New York Jets impending free-agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall opted to stay in the Gotham area by agreeing to a two-year, $12 million pact with the Giants.
Marshall will be 33 years old before the NFL season commences, coming off his worst fantasy season since 2006 as a rookie. Quarterback woes certainly contributed to his downfall, but Marshall showed signs of his age when trying to separate from defenders.
Quarterback problems should be a thing of the past with Eli Manning slinging it, but Marshall is no longer “the guy.” At this stage of his career, it should come as no surprise. Yet, Marshall must develop chemistry with Manning over the offseason.
Competition for touches will be greater than ever. Stud receiver Odell Beckham Jr. remains the top dog in this pecking order, and from a non-fantasy perspective, perhaps he can learn a few things from Marshall’s veteran tutelage.
Second-year wideout Sterling Shepard is coming off a fine rookie season, in which he hauled in eight touchdowns on 65 grabs. He is likely to play out of the slot in 2017 and should have a similar role but possibly diminished statistics.
The offensive system hasn’t utilized a tight end to any notable degree, dating back to Ben McAdoo’s time in Green Bay as a play-caller. Running backs Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins are capable receivers out of the backfield, but the position is utilized more as a checkdown than by design in this area.
Fantasy football spin
So, the fun stuff … Where does Marshall fit in from a fantasy perspective, and how does his addition affect the players around him?
Marshall is a WR3 in point-per-reception leagues, at best, and a fourth for conservative owners in traditional setups and/or shallow leagues. He will have a few big games and can contribute as no worse than a regular flex consideration.
Running down the roster of fantasy notables, this only strengthens Manning’s outlook. He is a low-end QB1 or strong No. 2 passer in most fantasy circles.
The interesting aspect to watch will be how many times Manning shies away from a double-teamed Beckham for Marshall or Shepard. OBJ is a surefire No. 1 fantasy receiver, but he may not see as many targets as the past two seasons.
Shepard likely takes the biggest hit in terms of volume, but he rarely will see additional defensive attention and could find his way into the end zone on a fairly regular basis. Think No. 3 receiver with arguably as much risk as upside. After all, Marshall has missed four games in the last three years and doesn’t exactly have youth on his side.
This move, in totality, is better for the Giants than fantasy owners. Manning is the biggest beneficiary of Marshall’s signing, but it is more from a solidification perspective than true advancement in the rankings.