Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, so it's no sure thing that he'll be back for the start of the season. He's probably a player to avoid this season unless his price drops so much that he becomes a value in the later rounds. He's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout.
With Shane Vereen leaving to join the Giants, the Patriots needed a new pass-catching RB, and Cadet fits the bill. Cadet has caught 45 of 61 targets for a 7.7 yards-per-catch average. Vereen had a lower catch rate but a higher YPC (9.6) in three years with the Patriots. If he can secure the job, Cadet will be fantasy relevant in PPR formats.
Vereen will serve as the team's passing down back, putting a sizable dent in the upside of Rashad Jennings, who averaged 3.2 catches (and 23 receiving yards) in the nine games in which he played significant snaps. With Andre Williams also in the mix for early down work, this situation appears to be devolving into a true committee.
"The injury's going well, the rehab's going very, very well," Giants WR Victor Cruz said. "I'm a little more than halfway there, we're building the strength back in my leg. The rehab's been hard, it's been difficult, it's been long, it's been grueling, but I've been going through it, man, and it's definitely paying off now. The strength is coming back slowly but surely.
"I started running on this cool machine called the Alter-G, where it lets you run with a certain percentage of your body weight. And I just started doing that yesterday so it's only a matter of time before I get out there on that field, so I'm excited about that."
As for when he'll be back running and cutting in pads, Cruz has the start of training camp in his crosshairs, but said that he should be feeling close to 100 percent well before the start date. His goal is to be ready to shake off the rust in the months leading up to training camp and be ready to go full throttle when practices start.
Cruz will re-join a receiving corps that has a new alpha dog -- Odell Beckham. If healthy, Cruz should see WR2-type targets out of the slot, but he's unlikely to see the 8.8 T/G that he received from 2012-2013.
Here are the five players who got the non-exclusive franchise tag, and the amount of the tender offer for each:
This may not make either Bryant or Thomas happy, but it ensures that they aren't going anywhere for at least one more season. Both players figure to be ranked in the top 5 at their position in 2015 fantasy drafts.
Jordan Raanan on the Giants' receiving corps:
This has nothing to do with free agency, but wide receiver Rueben Randle remains part of the Giants plans despite a season where he was twice benched for a quarter because of tardiness to meetings. Randle is not being shopped after multiple run-ins last season with Coughlin.
The Giants are moving forward as if Randle is part of the future, with the hope that he can excel next season playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz. Randle is still just 23 years old and the team was happy with the way he played late in the season, when they used him more as a downfield threat instead of the possession-receiver role he filled early in the season.
"I think Rueben gets banged on a lot. Sometimes he should get banged on, but I think he gets banged on sometimes a little too much," general manager Jerry Reese said. "I think he is a good, young player and all he needs are some chances. With Odell and Victor, I think he will get plenty of chances."
But if things don't work out with Randle or Cruz (returning from a serious injury), one player I was told to keep an eye out for was Marcus Harris. The Giants were close to using Harris as a starter (in three-wide-receiver sets) last year before injuries shut him down at the end of the summer for the season. The 25-year-old really impressed the Giants last spring and summer.
Randle finished #32 in PPR formats and #37 in standard despite seeing the 20th-most targets (127) on the year, so he wasn't very efficient in his targets. He finished the season with 12 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown in the final two games. He's probably not going to finish in the top 30 in 2015 if Cruz comes back healthy since Cruz and Beckham will likely dominate the targets.
Mettenberger averaged 272 yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 1.0 interception in the four games that he started and finished. He was also on pace for 329 yards and 1.8 TD against the Texans in Week 13 before missing nearly half the game with a shoulder sprain. He wasn’t effective against the Giants in Week 14 before re-injuring his shoulder. For the most part, what we saw was encouraging, especially since he was just a rookie. If the Titans enter the season with Mettenberger as the starter, then we can expect the solid QB2 numbers that he posted in 2014 -- he’ll be a committee and/or streaming candidate.
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano: They really like Larry Donnell and believe he's in the midst of developing into a very good player. They like his athleticism and his size, and most of all they really believe in his offseason dedication and determination to work on and learn the things he still needs to learn. Donnell made a huge leap from 2013 to 2014, and the Giants believe that his offseason work ethic will lead to another big leap in 2015. They believe they have not only a starter, but a future star in Donnell.
