NY Giants’ WRs – Talent too thinly spread?

Ahead of the 2020 NFL season, the New York Giants’ first-choice trio of wide receivers are the franchise’s biggest assets, but largely seen as far weaker in the event that one is absent. That trio, comprising of Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, has the potential to put NY Giants in contention for a winning season after a poor 2019 campaign.

Can any of Tate, Shepard or Slayton become ‘no. 1’ WR calibre by themselves over the next year?

Tate may have already peaked individually

Raw numbers aside, official player ratings will be one metric that reflects the main WRs’ credentials as individuals in the coming months, as will the knock-on effect their performances have on the live NFL moneyline betting odds available on FOX Bet from September.

With Tate averaging 5.80 yards after every successful catch in both of his previous two seasons, fears regarding his advancing age appear unwarranted in the short term. His preference to rely on coordination and game reading over higher than average pace is one reason that he has not yet begun to decline. He still has every other faculty intact, proving to be a particularly accomplished route runner and 50/50 combatant over the years.

A tally of six touchdown catches in 2019 was also a five-year high for Tate, but to be a number-one WR, Tate has to improve upon his seven-year low of just 4.50 catches per game attained in the last campaign. Overall, while Tate’s numbers back up the widely-held belief that he needs his fellow first-choice WRs, it is not unreasonable to say that this ‘belief’ stems from a mere lack of celebration in the wider media, with much more focus lent to WRs within better teams than the Giants.

Highlights from Golden Tate’s 2019 Season.

Shepard sharpness is a potential concern

With Shepard missing six games through a concussion in 2019, gauging his ability to be a number one WR by himself is impossible to do with pinpoint accuracy. That said, his jump from 731 receiving yards in 2017, to 872 in 2018, shows some very positive trajectory. It is that trajectory which keeps him on equal terms with other WRs in the Giants roster in terms of selection rate.

Ultimately, the basic metric that shows Shepard’s potential to ‘move up’ to first-class will be whether or not he breaks through the 900 receiving yards barrier in 2020. Luck permitting, it is a goal that he can obtain easily, with the more optimistic Giants fans even hoping for 1,000 yards, assuming that he has worked his way back up to match sharpness.

The NY Giants are currently the second-longest outsiders to win the NFC East division in 2020.

 

Sophomore Slayton: One to watch in 2020

Darius Slayton has ample time on his side to become individually strong, and his rookie campaign of 2019 gave plenty of reason for optimism in that regard. 740 receiving yards and eight touchdowns is firmly on par with the expectation that preceded the previous campaign. The Giants’ decision to ignore key WRs in the draft is a clear statement of faith in Slayton, and it was a decision additionally aided by Slayton’s chemistry with QB Daniel Jones last year.

By all accounts, Jones and Slayton have a work ethic that is unrivaled off the pitch, and the fact that they were not paired until week three of 2019 makes their blossoming relationship all the more remarkable. Provided that Jones can stay fit, Slayton has an outside chance of becoming a no. 1 WR in his own right in 2020 – and a very good chance of becoming such a receiver by the end of 2021.

To speed up this process of becoming a WR unanimously seen as first-choice, Slayton must diversify his skill set, in addition to maintaining his impressive numbers in the deep-lying areas of the pitch – and, of course, avoid the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’. With an average of 12.9 yards after receiving in 2019, he is rightly seen as a man worthy of much more than fifth round in a draft.

What are the chances of NY Giants making the playoffs?

As of August 2020, they appear extremely slim, with their best NFC East futures price averaging +900, despite their willingness to look beyond the NFL for new talent. Sadly, for the Giants, most other projections are far more pessimistic, with the division win seemingly between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles.

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