Judgement II: Giants’ expectations higher with new signings
NEW YORK GIANTS (6-10)
New faces: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR John Ross, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Adoree Jackson, RB Devontae Booker, QB Mike Glennon, DT Danny Shelton, LB Azeez Ojulari, C Billy Price, G Ben Bredeson.
Key losses: DT Dalvin Tomlinson, RB Wayne Gallman, G Kevin Zeitler, WR Golden Tate T Cam Fleming, LB Kyler Fackrell, LB David Mayo, CB Isaac Yiadom.
Strengths: Pat Graham’s defense surprised opponents last season with its multi-faceted looks. While the line lost Tomlinson in the middle of the 3-4 front, DL Leonard Williams returns from a career-best season. Blake Martinez is a tackling machine among the linebackers, while the rest are fast and young. The secondary is deep and added Jackson to play opposite Pro Bowler James Bradberry. PK Graham Gano made his last 30 field goal attempts of 2020.
Weaknesses: The offensive line was weak last season and it remains a question mark. Three of the five starters return: left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Shane Lemieux and center Nick Gates. Will Hernandez, who lost his job at LG after a bout with COVID-19, has replaced Zeitler at right guard. Veteran Nate Solder, back after opting out last season, and second-year pro Matt Peart, are competing for the job at right tackle.
Camp Development: Rehabs and injuries are an issue. RB Saquon Barkey (knee), Rudolph (foot surgery), Toney (COVID-19 issues), third-round pick CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle) and fourth-round choice LB Elerson Smith (hamstring) have missed most of training camp. Lemieux tweaked a knee early and did not play in a preseason game. TE Levine Toilolo is out with an Achilles tendon injury.
Fantasy Player To Watch: Barkley. He is the most talented and explosive player on the team, but is coming off major reconstructive surgery on his right knee. He has not done much in training camp and his status for the season opener is iffy. That said, the Giants have more weapons on offense with the addition of Golladay and Rudolph. If they get healthy, no one can be keyed on. Barkley has looked great walking around. If he plays that way, he is going to run for well over 1,000 yards again and score TDs. Hedge bet: WR Sterling Shepard. He could be the No. 1 target early in the season with many of the receivers banged up.
FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 70-1. Over/under wins: 7.
Expectations: Golladay signed a $72 million contract to be a touchdown maker in the red zone and to make life easier for QB Daniel Jones in his third season. If Graham’s defense improves, Barkley plays like the Saquon of old and the OL stands up, New York will be a contender to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. If the winless preseason was any indication, playoff odds are long.
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