When consulting the waiver wire, it can be easy to get overly excited when you see an unrecognizable player score three times their projected points and believe you have found a diamond in the rough. While there is never a way to be 100% certain that a player you acquire will continue to excel or falter, you can get some insight into a players fantasy future by discovering how they fit in their respective teams offensive styles.
Team: New York Giants
Position: Running Back
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams (Yahoo Fantasy): 18%
Fantasy Points Through Week 1 (Half PPR): Projected: 8.42 Actual: 9.60
For running back Shane Vereen, his fantasy value will be mainly predicated on how bad the Giants offensive line will be going forward. Sounds crazy right? Actually, a closer look at the Giants other offensive playmakers clearly displays the devastating results of having poor offensive line help. Wide Receivers Brandon Marshall (1.50 points) and Sterling Shepard (8.50) scored just enough combined points to beat running back Vereen (9.60) by the end of the night. While there is every possibility that this is an anomaly, when these numbers are put in their proper perspective, it points to a glaring issue with the Giants pass protection that will force quarterback Eli Manning to check down to a open running back more often.
Compared to his running back counterparts, Vereen blows away the competition in terms of points scored. Going down the depth chart it becomes clear that the likes of Paul Perkins (3.50 points), Orleans Darkwa (1.80 points) and Wayne Gallman (0 points) lack both the experience and skill sets to be as reliable as Vereen. Since 2011, Vereen has averaged 4.3 yards per rush attempt and 8.9 yards per reception, a well-balanced approach that has allowed him to have a nice albeit under the radar NFL career.
Of course, Vereen can expect to see some regression in target shares, mainly because of the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. While there is certainly some truth to this, the comparison seems more like apples to oranges and is not as tightly correlated as some may believe. Although Vereen’s receiving shares will decrease, his rushing opportunities will most likely increase (considering the lack of competition on the running back depth chart) and Vereen functions completely differently than Beckham as a receiver. If anything, the targets for Shepard and Marshall will be much more affected than Vereen’s. As long as the Giants continue to struggle with their offensive line, Manning will consistently need the presence of a reliable check down target. If you confidently drafted Darren McFadden (like I did) and are in need of a solid replacement, Vereen should fit the bill given his versatility and his usefulness in alleviating pressure off of Manning.