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Brandon Marshall Fantasy Football Stock Profile: The Giants Represent the Perfect Fantasy Situation for Marshall
- Updated: March 21, 2017
Position: Wide Receiver
Former Team: New York Jets
New Team: New York Giants
Brandon Marshall landed with the New York Giants in what was the first overall meaningful transaction of the 2017 free agency period. This event took place prior to free agency officially starting, as Marshall had been released earlier in the week and was thus allowed to sign anywhere he pleased. On March 8th, he accepted a 2 year /$12 million contract with only $5 million guaranteed, to switch locker rooms, and sport Giants blue in NYC. The polarizing wide receiver’s stock will take a huge leap from his playing days with the lowly Jets last year.
Let’s discuss how we expect this to develop in the season to come:
After years of dominance, there’s no question that B-Marsh is a physical specimen. Measuring up at 6″4 and 230 lbs, Marshall possesses the ability and attributes to overpower any opposing defensive back in a contested ball or blocking situation. A six-time Pro Bowler and 1st team All-Pro in 2012, Brandon Marshall has been one of the elite players at his position over the past 10 years. The Giants have typically posed a strong aerial threat to opponents over the years, but struggled mightily in the second half of 2016. I expect Marshall to work with a strong supporting cast led by Eli Manning to make amends to this issue, and replace an over-the-hill Victor Cruz as a WR2 with a steady floor and astronomical upside in 2017. Still, we can’t discount his abysmal 2016, and, at 33 years old, it’s not impossible that his skills are waning.
With fantasy stud Odell Beckham Jr. and emerging star Sterling Shepard also in the fold, there will be a lot of mouths to feed in the Meadowlands come September. What may seem like an curse for fantasy owners, may also be a blessing in disguise, as those targets, though fewer, may be far more productive. Having a target like Marshall drawing the CB2 matchup will leave a lot more opportunities for OBJ to do his thing, and also free up Shepard in the slot. As for Marshall, I think he is going to bounce back in a major way for various reasons…
- A better QB than he’s ever played with — Eli Manning
- A weaker CB draw
- Single coverage
- A high % share of Giants red zone targets (no other rostered receiver within 4 inches of his height)
Eli’s already taken notice, comparing Marshall to Plaxico Burress while stating: “I was excited when we made that acquisition,” Manning said. “He’s obviously a big target. I think Plaxico was kind of the last one similar to that size. They can be open when they’re not really open. You don’t want to get into a habit, it’s not a jump-ball but you can throw him open.” Oh, Marshall leads the NFL with 35 red zone scores since 2012.
In sum, while Marshall won’t pace this team in targets, the quality of his looks stands to grow in the Meadowlands, especially in the red area.
The Giants are a passing team. Everyone knows it. That’s why they literally had no offense in the second half of last season. There was absolutely no mystery to their strategy. That said, McAdoo loves rolling out his 3 WR sets. In 2016 alone, the Giants utilized 11 personnel (3 WR, 1 RB, 1 TE) on 96-percent of their plays and 100-percent of their passing plays.
The Giants have run the most snaps with 3 receivers on the field in each of the past 3 seasons. The new trio: OBJ, Shepard, Marshall.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 8, 2017
Even more importantly, the team loves to throw in the red zone, where Marshall should thrive. Only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have attempted more red zone throws since Ben McAdoo arrived in New York, and the Giants own the sixth highest red zone throwing percentage over that three-year span.
The Giants have made decent effort to improve their run game by fortifying their blocking with some new faces now in the mix. The 2017 off season brought in 3 key players 6’4″ or taller who should all be massive contributors to getting Paul Perkins going on the ground. Rhett Ellison is a blocking FB/TE who is one of the best in the league at what he does, and is my pick to be the Giants “grinder” in 2017. Man-mountain D.J. Fluker — a former 2013 1st round pick was released by the Chargers — was then brought to NYG to experiment if that 6’5″ 340 lb frame can be molded into its full potential. B-Marsh himself stands at 6’4″ 230 lbs, and is one of the game’s best blocking WRs. Having quality blocking established for Perkins on 1st and 2nd down will really open up the play-action passing game and keep opposing defenses guessing. If all of these chips fall as they should, B-Marsh will have plenty of big gains and TDs to celebrate.
