with good hands.
In his rookie season, Bellinger caught 30 of his 35 targets for 268 yards and two touchdowns while missing five games with eye and rib injuries. He scored more than 10.00 fantasy points in one game (5/38/1).
Fantasy Outlook: Bellinger will only see occasional targets with Darren Waller in the starting lineup. His catch rate (85.7) graded well in 2022, pointing to more upside than expected coming into last year.
Other Options: Lawrence Cager, Chris Myarick, Tommy Sweeney
PK Graham Gano - Solid/Safe Pick
Gano made 87.8% of his field goals over the past nine seasons, with 35 of his 49 kicks from 50 yards or more going through the uprights. His long-range leg showed growth over the past three years (20-for-25), helping him make 89 of his 97 field goals. Over the past six seasons, he made 165 of 183 extra points.
Fantasy Outlook: Gano is a better kicker than most give him credit for. The Giants' offense is improving, and they trust him to kick from long range. He has a top-10 leg if New York can create a few more scoring chances.
Injury Status: Injured Reserve
New York - Quality Backup
New York dipped to 27th against the run (2,451 yards). They allowed 5.2 yards per carry, with runners scoring 16 touchdowns. Ball carriers averaged 27.6 rushes per game.
The Giants repeated their 15th ranking in passing yards allowed (3,628) with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. They finished with 41 sacks, with quarterbacks gaining 6.9 yards per pass attempt.
Their defensive line has two players (Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams) with the potential to reach a higher level. Lawrence emerged as an elite run defender last season while setting career highs in tackles (68) and sacks (7.5). Williams lost momentum in 2022 due to five missed games with knee and neck injuries. He still holds his ground in run support with the ability to pressure the quarterback. The Giants don't have an impact defensive end to rush the quarterback.
LB Azeez Ojulari was on pace for a career-high in sacks (5.5 over seven starts), but he missed 10 games with calf, ankle, and quad injuries. His run defense regressed last year. LB Kayvon Thibodeaux handled himself well in his rookie season after getting drafted fifth overall. He upgraded the pass rush while being a neutral option in the run support. LB Bobby Okereke has 283 tackles over the past two seasons for the Colts with only one sack.
CB Adoree Jackson missed seven games in 2022 but improved his game across the board. His top two years in snaps came in 2017 and 2018 with the Titans. CB Deonte Banks should upgrade their pass coverage after drawing a first-round pedigree in 2023. S Xavier McKinney is another player who missed time (eight games) last season. He played well in all areas in 2021 while being a sure tackler in his three seasons in the NFL.
The Giants' defense has a stud on the defensive line and two developing pass-rushing linebackers on the outside. If New York can shorten the passing window this year, it will help their improving secondary. I view them as a backup fantasy defense with some matchup value.