by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Based on the current average ADP (courtesy of Fantasy Pros), Vincent Jackson (35.2) is going ahead of Victor Cruz (41.1). My question is why? If I had a choice between the two I would go Cruz every time, but let’s take a look:
He had a poor 2013 campaign, which included missing two games and having sub par quarterback play. Yet, he still managed to pick up 73 catches for 998 yards and 4 TD.
While the touchdowns were down, part of the problem was Eli Manning and part was due to a negative impact from the running game. Despite what they’ve shown thus far in the preseason, it’s fair to expect a significantly better year from Manning. They brought in a new offensive coordinator and there’s definitely been growing pains, but it’s likely just a matter of time.
They’ve also brought in a pair of new running backs in Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, which should help keep opposing defenses honest. No longer will opponents simply be able to focus on the passing game, which should help to open things up.
You also have the fact that Cruz is the clear best player not only in the receiving corps, but likely on the offensive side of the football. The Giants have other weapons, but we all know who the go to guy is.
Maybe Cruz isn’t the explosive player who averaged 18.7 yards per catch in his rookie year. Instead he is the guy who has averaged 12.7 or 13.7 yards the past two seasons. That’s more than enough, especially since he’s a near lock for 85+ catches and should repeatedly find the end zone (he scored 19 TD over his first two seasons).
2014 Projection: 85 catches, 1,250 yards, 10 TD
He may be the bigger play option, with a career mark of 17.4 yards per catch, but he’s never had more than 78 receptions in a season (2013) and has never had more than 9 TD in a year (he’s had 8 and 7 the past two years).
He also gets a change in coach, with Lovie Smith taking over, but you also have a new wide receiver, in first round pick Mike Evans, who could take some targets away.
How about a return to health for Doug Martin, who arguably could be the best player and centerpiece of the offense (especially now that Charles Sims is out, though the team still speaks of rotating backs)? You have to think he’s going to get his chances, further hurting Jackson.
That’s not to say that Jackson isn’t one of the better options in the game and can make big plays, but he easily could continue coming in with fewer receptions and TD than Cruz.
2014 Projection: 75 catches, 1,225 yards, 8 TD
There you have my reasoning for favoring Cruz over Jackson. What about you? Which player do you prefer and why?
Sources – ESPN, Fantasy Pros
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: