Eli Manning, Ben McAdoo and the New-Look New York Giants

Eli Manning, Ben McAdoo and the New-Look New York Giants

By C.D. Carter (4for4 Contributor), last updated Apr 22, 2014

C.D. Carter's picture

C.D. is a journalist and writer specializing in quarterback streaming. Carter's work has been featured in the New York Times Fifth Down blog, and he was nominated for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's 2012 newcomer of the year award. He's the author of "How To Think Like a Fantasy Football Winner."

Follow C.D. on Twitter: @CDCarter13.

Editor's note: This article was originally titled "They Might (Or Might Not) Be Giants." You can read more about the New York Giants and the NFC East in the latest from Bob Harris: Fantasy Notebook: NFC East Preview.

New York Giants co-owner John Mara in March deemed the team’s offense “broken,” an all-encompassing statement that rang true for anyone who watched Big Blue try to matriculate the football down the field.

Kevin Gilbride’s somewhat simple, but tried and true, offensive scheme fell to pieces in 2013, thanks to a sieve-like offensive line, a starting wide receiver who couldn’t get open against single coverage, a quarterback who made one inexplicably bad throw after another, and a running back who fumbled his way out of a job, got hurt, and opened the door for the worst trio of fill-in backs in recent memory.

It’s now up to new Giants’ offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, former quarterbacks and tight end coach for the Green Bay Packers, to fix what Mara said was broken, and to do so with a 33-year-old signal caller who, as a pro, has never known any other system but Gilbride’s.

Fantasy owners will have to re-learn what they know about the Giants’ skill position players, as McAdoo’s west coast offense will undoubtedly change the fantasy football prospects of Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan, Rashad Jennings, and fantasy football’s most hated man, David Wilson.

 

Eli Manning: A Square Peg

Manning hardly ever rose to anything beyond desperate quarterback by waiver wire status in 2013. It was in Week 1, in fact, that he proved most fantasy relevant, smoking the Dallas secondary in comeback mode and finishing that week as fantasy’s No. 2 signal caller, behind Big Brother.

Twenty quarterbacks scored more fantasy points than Manning in 2013. How much of an outlier was last season? I’m glad you asked.

 

Player

Season

Fantasy points per pass attempt

Eli Manning

2008

.42

Eli Manning

2009

.50

Eli Manning

2010

.48

Eli Manning

2011

.51

Eli Manning

2012

.46

Eli Manning

2013

.36

 

Measuring a quarterback’s fantasy production on a per-attempt basis isn’t perfect, admittedly, though it does tell us something about a player’s efficiency. Not shockingly, the guy who threw an astounding 27 interceptions in 2013 posted hideous per-attempt fantasy numbers.

For some context, consider that Chad Henne averaged .35 fantasy points per attempt in 2013. Jason Campbell notched .37 points every time he put the ball in the air. Manning’s 2013 campaign was objectively terrible. His 2012 season wasn’t so hot either.

It’s no wonder anonymous people in the Big Blue front office are convinced that Manning is firmly in the grips of his “decline” stage of his career.

Can McAdoo, who is known around the league as a quarterback savant, reinvigorate his team’s aging franchise quarterback? I’m skeptical, at best.

Jordan Raanan, a columnist for NJ.com, certainly isn’t off base when he says Manning “might be in for a culture shock” in McAdoo’s west coast system, radically different than Gilbride’s somewhat antiquated power run-throw deep scheme.

Personnel groupings, for one, will be different for the Giants under McAdoo. The Packers, where McAdoo served as QBs coach the last two seasons, ran three-wide receiver sets on more than 60 percent of their offensive snaps last season, compared to just 40 percent for the G-Men. New York had two runners in the backfield on one in four plays last year, whereas Green Bay used two-back sets on about one in 10 snaps.

Then there’s the issue of the ideal west coast offense quarterback – one that makes quick decisions, delivers the ball to playmakers in space, and does so accurately. Manning excels at precisely none of those things.

Here’s a look at his passing accuracy over the past five years:

 

Player

Season

Completion percentage

Eli Manning

2009

62.4

Eli Manning

2010

62.9

Eli Manning

2011

61

Eli Manning

2012

59.9

Eli Manning

2013

57.5

 

Slowly that percentage goes, dwindling down toward the horrid mid-50s, where guys like Mark Sanchez have resided. Eli’s career completion percentage is 58.5 percent – not terrible, but miles away from good.

I don’t have an explanation – and I couldn’t find one from game film gurus – for the factors impacting Manning’s accuracy, whether it’s footwork or fundamentals or just the constant pressure he’s faced in recent seasons.

Whatever it is, it’s disturbing. McAdoo’s offensive scheme requires short-throw accuracy. Perhaps Manning can learn a new trick or two, but he is clearly a bad fit for any sort of west coast approach.

That’s not to say that McAdoo won’t make tweaks to his offense in hopes of playing to his quarterback’s strengths. We saw Marc Trestman and Mike McCoy do that very thing last season with the quarterbacks they inherited in Chicago and San Diego, respectively.

“Really, as the offseason and training camp goes on, every offensive system tailors towards the strength of the starting quarterback,” McAdoo said shortly after the Giants hired him. “What he does well and what he doesn't do well. At the end of the day, your system is built around the personnel, not the other way around.”

McAdoo, first and foremost, will be charged with “maximizing the potential of a 33-year-old quarterback playing in a new system for the first time in his professional career,” Raanan wrote for NJ.com. “It’s a good thing McAdoo comes with impressive credentials and a respected offensive mind. It’s going to be put to the test immediately.”

The early indications, from a fantasy football perspective, are far less than encouraging. Manning is the 25th quarterback being taken in too-early mock drafts, behind, amazingly, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. Old Eli isn’t going to come with a shred of fantasy risk this season, and rightfully so. In fact, he’ll go un-drafted in all but the deepest of leagues.

I can only hope he’ll be a QBBWW option in McAdoo’s offense. By all indications, however, Manning is a square peg being stubbornly jammed into a round hole.

 

C.D. Carter will have more next week on what McAdoo’s arrival in New York means for the team’s wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends.

 

Filed Under: Preseason, 2014

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