Donnell finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He had the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. He'll continue to be a red zone threat, but with Odell Beckham and a presumably healthy Victor Cruz gobbling up targets, Donnell is unlikely to see more than six looks per game in 2015.
Giants TE Larry Donnell was a productive receiver, but he has to be more consistent both catching the ball and blocking. If nothing changes, he should be the top tight end entering training camp. But the Giants will look to upgrade that position as they will all others and it’s possible someone not currently on the roster will provide Donnell with his toughest competition for the job.
Donnell finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He saw the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. He'll be a red zone threat, but with Odell Beckham and a (healthy?) Victor Cruz gobbling up targets, Donnell is unlikely to see more than six targets per game in 2015.
Giants WR Odell Beckham let it out that the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the entire preseason and the first four games of the regular season was actually two tears in the right hamstring that never fully healed.
“They healed up enough to where I could play with them, but they were never truly good and I’m still just working on them and trying to get ready,” Beckham said after catching five passes for 89 yards for Michael Irvin’s team in a 32-28 win over Cris Carter’s team at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I should be good by training camp,” Beckham said. “The plan is to play at full strength next season, and I definitely hope to do it. I’m just looking forward to getting healthy.”
If true, then perhaps Beckham has just scratched the surface on his full potential. Once his season started in Week 5, he averaged 17.2 FP (standard) and 24.8 FP (PPR), which was the best in the league in both scoring systems. He's likely to head into the 2015 season as a late 1st round pick/early 2nd round pick in PPR formats. The only (minor) concerns are a potential sophomore slump and the return of Victor Cruz, which could alter the dynamic in the Giants' receiving corps.
"They said they want me back, for sure," he said. "I was their draft pick, so they said they definitely want me to come back."
The market for free agent running backs has dried up considerably in recent years, but Ingram should be able to garner the $3 million per year (or so) that Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings received last year. Ingram would hold RB2-type value if he returns to New Orleans since a healthy Khiry Robinson would likely cap Ingram's workload. Robinson's injuries played a big role in Ingram getting the 19.6 touches per game that he saw in 2014.
The New York Giants have selected Steve Spagnuolo as their new defensive coordinator, reuniting him with the team he helped win Super Bowl XLII while serving in that role from 2007 to 2008.
Spagnuolo, 55, replaces Perry Fewell, who was the Giants' defensive coordinator for the past five years but was fired last week after a 6-10 season in which the team finished 29th in the NFL in total defense.
The Giants today initiated a restructuring of their defensive coaching staff when they announced the departure of coordinator Perry Fewell and secondary/cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta.
Fewell had been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2010, while Giunta joined the staff in 2006. Giunta was on the staff for both of the Giants’ Super Bowl victories under Tom Coughlin, while Fewell coordinated the defense when the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.
“These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches,” head coach Tom Coughlin said. “It is very hard in this business to find people that are not only good football coaches but outstanding human beings who are trustworthy, loyal and honest. Perry and Peter are all that.”
Despite his strong personal feelings for Fewell and Giunta, Coughlin said the changes were necessary in the wake of the Giants’ 6-10 season in 2014, their third in row without a postseason berth.
The Giants were 29th in total defense and 22nd in points allowed.
All involved with the Giants are breathlessly awaiting the pairing of Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz as 2015 targets for Eli Manning, but general manager Jerry Reese has sounded the alarm that he cannot unequivocally count on vintage Cruz next season.
“You’ve got to prepare as if, ‘What if Victor Cruz doesn’t come back?’ ’’ Reese said Tuesday. “If you are a personnel guy, or a general manager, that is always in the back of your head. What if this guy doesn’t come back and be the player that we think he is?’’
Cruz had surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee suffered Oct. 12 in Philadelphia and the estimated recovery time was put at nine months. Cruz has vowed to return to his past form, but Reese spoke of him in a tone similar to the one Reese took a year ago when running back David Wilson was dealing with a neck injury that ultimately forced him to retire.
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