Amassing talent is the first, second and third rules of success to win fantasy. To win leagues, however, it is imperative to strategize on maximizing value from each draft selection. This is why average draft position (ADP) is such an important statistic for fantasy players. Eli Manning is a talented quarterback for sure, but taking him in the sixth round would have an opportunity cost of a talented skill position player where there are shallow talent pools. Rashad Jennings has an ADP similar to those of mediocre tight ends and number two wide receivers. Taking a starting running back a round earlier than what his ADP indicates might just be a great value. Let us look deeper into the numbers and analyze the fantasy stock value of the New York Giants and compare it to the opportunity cost of players who are of similar value.
Odell Beckham Jr. | ADP: 2nd/3rd Overall
Beckham is posting historic numbers for such a young wide receiver. One can even argue that Beckham has not even seen his peak yet. He is ranked as the second- or third-best fantasy player overall. His hype machine is immeasurable -- even for those who hate the Giants. Giants fan or not, you will need a top three selection to pick him. As one of the premier offensive weapons in the game, his value as a top three pick is justified and he will find himself in many winning rosters.
Opportunity Cost: Julio Jones, Todd Gurley
Rating: Value Pick. The only time where Beckham would be a bad choice is if Antonio Brown is available. Gurley might be an acceptable alternative, especially in standard leagues, but Beckham is more of a sure thing.
Eli Manning | ADP: 90th Overall
I've written about Manning as a good fantasy quarterback for some time now. His numbers have been top 10 in the position during his years in Ben McAdoo's system. It appears Manning will enjoy the best set of offensive weapons he's had ever since Hakeem Nicks and a healthy Victor Cruz. Giants fans are mostly bullish on the team's offensive potential which might affect Manning's stock. Expect him to be called on earlier than with the 90th pick if you play with a lot of Giants fans.
Opportunity Cost: Gary Barnidge, Michael Crabtree, DeAngelo Williams
Rating: Value pick. That being said, "reaching" for Manning is a tough decision to make. As it stands, without the hype of Giants fans, Manning is a fair value. His floor would be a top 10 QB, but he has the ceiling (and the weapons) to crack the top five. If you draft him early, you would be betting that he can post numbers similar to his 2011 season -- 5,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns. He certainly has a chance to attain those numbers, but this bet carries a good degree of risk.
If Manning is simply a top 10 QB, then the value you paid to get him is fair. That being said, there are QBs that could even be better values with their low ADPs. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are going roughly 60 picks after Eli Manning, for example. Stocking up on these lesser valued QBs might just give you the late-round steal that can maximize value. However, if one prefers a risk-averse strategy, then paying market value for Manning is a great alternative.
Rashad Jennings | ADP: 80th-90th Overall
With the likelihood of Jennings being the featured running back for the Giants, it is time to buy low. I know, there was a lot of optimism for Jennings in previous years and he has not delivered on that promise. However, that promise came with a high price in previous drafts. With such a low ADP this year, Jennings becomes a great value. Will he keep up the torrid play from his final four games of last season? Probably not. Jennings is known to show flashes of excellence for a stretch of games but has also disappeared in a number of games as well. But if he is given the lion's share of carries, I will ride him until he flames out.
Opportunity Cost: Ladarius Green, Marvin Jones
Rating: Steal. As it stands now, Jennings is the 36th running back being taken. People are drafting him as if he were a mere flex player. Even if Jennings cannot sustain the pace of a top 10 RB, getting the volume of a starting RB as a flex is a massive value. Of course, there will be injury concerns with Jennings but with this low of a price, it is time to buy. I mean, look at the players drafted near him. A mediocre tight end and a high end WR3. Jennings is for sure a steal even if he is not a top workhorse back.
Note: Yahoo has Jennings incredibly low. These ADPs are generated by the average of each major fantasy football league. But I had to exclude Yahoo as it was a huge outlier. ESPN and CBS had Jennings in that 85-90th overall range. Yahoo has him at 140. That is an even bigger steal.
Sterling Shepard | ADP: 100th Overall
Shepard is definitely the most hyped rookie receiver in this year's class. Thanks to his skills in route running coupled with his placement in a good offense, Shepard's potential is high. He will be taken higher than the likes of Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson who were drafted higher than Shepard in the actual NFL Draft. Shepard is receiving rave reviews in training camp and is the favorite to being the Giants WR2. Even those who are not Giants fans are optimistic, which means it will be difficult to get him at a fair price.
Opportunity Cost: Zach Ertz, Derrick Henry, Tony Romo
Rating: Value. For most hyped rookies I would say this is a reach. There are solid veterans around here that are worth looking into. Heck, Rashad Jennings might still be available with the 100th overall pick. That being said, I have an entire article of reasons why Shepard is not just a mere rookie receiver. His route running skills especially are a great indicator of early success and Shepard has top marks in that area. The price is a bit high though for an unknown product, which keeps him from being a steal at that price.