24 Hours 'Til Sunday — Andy Richardson
Posted Feb. 04 at 05:55 AM
You probably haven't read enough talk about the upcoming Super Bowl, right? Very little has been written in the way of previews or analysis, and few angles have been explored at this point. Yeah, right.
But there's got to be something new to say. So how about a preview of the game with regard to dynasty values of the participants? (And if you're not in a dynasty league, isn't it about time to change all that?) So here goes.
Giants: I suspect I have Eli Manning higher in my rankings than the average dynasty owner. What's not to like? He starts every week and probably will for the next 5 years, at least until he becomes the third Manning sibling to have his career impacted by a neck issue (I'm sorry, but it's worth thinking about). The team has shifted away from a running offense to a passing one, and it's loaded with young talent at wideout. He's a step below the elite fantasy quarterbacks, but most rankings probably place him a couple of steps below, so there's value there. And oh yeah, I don't care if Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare. He's using Julian Edelman in his secondary and Eli should light these guys up tomorrow.
At running back, it's remotely possible this will be Brandon Jacobs' last game with the Giants. He's a prideful guy who might not be interested in a low-money deal to be basically a goal-line and change-of-pace back with the Giants next year. A big game from Ahmad Bradshaw, which is also possible, will make it easier for the Giants to move on from Jacobs. Plus, they've got rookie DaRel Scott, and Scott has some talent -- maybe the Giants will be ready to elevate him to the No. 2 role next year and let Jacobs walk. Note I do not mention the current No. 3 D.J. Ware. The reason is that I honestly don't understand why the Giants use Ware at all. He played a bunch when Bradshaw was hurt this year and did nothing. He comes in for change-of-pace snaps as the No. 3 every once in a while and continues to do nothing. If somebody can tell me what he brings to the table I'm all ears. Anyway, Scott is the guy I'd be looking to add if he weren't already rostered in my dynasty league. Could be the No. 2 next season.
I just traded for Victor Cruz in my dynasty league. I still like Hakeem Nicks more, but that particular young and talented wideout wasn't available, and it was a deal I couldn't walk away from (Colston and Witten for Cruz and a future first, in case you're wondering). Two years from now, Cruz should be the only player of the three with much dynasty value; it's hard to get someone to deal such a player in dynasty leagues. The only negative for Cruz, and Nicks, is that Mario Manningham is also around, and he's pretty good too. The good news is that all three receivers should be productive in this game. As mentioned, New England is using a wideout in its secondary. Jake Ballard might get some red-zone looks. Saw a story this week that the Patriots might focus on taking away Cruz. Doesn't really seem plausible since the other guys are pretty good too, plus I don't think Belichick's actual defensive gameplans are getting out.
The Giants Defense has too many great pass rushers to be anything but dynasty gold. They had a bad stretch this year but it was strictly due to scheduling; a series of games against quarterbacks that don't get sacked or turn it over very often. Caused me to lose a title game where I benched them for another defense with a seemingly more favorable matchup. I'm still annoyed at myself.
Patriots: The pass rush will probably cause problems for Tom Brady, but overall, I don't think this Giants defense is as good as it was a few years ago. The linebackers aren't as good, the secondary has more holes. That hasn't been the case in its dominant playoff run; I grant you that. It totally shut down the Falcons and was stunningly good against the Packers. I would rather start Eli in this game than Brady. But I wouldn't write him off either.
If you're considering a Patriots running back in this game, or in a dynasty league, good luck to you. BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be the main guy here, because he doesn't fumble. But he also doesn't bring much of a threat to the offense, so maybe Belichick will roll the dice with Stevan Ridley or even Shane Vereen. Probably not, but there's enough uncertainty not to even consider Green-Ellis. And a year from now? I don't know if Green-Ellis is even certain to be on the roster. Story yesterday about the Patriots embracing "Moneyball" themes, NFL style, with one of the rules not to place value on running backs. So why did they use second- and third-round picks on Vereen and Ridley last year? Anyway, I have some interest in those backs in my dynasty league, but not enough to actually trade for either player. Because New England could just as easily bring in some other veteran. Like Brandon Jacobs.
