Fantasy Football Focus: The Giants Without Victor Cruz

 

Authored by Kristina Bravo

If your League Champ plans included riding Victor Cruz’s stats to glory the announcement that he is out for the season may have rained on your parade a bit.  As always though, one man’s loss is another person’s gain and there are a few Giants receivers that will benefit from Cruz’s season ending a bit earlier this year.

The entire Giants team has been more than a little embarrassing this season. With  Eli Manning throwing 25 interceptions so far and only 16 touchdowns, the receiving core is far from perfect, but still able to garner a few points in these final weeks.

The biggest surprise player that may gain even more attention is Rueben Randle.  This season he’s caught 37 balls for 571 yards and 6 touchdowns.  He’s been Eli’s go to man in the red zone and leads the team in touchdowns, even when Victor Cruz was on the field.  Despite the Giants mediocre play, he is having a breakout season in his second year.  Last year, only catching 19 for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns, his production this year has been a pleasant surprise.  Without Victor Cruz, look for him to possibly receive some more attention in red zone plays and play more of the slot catches in the middle of the field Cruz would normally produce.

Also looking to possibly benefit is Hakeem Nicks.  Despite a somewhat lackluster season, he is second on the team (first being Cruz of course) in yards with 794 yards in the air.  He has yet to score a touchdown, however there is likely no one Manning will trust more on the field for the big catches over 30 yards.  He could potentially stand to increase his big play production without Cruz as the more reliable option for Manning.  That being said, it seems the off field talks surrounding Nicks may be negatively impacting his performance.  He is heading into free agency and appears to have no interest in risking injury for the big plays.  He’s been a little more reserved, not going for the diving catches or heavily contested balls this season to avoid injury before the off season.  These next two games, however, might be able to remind other teams he was the top receiver in New York before Cruz exploded onto the scene a few seasons ago.

The final potential beneficiary is actually the Giants tight end Brandon Myers.  He doesn’t have the speed of the rest of the receivers, but he is continuing to have a solid season with 460 yards and 4 touchdowns so far.  He’s being targeted more frequently in the last few games; averaging 3 to 5 catches a game since their match in Green bay, and has scored 3 of his 4 touchdowns this season in the last 4 games.  Myers is a reliable outlet receiver.  If Nicks and Randle can’t become more reliable in long yardage situations, Manning could be inclined to start giving more passes to Myers for receptions in the middle of the field.

These three players could stand to benefit from Cruz’s absence for the rest of the season.  The Giants being out of playoff contention could still prove to be spoilers for the Lions’ playoff chances and lead to a high scoring game in Detroit.  Closing out the season, the Giants play another game with high scoring potential at home against Washington.

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Categories: Fantasy Football

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