Mar 18, 2008
I have to say, I was a little surprised that Giant RB Derrick Ward didn’t get more interest in free agency. I know he’s an injury risk, but if I’m a team like, say the Lions, I would have taken a chance on Ward. Apparently, Ward didn’t get much interested in the market, so he’s back with the NY Giants.
Ward looked really good last year. He has power, but also more zuzu than Brandon Jacobs and more importantly he’s a better receiver. Jacobs talked a lot about his receiving skills last year – and he did have some moments catching the ball late in the season and during the playoffs – but his hands aren’t very good. Ward was more of a factor and more effective catching the ball than Jacobs, snagging 26/179/1 compared to Jacobs’ 23/174/2. Jacobs, of course, played in about 3-4 more games than Ward and was the lead guy much more than Ward.
So now we again have a very crowded backfield in New York. The team should opt to keep the affordable Rueben Droughns around, so we’re looking at a backfield with four capable guys in Jacobs, Ward, Droughns, and of course Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs will start of course, but Bradshaw should have an expansive role like he did in the playoffs. Bradshaw would have been a great sleeper if Ward didn’t come back but now I have to believe Ward will be the starter if Jacobs going down with Bradshaw’s role basically unchanged. The Giants may also look to give Ward some carries each week in an effort to keep Jacobs healthy, so we could see three backs consistently get carries in this backfield.
Clearly, the identity of this offense will remain the power running game. That works well for the team, obviously, but it’s not going to translate into much upside potential for Eli Manning. And, of course, it’s going to create a shaky situation in the backfield for fantasy. I would still take a chance on Jacobs if the value was right, but I’m going to still be a little wary of him due to his inability to stay healthy and what is something of an RBBC. It’s all a recipe for disappointment for Jacobs.