Surrounding Talent: 8.5/10
Eli Manning – A two-time Super Bowl MVP that tends to shine brightest in crunch time. The Giants all-time passing leader and a bona fide starter in this league. Easy Eli shouldn’t have issues throwing 30+ TDs with the receivers at his disposal in 2017.
Paul Perkins – The 5th round pick in the 2016 draft impressed in a tandem backfield with Rashad Jennings. With Shad now out of the picture (and possibly on your DWTS fantasy team), more opportunities should present themselves for Perkins to build upon a hopeful 2016 campaign where he racked up over 600 all purpose yards.
Odell Beckham Jr – A top three WR in the league and undisputed top five pick in any fantasy league. Odell Beckham has the hands, breakaway speed, and mojo to carry the Giants franchise to a Super Bowl — once fully matured. One of the best possible compliments to Brandon Marshall, and a passionate asset to lead the Giants receiving core.
Sterling Shepard – Wouldn’t be surprised to see Shepard lead the Giants in touchdowns next year as he had a strong rookie year in 2016 with 65 receptions and 8 TDs. With all the attention on the the top gun threats, I see Sterling becoming a lethal weapon in the slot for years to come.
Will Tye – Definitely the weakest link in the chain, but also a seasoned and capable starter. The arrival of Rhett Ellison should see less opportunities on 1st and 2nd down for Tye, but nonetheless he has proven that he can make the big catch when his number has been called. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants look at a more dynamic pass catching option in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Clearly, this is a cast that’s talented enough to both draw coverage away from Marshall, but also eat into his workload.
Overall Risk: 6.5/10
The story that has always followed B-Marsh is his behavior off of the field. Marshall has a laundry list of issues labeling him as a locker room cancer over the years, and it will be very interesting to see how his borderline personality disorder meshes with hard headed 2016 All-Pro Diva Odell Beckham Jr, and their low testosterone quarterback.
To his credit, Marshall claims he has corrected his behavior over the past few years. He has taken a job with Showtime on Inside the NFL, and pledged a lot of his time to charity while promoting mental health awareness. Marshall has also been taking medicine to manage his mental health and borderline personality disorder. At this stage of his career and also in his early 30’s, I like to think that the former Jet has become a better person. The Giants have an excellent staff of doctors and physicians on hand to keep the star WR grounded, and I’m confident that his worst days are behind him. Regardless, his behavior remains a factor that will continue to be monitored closely.
Additionally, we cannot discount last season’s implosion. Was this a mere aberration due to a lack of motivation, or the signs of a downward spiral? What happens when Marshall goes without a target one week? Can he and Odell balance such volatile personalities, and will Eli be able to manage this?
With so many question marks in the way of Marshall reaching his massive ceiling here, the Risk is very real.
For the icing on the cake, could someone tell me what happened the last time B-Marsh changed teams after a “down season?” Arguably the best year of his career — when he hauled in about 110 balls for 1,500 yards and 14 TDs with the Jets in 2015. I think the Giants like those odds.
Overall Stock Score: 40/50, B-
Ceiling Projection: 90 Receptions – 1,100 yds – 12 TDs – A bonafide WR1 season could happen considering the opportunity and surrounding talent here, but BMarsh must prove his own skills remain intact first.
Floor Projection: 60 Receptions – 700 Yards – 5 TDs – He has never had a year with lower statistics than 60 – 700 since his rookie year, but his 2016 was atrocious.
Bottom Line: With a much-improved surrounding cast and in a pass-heavy scheme, a bounce back season for B-Marsh is a very real possibility; nonetheless, the aging wideout is coming off a horrendous last season with the Jets, leaving question marks around his own skills. Plus, his behavior always creates risk, especially now that he’ll be alongside another volatile figure in Odell. He has a similar feel to Donte Moncrief, with a high chance at a weekly TD, but often useless when he doesn’t cross the stripe.
2017 Predicted Stat Line: 70 Receptions – 850 Yards – 11 TDs
We used this formula to nail David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. Check back throughout the off-season to stay ahead of your fantasy football league.