Aug 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Andre Williams (44) runs by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) during second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: New York Giants RB Rundown

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In preseason action, the New York Giants offense has looked out of sync and far from ready for week one of the regular season.  One contributing factor to the Giants’ struggles is the absence of David Wilson who was slated to be their top running back before another neck injury forced him into early retirement.

In the wake of Wilson’s departure, the remaining Giants running backs have an opportunity to step up and seize larger shares of the Giants offense. Since Eli Manning and the passing game are struggling to get on track, New York may need to run the ball even more than normal early in the year.

When the Giants do take to the ground, expect Coach Tom Coughlin to use a mixture of running backs as he has in the past with no sure-fire RB1 but a few RB2 or flex options. Here is my quick take on where to target each of the Giants RB’s based on their rankings from my top 80 RB which came out last week and which will be updated later this week.

21

Rashad Jennings

RB, New York Giants

The Giants picked up Jennings after his solid year last season with Oakland where he totaled over 1,000 total yards from scrimmage and was involved as a pass-catcher and primary back after injuries struck the Oakland backfield.  Jennings hasn’t ever been a #1 back headed into a season, but he showed both the strength to run inside and the speed to bounce runs outside and make plays for Oakland last year.  Even with his definite upside, there are two reasons that I have Jennings outside my top 20 who would be the starters in a typical 10-team, two-RB league.  The Giants offensive line is the first reason. This preseason, the Giants blocking has struggled to protect Eli Manning or open holes for the running game. Even the best back could struggle behind what we’ve seen so far from the G-men O-Line.  The other reason I think he’s better suited as your third RB than your second is the potential that he could lose carries to rookie Andre Williams especially around the goal line.  Jennings will be the primary back and get the bulk of the touches, but the quality of those touches and how many he’ll have to share are still questions that hold him back from breaking into the top 20.  With those caveats in place, if you can get him late as your RB3, he does have the upside to be a nice starting piece or a great flex play if the season plays out in his favor.
40

Andre Williams

RB, New York Giants

When the Giants took Williams in the fourth round out of Boston College, they may not have anticipated thrusting him into their offense right away, but with Wilson finished Williams value gets a huge bump. He’s been taking snaps with the first team goal line unit all preseason and looks locked in as the team’s short-yardage option.  He doesn’t get very involved in the passing game, but he’s looked like a better rusher than Jennings in the preseason so it’s not unfathomable that he could earn more carries as the season goes on.  Williams will get some touchdowns making him a flex consideration with some upside for his role to grow. He’s a nice pick if you can add him as your fourth or fifth RB in ten-team leagues.
NR

Peyton Hillis

RB, New York Giants

Hillis has shown signs of being on decline the last couple of years and this preseason hasn’t shown that he’s ready to turn things back around.  As he continues to recover from foot and ankle injuries, he’ll need to show he has some gas left in the tank late in this preseason just to make the Giants roster, so don’t use a draft pick on him for your fantasy team.  There is a chance that due to injuries he becomes fantasy relevant later this season, but at this point look elsewhere for your sleepers.

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings and click here for the full series.

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Andre Williams Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB New York Giants Peyton Hillis Rashad Jennings RB Rankings RB Rundown

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