2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Saquon Barkley will have to carry the Giants

The Giants turned heads by selecting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick, then general manager Dave Gettleman turned them further by declaring Eli Manning could still play another three years. Regardless of who is under center, Saquon Barkley is the offensive focus, and Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram will try to step up to help lessen the negative impact of Odell Beckham's departure.  

2018 Review

Record: 5 - 11 (26th in NFL)
PPG: 23.1 (16)
YPG: 356.1 (17)
Pass YPG: 252.9 (11)
Rush YPG: 103.1 (24)
PAPG: 36.4 (9)
RAPG: 22.1 (29)

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Eli Manning - QB17
RB: Saquon Barkley - RB1; Wayne Gallman - RB81
WR: Odell Beckham Jr* - WR17; Sterling Shepard - WR29
TE: Evan Engram - TE13; Rhett Ellison - TE36
*No longer with team

Number to know: 25.5

That's how many points the Giants averaged during the final four games of the season with Beckham injured. That average would have been good for 10th in the NFL in points per game in 2018, and it also includes the Giants being shutout in Week 15 against the Titans in a 17-0 loss.

2019 Offseason

"I am not disappointed. It is business. We didn't want to get rid of Odell. We traded Odell, and we got value. There are many things that I admire about Odell. I wish him the best." - Pat Shurmur

Head Coach: Pat Shurmur (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Shula (2nd year)  

Draft Picks 

1. (6) Daniel Jones, QB
1. (17) Dexter Lawrence, DT
1. (30) Deandre Baker, CB
3. (95) Oshane Ximines, DE
4. (108) Julian Love, CB
5. (143) Ryan Connelly, LB
5. (171) Darius Slayton, WR
6. (180) Corey Ballentine, CB
7. (232) George Asafo-Adjei, T
7. (245) Chris Slayton, DT

Additions

RB Rod Smith, WR Golden Tate, OL Mike Remmers, OL Kevin Zeitler, LB Markus Golden, DB Antoine Bethea, DB Jabrill Peppers

Key Departures

QB Geno Smith, WR Odell Beckham, OL Jamon Brown, DL Olivier Vernon, DL Mario Edwards, DB Landon Collins, DB B.W. Webb

Rankings and Projections

Player
Eli ManningQB31QB32QB30
Saquon BarkleyRB1RB2RB2
Sterling ShepardWR36WR38WR38
Golden TateWR39WR41WR33
Evan EngramTE4TE4TE4
Aldrick RosasK14K15K12
Giants DSTDST32DST29DST15
 
Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBEli Manning3,972 YD, 22 TD, 14 INT
RBSaquon Barkley291 ATT, 1,370 YD, 11 TD; 91 REC, 716 YD, 3 TD
RBWayne Gallman59 ATT, 236 YD; 15 REC, 93 YD
WRGolden Tate115 TAR, 76 REC, 821 YD, 5 TD
WRSterling Shepard109 TAR, 68 REC, 814 YD, 5 TD
WRCorey Coleman52 TAR, 28 REC, 368 YD, 2 TD
TEEvan Engram104 TAR, 69 REC, 826 YD, 6 TD

Biggest Question

If Evan Engram is the No. 1 target, who's No. 2?  

"Technically, that would be Saquon Barkley, which means Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard will duke it out for no better than third on the target list. Both receivers are similar in that they're undersized route-runners with a knack for making plays after the catch. That should mean they'll take numbers away from each other, making both dicey Fantasy propositions." - Dave Richard

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Sterling Shepard

Shepard and Tate aren't going to produce like Beckham, but Shepard is the one you should target as the new No. 1 receiver for the Giants. He's played 11 games over the past two seasons without Beckham, and he's averaging 12.6 PPR points over that span. In the four games Beckham missed in 2018, Shepard had either a touchdown or at least 100 receiving yards in two of them. There's the obvious concern of trusting Eli Manning (or even Daniel Jones), but Shepard carries minimal risk with a mid-round pick.

Breakout: Evan Engram

While Shepard should be the new No. 1 receiver with Beckham gone, Engram should be the No. 1 pass catcher now. Like Shepard, he's also been great when Beckham has been out. In 15 games without Beckham over the past two seasons, Engram averaged 12.9 PPR points per game. And in four games last season without Beckham, he had three games with at least 15 PPR points, recording at least 75 receiving yards in each outing. Engram is worth drafting in Round 4 or 5 in all leagues, and he should be considered a top four tight end on Draft Day.

Bust: Golden Tate

Tate is the closest thing the Giants have to a bust if Fantasy players think he'll be better than Shepard. But his Average Draft Position in Round 10 is fairly good value since he should see a decent amount of targets with Beckham now gone (Beckham had 124 targets for 77 catches, 1,052 yards and six touchdowns last year). I don't mind taking a flier on Tate with a pick in the double-digit rounds of any league, just don't draft him before Round 8 as a reserve on your Fantasy team.

So which Fantasy Football breakouts should you be all over? And which rookie running back is set to explode? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that has simulated the season 10,000 times, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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