Most pundits and fans of the draft assumed the New York Giants were going to have to invest one of their first three picks at the wide receiver position, but not many predicted they would use the 12th overall pick on a wide receiver.
I have to admit I was one of the fans screaming at the TV for the Giants to take Zack Martin or Aaron Donald. I actually had to walk away from the TV and compose myself. (It's the fat guy in me that just can't let a quality big man slip by) I'm a fantasy football guy, I should love that the Giants drafted one of the most explosive players available in this draft, but I didn't ... at first. I knew Beckham was a possibility, but I thought the draft was top heavy at the wide receiver position and the Giants would use their first pick to take a top player at a position that was thin. I was obviously wrong to assume that the Giants didn't have a plan all along.
Most fantasy football analysts looked at the Giants drafting Odell Beckham Jr. as a sign that the Giants were souring on Rueben Randle. I can admit from the outside it could look like that, but covering the Giants and heavily scouting the Green Bay Packers offense while the Giants' new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, was working as an offensive assistant there has me intrigued with Randle's prospects. I think the greater indictment would have been if the Giants drafted a wide receiver with a similar skill set or a receiver that was a bit raw like Donte Moncrief or Martavis Bryant.
Beckham Jr. was drafted to be a big part of this offense and I think he could even become the No. 1 wide receiver here in New York in a few years, but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore Randle. I think Beckham compliments Randle in so many ways. The two were teammates and roommates at LSU and pushed each other in practice day in and day out. Not only is Beckham a familiar face, but he is a burner who can take the top off of a defense. With Beckham lined up in the slot or on the opposite side of the field defenses are going to have to roll their coverage toward him and stay that much deeper.
My hopes for Randle going into the off season were that he could be a low-end wide receiver two in Fantasy Football, but those hopes changed with the addition of Beckham. I think Randle's fantasy production floor became safer. Randle is still the best Red Zone target the Giants have at the wide receiver position and could occupy a position in McAdoo's West Coast offense that James Jones made a fantasy living at the last few years.
As of right now Beckham is being drafted any where from fifth overall to eighth overall in the 12 Dynasty Rookie drafts that were shared with me by Josh Moore of 4for4.com and Leo Paciga of DynastyLeagueFootball.com. That's about where I have him ranked in my early dynasty rookie rankings. I have Beckham as my sixth overall player in my top 10, and Shane P. Hallam of DraftTV.com had him rated in the same slot.
Randle is currently going off the board as the 33rd wide receiver in early off-season redraft fantasy football leagues at about the 85th pick overall. I expect that to take a bit of a tumble with most of the main stream analysts downgrading Randle. You could end up grabbing Randle in the WR38 to WR40 range in the mid 100s and have a nice value wide receiver 3 with some touchdown upside.
The Giants, bless their hearts, finally grabbed some beef with their pick in the second round. Weston Richburg, the Center from Colorado State, was a pre-draft favorite of a lot of the BigBlueView staff and I'm sure he will be a favorite of yours real soon. Richburg immediately gives the Giants something they haven't had for a while. A quality, reliable center that can be counted upon to anchor the offensive line. Whether through injury (David Baas) or ineffectiveness (take your pick) the Giants have been in serious need at the position since letting Shaun O'Hara walk.
Believe it or not the addition of Richburg should have a big effect on the Giants Fantasy Football outlook. No seriously. If Eli Manning can actually be comfortable with a center who is going to be able to set the right protection and then has the technique and the strength to make sure their isn't immediate pressure in Eli's face, then Eli will no longer be in constant chuck and duck mode. Not only was Eli in chuck and duck mode for most of last year, but the Giants' running backs were in a constant state of being harassed in the backfield. I actually was a little upset when Marcus Martin, who is a fine football player, was invited to the NFL Draft to sit in the green room. I thought that meant that Richburg wouldn't be the first center taken and I found that hard to believe. I think the entire offense gets a boost with Richburg as the Giants' offensive line pivot.
The last pick I will talk about in fantasy terms is the Giants pick of running back Andre Williams from Boston College. Williams took a hit in the pre-draft process because of his lack of receptions at Boston College, but I never thought there was any other running back in this draft class that fit what the Giants need better than Williams. The Giants needed to bring in a replacement for Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs was a frustrating player at times for fans, but for the offensive line of the Giants I don't think there was another player on the roster that could get them more excited about blocking. The feeling an offensive lineman gets when he sees his running back punishing a defender by lowering his shoulder or giving a big stiff arm can not be discounted. The adrenaline level shoots up another notch when you have a guy behind you that you know wants to dole out the same punishment you want to on a defender.
The Giants signed the versatile Rashad Jennings and may even get back all-world athlete David Wilson, but I think Andre Williams will have a very specific role on this offense. I expect Williams to be in line for eight touches a game in the beginning of the season. Those touches could grow either by production or because of an injury in front of him on the depth chart. Jennings has always had trouble staying healthy and even missed games last season with the Raiders. Wilson is coming off of a neck fusion and still hasn't been cleared for contact.
Williams presence definitely takes a little of the glimmer out of Jennings' fantasy football potential. If the Giants didn't address the position in the draft then Jennings would have been a solid fifth round buy for me as a running back two, but now with Williams in the fold Jennings' touchdown potential goes down and his potential to get Wally Pipped if he misses any time goes way up. i'm still buying on Jennings as a running back three in the seventh round as of right now.
Right now I have seen Andre Williams going off the board in dynasty rookie drafts in the mid- to late-third round, approximately 35th overall. I have him rated higher than that at about 23rd overall, but I would be happy taking him in the top of the third. In redraft leagues he's going mostly undrafted.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Coachesser and head over to my website Coachesser.com to see all of my latest rankings and articles. You can also download my new Podcast 'The Fantasy Coach Podcast" on Itunes or stream it on my site. In the latest pod I talk to draft expert Shane Hallam about the draft and touch on the Giants a lot.