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Giants vs. Jets: Which NY team will feature better fantasy options this year?

by Thomas Duffy | Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It’s finally here. After a long, hot summer, football is back in all of its glory.

As always, there is heated debate over which New York team—the Giants or Jets—will finish with a better record and which one, if either, will make the playoffs.

But, seriously…Who cares about reality? Let’s talk about the important stuff.

Fantasy.

Most fantasy football players like to have at least one player from their favorite team on their roster, even if it’s a guy who’ll never come close to cracking the starting lineup.

The vast majority of fantasy leagues have already held drafts. Teams are set and the trash-talk has begun.

As we head into the season, which New York team will feature better players? Let’s break it down by position.

 

Quarterback

This is a tricky one, being that the Jets have two guys worthy of starting.

As of right now, Geno Smith is the starter. Personally, I’d start Michael Vick—he’s a better runner and boasts a much better resume than the unproven second-year man out of West Virginia. But I digress.

Again, Smith is the starter. As a rookie last season, he threw for 3,046 yards and 12 touchdowns, ran for 366 yards and rushed in six TDs. According to ESPN’s standard league scoring, that was good for 199.7 fantasy points. Christoper Harris of the four letter network pegs Smith as the 27th best fantasy option heading into this season.

Vick, by Harris’ ranking, is 35th on the list. If Smith struggles or goes down with an injury, Vick will prove to be a better option—both on the gridiron and in the realm of fantasy.

And now for the Giants. Eli Manning was terrible last year, but it wasn’t all his fault.

Manning threw 27 interceptions last season–27! However, in his defense, it seemed that more than half of those picks bounced off of a receiver’s hands. The two-time Super Bowl MVP did manage to pass for 3,818 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, but Manning’s 2013 campaign will forever be overshadowed by the interceptions.

The Giants added Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams in the backfield, which will take some pressure off of Manning to sling New York to victory every Sunday. NYG’s defense will help, too.

According to DE Mathias Kiwanuka, the G-Men will have one of the league’s best defenses this year.

“Complete optimism at this point. Healthy, we’re one of the best defenses in the league, on paper,” he told NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan. “Now we just have to go out there, put it all out there and show what we can do. Obviously, big changes is tough, but I think across the board, we’re better at every position. We just have to go out there and prove it.”

Manning has a solid receiving core with Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr.—once the rookie finally gets healthy. He surely won’t be as bad as last year.

But Smith and Vick are duel-threat QBs with a strong running game and an improved WR position led by Eric Decker. The better real-life quarterback is Eli in a landslide, but Geno/Vick win the fantasy battle.

Advantage: Jets

 

Running back

Chris Johnson is the best running back, and perhaps overall fantasy player, in New York. He’s stud who has never failed to run for 1,000 yards in any of his first six seasons.

But while CJ is going to be the Jets’ lead back, NYJ also has Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to lighten Johnson’s workload.

That’s great news for the Jets from a real-football perspective. But from the fantasy lens, that’s bad news.

“Nothing was ever promised, you know, that you’re going to get X amount of carries and all that kind of stuff,” coach Rex Ryan said on a conference call, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I think he’s just coming here … Chris is happy to be part of this football team. We’re going to have to compete for roles. No role has definitely been determined for really almost anybody on this football team.”

“When you look at our stable of backs, it’s pretty good,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of my first year here when we had Leon Washington, we had Thomas Jones, we draft big Shonn [Greene]. We just had a great stable of backs. That’s what we have here.”

The Giants signed Jennings this summer to be a workhorse. He’s the No. 1 running back on team that will rely heavily on the running game. Rookie Andre Williams is the mix, but Jennings is the guy.

While Johnson is a better player, Jennings is the better fantasy option this year.

Advantage: Giants
Wide Receiver

Decker was great catching balls from Peyton Manning. But then again, most wide receivers would be, too.

The 27-year-old will definitely have a lot to prove this year as he steps into a No. 1 role with the Jets. But Smith and Vick aren’t even close to Peyton’s universe, so it’s going to be tough.

After Decker, the Jets will send out Jeremy Kerley. If you’re forced to pick up Kerley in a fantasy league, enjoy being a bottom-of-the-barrel team.

The Giants have a star in Cruz, the 13th best fantasy receiver according to Yahoo Sports. Decker ranks 30th on that list with Rueben Randle, NYG’s second option, just seven paces behind him.

Between Cruz, Randle and Beckham, the Giants are considerably better at wideout.

Advantage: Giants

 

What it means

Does any of this mean anything? Well, the destiny of a football team is determined by much more than the strength of skill positions.

The positional fantasy advantages can be misleading, too. The Jets might finish the year with better team rushing stats, but Jennings could outplay Johnson for individual fantasy points.

Best of luck in your fantasy leagues, and even better luck rooting for the Giants or Jets this year.

You’re going to need it for the latter.

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

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