2019 Fantasy Football: Players to avoid in the NFC East

There are plenty of fantasy football articles advising you who to draft and when. However, what about the players to stay away from? In the second part of the Players to Avoid series, I tackle the NFC East.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

The Case

The two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is still capable of making some throws when it’s asked of him, but it’s evident that the New York Giants require a change. His best days are behind him, and his biggest weakness is his inability to extend plays when needed. That flaw becomes more apparent with the Giants’ shortcomings in providing adequate pass protection over the last few seasons.

Manning was sacked a career-high 47 times during the 2018 regular season. He was sacked a combined 52 times in the two seasons before 2018.  The offensive line woes have been a significant factor in the Giants going 8-24 over the last two seasons.

The 38-year-old Manning is entering the final year of his contract and put up some decent stats last season. Eli Manning had the highest completion percentage (66 percent) of his career in 2018. He threw for more than 4,000 yards for the seventh time in his career. Manning also threw the second-lowest number of interceptions in his career (11) but has thrown over ten interceptions every season in his 13-year career. He only had 21 touchdown passes, which ranked 17th in the NFL. He has combined for just 40 touchdowns passes in 31 games during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The regression of Manning is best showcased by his inefficiency in throwing the deep ball and his increased immobility, leading to “happy feet” in the pocket. The Giants are in the process of rebuilding and looking to shape their offense around all-world running back Saquon Barkley. Additionally, they have shocking first-round pick quarterback Daniel Jones waiting in the wings to start. Manning’s tank is running empty and his time in New York is coming to an end.

His accuracy has been an issue throughout his career. Luckily, he had Odell Beckham to bail him out on more than a few occasions. His stats look a lot different without Beckham in the lineup.  According to Bill Barnwell, Manning’ stats take a nosedive without Beckham. His quarterback rating with Beckham is 91.5 while it plunges to 75.0 without the star receiver. Manning also throws four times less the amount of touchdowns without Beckham on the field.

The Verdict

Replacing Odell Beckham with Golden Tate is a weak one-for-one trade. Manning will suffer tremendously without Beckham on the field.

The Giants improved their offensive line, but their tackle situation should leave Manning focused on the outside edges of the line trying to escape the revolving doors of pass-rushers.

Most importantly, the New York Giants are not a good team playing in a strong NFC East division. They will struggle to win games this season. How soon do the Giants pull the plug on Eli Manning? The Giants have benched Eli in the past. Manning is in the last year of his contract, and if the team starts to lose a ton of games, it will make sense for the Giants to throw the rookie Jones on the field.

Eli will get snagged up in 2019 fantasy football drafts based upon his name recognition. However, without Odell Beckham, offensive line issues, and an offense deservedly centered Saquon Barkley, Manning should be left undrafted. At best, he is a low-end QB2, but why not draft a player with upside potential instead.

Dennis Sosic is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering the Cleveland Browns and Fantasy Football. He is also the co-host of the AFC North and Goal podcast on PFN. You can follow him @CALL_ME_SOS on Twitter.

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