The Jets continued to turn on Tank Mode™ by cutting Brandon Marshall earlier this week. He sauntered over to the Giants’ side of MetLife Stadium. The New York Giants and Brandon Marshall agreed to a two-year, $12,000,000 contract on Tuesday, making him the Giants’ #2 wide receiver. For fantasy football purposes, this will have a rippling effect that will echo around the shared MetLife Stadium.
First, the team that Marshall left. The Jets receiving corps loses their top receiver. Their second best, Eric Decker, is still recovering from a leg injury that ended his 2016. It isn’t 100% that Decker returns in 2017, as the Jets have hit full rebuild. The rest of the corps had flashes of relevance in their respective careers. Quincy Enunwa had a handful of fantasy football relevant games towards the middle of the year last season. Robby Anderson became Bryce Petty’s favorite target down the stretch last year. Devin Smith has not done much of anything in his career, but this is due to injuries. He may be the best receiver outside Decker, as he is the former #37 pick in the draft.
If Decker returns, he’s obviously the player to own. However, he’s struggled in the past with injuries and being the #1. It will be buyer beware unless he does something outstanding in the preseason. Enunwa will likely take over most of Marshall’s targets, as Anderson is more of a deep threat. Smith is the dark horse for fantasy football relevance in 2017. With an unsettled QB corps and a lot of questions, I wouldn’t target any Jets receiver outside of Eric Decker and maybe Quincy Enunwa without further information. The quarterback in 2017 could be one of Geno Smith or Colin Kaepernick (or worse: Christian Hackenberg). Those nuclear scenarios leave little-to-no fantasy upside in any part of the Jets offense.
As for the Giants, Marshall represents three things: a slight decrease in non-OBJ wide receiver values, a slight increase in Eli Manning’s value, and a complete destruction of any Tight End value.
Brandon Marshall can’t help but take a step backward as he takes a back seat to Odell Beckham Jr. With Sterling Shepard also in the mix, there may not be enough targets to go around. Shepard had matchup upside, but that is mostly gone unless Marshall or OBJ has an injury. Marshall can’t help but lose targets, and a high number of drops last year (9) may limit his upside with fewer targets. Still, he will play the role that tight ends have been playing in this offense: big, bruising, up the middle targets. Marshall’s value will become touchdown-based, and he drops to the mid-to-late WR2 ranks. Shepard becomes a Bye week matchup play. OBJ remains OBJ, and his value may go up with a more powerful offense.
Eli Manning’s fantasy football value should be solidified, but not take a major step forward. He has little opportunity to crack the top seven or eight, but he has solidified himself within the top twelve with this move. Eli has always had stretches of fantasy relevance, but they were punctuated with complete meltdowns. The addition of Marshall gives him another target, a huge target that gives him an option other than “throw it to OBJ and hope he takes this slant to the house.”
Will Tye and Larry Donnell have flashed fantasy football relevance, but those days are in the past. Their greatest asset was opportunity, not talent. The addition of Marshall not only bumps them down the passing options list but also gives Manning a much better target than either TE in the red zone (and end zone). They lose all relevance and any potential sleeper status.