Team: New York Giants
New Play-Caller: Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll is now best known for his 4-year stint as Bills OC where he oversaw the rise of Josh Allen. Things didn’t start off so great as the Bills’ offense in Allen and Daboll’s first season in 2018 was 30th in both yards and points. This is clearly a distant memory as the Bills have been top 5 in both categories each of the last 2 seasons. However, Daboll’s story isn’t just about his time in Buffalo. Daboll coached for 11 years under Bill Belichick in New England and was an OC for 4 years for 3 teams from 2009-2012. These seasons will play an interictal part in how we view the potential of the New York Giants offense in 2022 and beyond.
When viewing the potential of Daniel Jones in this new-look offense under Daboll we should probably look at Josh Allen’s growth. Allen’s 2021 mastery of this offense saw him attempt 646 passes and rush the ball 122 times for a combined 5100 yards and 42 TDs. It’s easy to say that no one will expect this from Jones in his first season, but his dual-threat capabilities do offer us some hope of replicating Allen’s production from the past.
Jones himself has a 3,000-yard passing season from 2019 and a 400-yard rushing performance in just 14 games in 2020. These numbers closely resemble Josh Allen’s 2019 where he threw for 3,089 yards and 510 yards on the ground. That season Allen finished with 21.2 PPG on the back of 29 total TDs including 9 rushing TDs. That production made Allen a top 10 QB that season but in 2021 it would have been the QB13.
High-end QB2 performance is probably the best-case scenario but for Jones to reach that potential, he needs his skill position group to stay healthy. Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton missed a combined 28 games in 2021 alone. If the pieces fall into place, Jones is an ideal target in 2QB and Superflex leagues. This should be attainable at his current cost as the QB26 according to Bestball10 ADP.
Running Back Impact
A lot of people will look at the last 2 seasons in Buffalo and say that Daboll is a pass-first coordinator. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Prior to 2020, Daboll oversaw rushing attacks that were top 6 in attempts in 5 of 6 seasons as a coordinator. This commitment to the run helped coax career years out of Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, and Peyton Hillis. Yes, the same OC that helped get Peyton Hillis on the Madden cover now has Saquon Barkley at his disposal.
A couple of key factors are leaning in favor of Barkley in 2022. First, is Daboll scheme is more reliant on zone concepts. This should be a welcome sign for Barkley who excelled in 2018 and 2019 under Pat Shurmur with more zone runs. Second, Barkley is in the last year of his deal and playing under a staff that didn’t draft him. With no financial ties to him after this season, this staff should unleash him. Barkley should be more then ready for this workload after just 162 carries in 13 games in 2021. For reference, Daboll gave 285 carries to Charles, 270 to Hillis, and 216 to Bush all of which were career highs for that player.
Finally, when looking at draft cost Barkley is coming at a steep discount at RB16 and 30th overall. Yes, this cost factors in his injury concern, but when Barkley has gotten the playing time, he has been an RB1 in fantasy. In 2021 when he played at least 75% of snaps he averaged 14.2 PPR which would have been good for RB12 in 2021. So, this draft cost offers plenty of room for upside as all three of Hillis, Charles and Bush finished in the top 10 at the position under Daboll.
Wide Receiver Impact
The move to Brian Daboll should be a welcome sign for the Giants WR room. The Giants in 2021 only targeted WRs on 58% of their passes. Meanwhile, that number was 65% under Daboll in the 4 years with the Bills and was over 70% each of the last 2 seasons in Buffalo. A lot of this had to do with Daboll’s personnel usage as he uses a lot more 3 and 4 WRs sets. Daboll utilized (1-1) personnel aka 3 WRs on over 70% of snaps in each season. The Giants only used that grouping 61% of the time in 2021. Furthermore, the Bills used (1-0) personnel aka 4 WRs on 11% of snaps over the past 2 seasons while the Giants used that formation 0% of the time.
Another key to this new offense that should directly impact these WRs is the emphasis on the vertical passing game. Under Daboll, the Bills attempted a pass of 20+ yards on 14.8% of their passes. This is a huge jump from the 6.6% that the Giants attempted in 2020. Just on their 593 attempts from 2020, that should result in roughly 48 more deep passes. The Giants have the personnel to make this work as Slayton (4.39), Toney (4.43), and Golladay (4.5) all have the speed to win deep. More importantly, Daniel Jones showed flashes as an elite deep ball thrower. In 2020, Jones finished 3rd in PFF passing grades and 8th an adjusted completion percentage on passes of 20+ yards.
The final question is how does this usage translate into WR fantasy finishes? The Bills produced 2 top 36 WRs in 2019 and 2020 while in 2021 just Stefon Diggs cracked that mark. Some of this had to do with the emergence of Dawson Knox. However, Beasley just wasn’t as productive with his looks in 2021 as he still saw 112 targets vs. an average of 106.5 the previous 2 years. Currently none of the Giants WRs are being drafted inside the top 36 WRs according to Bestball10s ADP. This means there should be opportunity for at least 1 or 2 WRs to provide some value in 2022.
Tight End Impact
This section will be short and sweet as the Giants currently just have Ricky Seals-Jones on top of their depth chart. Prior to Dawson Knox’s breakout in 2021, only Ben Watson in 2010 had a top 12 TE season under Daboll. Now we could make an argument that none of the teams he coached previously had a top TE to work with. This is true. Another element that can’t be overlooked is the 70% usage rate on (1-1) personnel. This means a TE will be on the field a lot.
However, it is hard to imagine Seals-Jones carving out a role with the Giants having those 4-WRs along with Barkley. As a reminder the Bills were 28th and 24th in pass attempts their first 2 seasons with Daboll. This leads us to believe it might take a year or two before this offense can make 3 to 4 players’ fantasy relevant on a consistent basis. In hindsight, we thought the same thing about Dawson Knox in Buffalo prior to the 2021 season so we shouldn’t discount RSJ if reports come out that he looks good in training camp.
Are you willing to draft any Giants player at their current ADP? Leave a comment!
Saquan Barkley (ADP 30th overall)
Kadarius Toney (ADP 95th overall)
Kenny Golladay (ADP 143rd overall)
Daniel Jones (ADP 172nd overall)
Sterling Shepard (224th overall)
Ricky Seals-Jones (272nd overall)
References: Razzball, Sharp Football Stats, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, FFToday, Player Profiler, and Bestball10s