Fantasy Football: Impact of New York Giants' free-agency signings

Rashad Jennings Stiff Arms His Way To Free Agency

The Fantasy Sports Coach, Dennis M. Esser, gives his take on how some of the free agent signings around the league will impact the Fantasy Football landscape. This week he takes a look at Rashad Jennings and some new Giants' offensive linemen.

Let's start off a look at how free agnecy has affected Fantasy Football with the New York Yankees, oops, I mean the New York Giants.

I'm sure you can understand my confusion with all the money flying at the players who have been visiting Met Life Stadium.

Rashad Jennings made a name for himself in Fantasy Football when he was a backup to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville. You see Fantasy Football crazies love to imagine what a running back will do if he is just given the chance to get the bulk of the carries. The infatuation with Jennings started in 2010 when he began to flash in games as he filled in for MJD. In a 2010 games against the Giants Jennings rushed 7 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. The following two weeks he carried the ball 15 times for a total of 153 yards and two touchdowns. He finished 2010 with a 100-yard game and scored another rushing touchdown against the Houston Texans. Injuries turned 2011 into a lost season and then 2012 was underwhelming.

After 2012 Jennings looked to be just another backup running back who would always be more hope of potential then actual talent. Well in 2013 he signed with the Oakland Raiders and was put in a position where he could back up one of the most injury-prone running backs in the league, Darren McFadden. In the preseason he was battling the dynasty fantasy darling Latavius Murray before Murray was injured and lost for the season. Jennings then played special teams and waited for the inevitable injury to McFadden.

For the first few weeks of the season Jennings just had to bide his time and stay healthy and then from weeks 10 to week 15 of the 2013 NFL season Jennings showed what he could do when given a full workload. He got 113 carries over that six-week period and used those carries to rumble for 539 yards. He also caught 19 passes for 160 yards in that span. Those six games made some fantasy owners very happy. Those six games made Jennings a lot of money as he signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the Giants.

Here's the play that will be remembered above all others from Rashad Jennings in 2013:

My fantasy take right now is inconclusive. I am excited as a Giants' fan that Jennings is here to help anchor the running back position, but what makes a running back really excel in fantasy is a dominant offensive line and an offensive game plan that will feature that back in multiple ways. For now I have to reserve judgment as I think the Giants are on the right path of upgrading their offensive line with the signing of Geoff Schwartz (eighth-ranked OG by PFF) and the further development of last season's first-round pick Justin Pugh, but there still are a lot of question marks.

Geoff Schwartz vs. Zane Beadles Courtesy of @PFF_Pete (Pete Damilatis):

J.D. Walton was rated as the worst center in the league by Pro Football Focus his last full season in the league in 2011. That doesn't exactly stoke my confidence as he looks to be in line to be the starting center as of right now. Chris Snee's hips didn't cooperate last year and there is no guarantee that he will be able to hold up this year. The injury-plagued David Baas has been jettisoned, but the versatile Kevin Boothe has been signed away by the Oakland Raiders. While Boothe had a down year last season (46th-ranked) he was rated as the 20th-best guard in 2012 by PFF and could even slide over and play center.

On the bright side, Will Beatty can always bounce back after last season's nightmare. He went from the 11th-ranked offensive tackle in the NFL by PFF in 2012 all the way down to 58th under players with one foot out of the NFL door like Jeremy Trueblood and Ryan Harris. The big offseason contract obviously had a major impact on Beatty as he tried to live up to the money he was making, but now he has to get back to work and try and play like he did in 2012.  I'm positive he will bounce back next season and think he will benefit with Schwartz lined up next to him.

The other wild card is new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who has never called plays before. McAdoo has said that his offense will contain west coast elements that should have me excited about Jennings in the passing and screen game, but again it's hard to put last year out of my mind.  I think one of the Cowboys is still running back one of the Giants' screen passes from last year.

To wrap up I do like Jennings' fantasy value in New York a lot more than I would have liked him if he had signed a one-year deal to stay in Oakland.  He may have to deal with a hopefully healthy David Wilson stealing some carries and an offensive line that may need some time to gel, but with McAdoo calling the plays I think he can be a legitimate running back 2 in Fantasy Football next season.

Check back next Friday when I go over the signing of (Super) Mario Manningham and what to expect of former Giant Hakeem Nicks in Indianapolis.

For all of your off season Fantasy Football news stop over at Coachesser.com for my current rankings as well as league wide articles.  You can also get ahead of the competition in Fantasy Baseball by checking out my rankings which are also now featured at FantasyPros.com.  You can also Mock Draft right on my site with help from the Pros.

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