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NY Giants: Fantasy Outlook for RB Rashad Jennings

by Thomas Duffy | Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014
Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

It’s always great to draft Peyton Manning’s primary running back onto your fantasy team. Eli Manning? History has proven that reaching on a New York Giants RB could come back to bite you.

But this season, things are different. Don’t sleep on the Giants’ newly acquired workhorse, Rashad Jennings.

If he’s there in the fourth-to-fifth round or beyond in a standard league, take him. If you’ve made the decision to throw traditional fantasy strategy to the wind and select a QB and a few receivers early on, Jennings wouldn’t be a bad guy to take a chance on in any format.

After news broke that David Wilson would be hanging up the cleats for good, Jennings’ fantasy value grew significantly.

If you’re one of those I-watch-the-preseason-even-though-it-doesn’t-matter kind of people, you probably already like Jennings. In the opening quarter of NYG’s second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jennings ripped off a 73-yard dash to the house.

Here’s Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News after New York’s preseason opener:

All that was on display on Sunday night, when the Giants beat the Bills, 17-13, in their preseason opener. Jennings rushed seven times for 23 yards and caught three passes for 20 more. In the Giants’ new-look, quick-pass, West Coast-style offense, they needed — and they got — a back that can do it all.

“That’s something I’ve always prided myself in,” Jennings said. “I’ve really always wanted to be a complete back. Catching out of the backfield is a big part of that. It makes defenses have to play honest, and also you can be quarterback-friendly and always there. If the quarterback gets in trouble, your route, nine times out of 10, will be closest to the QB. So that’s a good way to get extra, hidden yards.”

Jennings is looking to complete his first season as a team’s primary back after spending years giving spells to Maurice Jones-Drew with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Darren McFadden with the Oakland Raiders.

He’s got some competition for the Giants job, but none worth losing sleep over.

The two-yard-at-a-time bull that is Peyton Hillis might take some goal-line looks away from Jennings, but won’t get a whole lot of total carries. Rookie Andre Williams, the nation’s leading rusher in 2013 and a former Heisman finalist out of Boston College, is in the mix, as well.

Williams is the guy that you’ve got to watch for if you plan on drafting Jennings.

One of the last things that a fantasy owner wants is one of their primary RBs in a real-life committee situation. Ask anyone who’s ever had DeAngelo Williams or Jonathon Stewart and they’ll echo that sentiment.

If Williams is there late in your draft, he’s a must-have for any shrewd Jennings owner. Williams can definitely play, and injuries are always a possibility. Handcuff Jennings if at all possible.

Dave Richard of CBS Sports pegs Jennings at the 25th best running back. ESPN has him ranked as the 55th player overall and 24th in the RB standings. CBS slots Williams at No. 37 while ESPN has the BC product ranked as the No. 56 running back.

After an embarrassing 0-6 start last year, the Giants will look to come out strong this season. And in his first year with the team, Jennings will be one of New York’s biggest pieces.

Barring injuries, expect Jennings to emerge as one of the G-Men’s top fantasy players. He’s worth taking a risk on in the fourth-to-fifth round, and will go down as steal if he’s taken later.

Thomas Duffy writes for Bleacher Report and Seton Hall’s school newspaper, The Setonian.

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