At receiver, I figure Rob Gronkowski will gut it out and run around as if there's nothing wrong with him. Then have surgery after the game and be "limited" in every Patriots practice the entire offseason. I was going to do a factoid last week about how big Aaron Hernandez was in every game where Gronkowski didn't do much last season (games where he caught fewer than 5 passes), but unfortunately the evidence wasn't there; Hernandez had a couple of big games and three quiet ones in those contests. Long-term, Gronkowski is a top-2 dynasty tight end and I think Hernandez is top-5 at worst. They're both awesome, we know New England probably won't make great offseason choices at wide receiver since they haven't the last few years, and they'll probably be very good in this game. Them and Welker. As Ian notes, Deion Branch is just a guy. Of course he'll probably catch a touchdown in this game because the Giants will be covering everyone else, but realistically he has no significant value. I think Gronkowski will be healthy enough to play although I'd still rather use Hernandez or Welker this week. I'm hoping Hernandez doesn't do anything so I can send my 100th trade offer for him and actually be successful, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
The New England Defense? Maybe they'll get a pick or two off the occasionally careless Eli, but I'd much rather be using New York's defense this week.
Prediction: I've gone back and forth on this one, which I guess means it's a good matchup. I'd like to pick New England, because everyone picking the Giants troubles me, but simply can't. New York has the better defense, healthier receiving corps, and best running back. I'll stick with my "Ask the Experts" projection of Giants 31, Patriots 24, and we'll see.
Enjoy the game.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Feb. 04 at 07:29 AM
Andy: I too have gone back and forth on this game, but I keep coming back to the Giants winning. I just think they're the better team right now. I actually heard one talking head say earlier this week that NE won't lose because Tom Brady won't let them. REALLY? I'm sure he didn't intend to let them lose four years ago either when his team could have gone 19-0. I'm sure Belichick will throw some new wrinkles at the Giants, but I really don't think he has the talent on defense to stop Eli & Company. That being said, he's a great coach and he could certainly prove me wrong. Ian's perfect lineup (start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST) is Eli, Bradshaw, BJGE, Cruz, Nicks, Hernandez, Tynes and NYG D (assuming a Giant win, I'm adding in 3 points for each Giant player for the team victory). It's hard not to use Gronk. There are football players and there are freaks. Gronk is a freak. Terrell Owens is a freak, and I still remember him coming back from a broken leg a few years ago and dominating in the Super Bowl against NE. Some sleepers IMO are Manningham (a pretty good player who could benefit from extra attention payed to Cruz/Nicks), Ridley (he said he was told he would be active and I doubt that would be the case if they had no intention of using him) and the Ochocinco News Network (he's just a guy too who reportedly still doesn't know the offense, but nothing would surprise me). What are your thoughts on a lineup? Thanks.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Feb. 04 at 09:33 AM
Peter- I can't argue with that lineup. I would like to get Welker in there, but whichever Giant wideout you bench is the one who will go off. Regarding Manningham, I would like him more if I thought New England could cover Nicks or Cruz. As for Gronkowski, I like Hernandez too much to opt for a guy on a bum wheel over him. Put it this way, I think Hernandez would give you decent numbers even if Gronk was 100 percent. So with his health completely uncertain I just would favor the guy we know is fully healthy over the guy who maybe can't run. On Ridley, being active could easily just be insurance if BJGE gets hurt. Cant start him. Good luck and enjoy the offseason.
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Feb. 05 at 08:49 AM
I have a good trivia question.Sorry its not relevent to this but the trivia question doesnt allow comments.Who is the only player that has played on five super bowl CONSECUTIVE LOSING TEAMS?answer Gale Gilbert who was Jim Kellys backup for the bills four losses and backup QB in superbowl XXIX to Stan Humpries S.D.who lost to Steve Youngs S.f fortyniners.Gales son is now the backup Q.B. for the Texas Longhorns.
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