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Brandon Marshall to NYG Analysis

At nearly 33-years-old and coming off a low-flying year with the Jets, Brandon Marshall did not want to leave the Big Apple. He’s getting his wish.

The Giants’ inked the veteran to a two-year, $12M dollar deal per various media reports.

From a scheme standpoint, this is a really strong fit. New York clearly lacked juice on the outside last year opposite Odell Beckham Jr. as Victor Cruz failed to regain his allure of old coming off of a torn patellar tendon and multiple calf issues. Cruz was cut in February after catching just 39 passes in 15 regular season games.

With Cruz out of the equation, 72 targets (12% of team share) from the 2016 season are immediately open for the taking for Marshall. For reference, Odell Beckham’s target share has increased in each of his three years in New York as the focal point of their passing attack (22% > 26% > 28%). Marshall’s addition does relatively little to Beckham’s floor—and ceiling—of targets.

Here’s a quick glimpse of how the Giants’ distributed targets in 2016:



Target Share

Odell Beckham



Sterling Shepard



Victor Cruz



Will Tye



Roger Lewis



The addition of Marshall is a clear sign that the Giants want to get more out of their three wide receiver sets. They now have quite the trio in Marshall, OBJ and second-year man Shepard.Marshall’s addition may not be fantastic news for second-year wideout Sterling Shepard, however. Discounting his rookie year, and while playing for four different teams, Brandon Marshall has never seen fewer than 8.1 targets/game over the past 10 years. Shepard operates mainly from the slot—he ran almost 90% of his routes there in 2016—but the big-bodied Marshall should be a welcome addition for the Giants’ in the red-zone in addition to being the No. 2 cog in the general passing offense.

Odell Beckham led New York in red-zone targets (21) in 2016, but Shepard was the clear second (12 red-zone targets) option in scoring position for Eli Manning. Over the past two years, Brandon Marshall has commanded 28% (22 targets) and 30% (21 targets) of the Jets’ passing looks inside of the red-zone.

At the very least, though, Marshall’s signing is a clear sign the Giants want to get more out of their three wide receiver sets. HC Ben McAdoo used “11-personnel” (three wide receivers, one running back, one tight end) on about 95% of the Giants’ offensive plays in 2016 alone. That led the league.

Now it’s up to Eli Manning to bounce back. With Marshall in town, the Giants have a strong trio of receivers and each player does something different. Beckham is obviously as dynamic as they come as a moveable chess-piece, while Marshall will function as the “big-body” receiver and Shepard can remain a slot threat.

In 2016, Eli posted his second-worst touchdown rate (4.3) and adjusted yards/attempt average (6.40) over the past 10 years. Manning struggled mightily over the last eight games of the Giants’ 2016 regular season as New York’s offense went into a tailspin, too. In those final eight contests, Manning averaged an abysmal 5.80 adjusted yards/attempt and failed to clear 210 passing yards in 5-of-8 games.

We’ll see if Eli can break his slump at 36-years-old, but Marshall is the exact veteran addition the Giants’ passing offense needs to operate.

Graham Barfield
Senior Analyst

Graham is a senior analyst for Fantasy Guru and works closely with statistics to produce quanitative analysis for complementary weekly content. He will be appearing before the season and during the season on The Fantasy Guru Podcast with John Hansen and Joe Dolan. Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter at @GrahamBarfield.

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December 31, 1969
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December 31, 1969