The NY Giants signed free agent fantasy RB, Shane Vereen, to a 3-year $12.5 million contract during the offseason and all of a sudden, the backfield for Big Blue is crowded with talent. This is a time of excitement for Giants fans, but for fantasy owners, this RB fantasy news will only cause confusion and headaches.
Rashad Jennings is still listed as the starter and rightfully so. Now in his second year with the Giants, Jennings has the size and speed to run powerfully through the tackles and also has the best grasp of the playbook. Jennings showed flashes of promise in 2014, but knee and ankle injuries derailed his campaign. In fact, Jennings has never played all 16 games in a season in his seven-year career. Now 30 and perhaps injury-prone, Jennings is a long shot to carry anyone to fantasy glory.
Shane Vereen is next on the depth chart and was brought in for his pass-catching ability out of the backfield and winning culture. Vereen finished fifth in running back receiving yards last year and has the potential to jump further now in Ben McAdoo’s west coast offense. McAdoo’s game plan emphasizes quick, timely passes and Vereen is the perfect chess piece for that scheme. On third-down work, Vereen can spread out wide as a receiver or catch the ball out of the backfield to move the chains.
However, Vereen won’t just be doing damage through the air. ESPN staff writer, Dan Graziano, suggests that more work can be in store for Vereen running the ball on early downs as well. Vereen has never carried the ball more than 100 times in a season but came close last year with 96 totes for 4.1 yards a pop. But the most important stat to take away from last year is that Vereen did not miss a game in 2014. Durability correlates to consistency and everyone covets consistency.
Rounding out the running back committee is second-year man Andre Williams. He filled in fine for Jennings when he was out last year but he doesn’t have the necessary skills or speed to be a feature back in this backfield anytime soon. Williams is only effective in the red zone when running north or south, and he rarely does that. His big frame subjects him to be a touchdown vulture in fantasy for 2015 but nothing more.
Each back brings a different element to the game and expect all of them to be used at some point throughout the season. However, if a Giants running back had to be chosen, wait until rounds 10-12 for Vereen. Vereen should be used as a flex player and with his playmaking ability, he can win you a week on his own whilst filling in for a starter on bye.