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After the long offseason wait, Big Blue finally returned to the big green on Friday for their first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. It was a disappointing 27-10 loss for the Giants with the only touchdown coming from running back Rashad Jennings early in the first quarter. Head coach Ben McAdoo elected not to play starting quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at all, and WR Victor Cruz was sidelined with an injury to his groin. The Giants started strong, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. However, they soon lost first and second round picks Eli Apple and Sterling Shepard to minor injuries, and were unable to get back on the board as the Dolphins ran the score up.

Quarterback

There wasn’t much to see at the quarterback position, as coach McAdoo benched Eli Manning saying that he already knew what the starter could do. Instead, backup quarterback Ryan Nassib took the field, with third-string QB Logan Thomas coming in for a few snaps. The main reason Nassib’s start is notable is due to the fact that he is in a contract year with the Giants, and the preseason is the time when he needs to be proving himself if he wants to get resigned by the Giants or anyone else. In that regard Nassib failed miserably, completing just seven of 15 attempts for 75 yards while scoring no touchdowns and throwing two interceptions. Overall Nassib finished with an abysmal 22.2 rating.

Running Back

The Giants had one of the more confusing backfields coming into the preseason, after a 2015 campaign that featured at least four different backs vying for the top job. In addition, the Giants selected Paul Perkins with their second round pick this year, further clouding the situation. Sadly the first preseason game did not clear this up, and there is a good chance it remains a committee.

There had been indications from the Giants camp that Rashad Jennings would take the lead role, and that seemed to be the case when Jennings punched in their only touchdown on the first drive of the game. However, Rashad only had two other touches during the rest of the game, both coming before the TD. In total, he had just 11 yards on those three carries.

While Jennings had the only touchdown it was Andre Williams leading backs in rushing yards with 41 on nine carries. Next up was the rookie Paul Perkins who had 36 yards on seven carries for a solid 5.1 ypc. A handoff to Perkins in the fourth quarter was botched leading to a fumble, but it was credited to Nassib. Shane Vereen had a promising 19-yard carry on the opening drive but that proved to be the only one he got the entire game.

At least for now it appears that Jennings will be the lead back in New York, and the player with the best chance of keeping that title through the season. At his current ADP, I believe that he is a very good value, even with the committee concerns. Just don’t be surprised if he ends up splitting more carries than you’d like.

Receiving

The Giants were underwhelming through the air, thanks in part to the poor performance of Nassib. On the opening drive of the game rookie, Sterling Shepard caught an incredible diving catch good for 24 yards. Sadly it would be his only reception of the game as he left the game shortly before halftime with an apparent groin injury. Despite only having the one reception Shepard finished the game with the most yards among any Giant. Second in yards was Geremy Davis, who had 21 total off of two receptions. Other than that no receiver other than Davis got multiple receptions. There was not much to learn in terms of fantasy considering that Odell did not play and we didn’t get a chance to see Victor Cruz either.

Defense

The Giants defense looked good through the first quarter but began to crumble in the second, giving up 17 points before the half. Despite the disappointing finish, a number of players showed promise, including fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson who led the team in tackles with eight, seven of them solo. Although rookie cornerback Eli Apple exited the game just before Shepard with a tweaked knee he played well previous to that, recovering a fumble and getting two tackles. Other notable performers included Mark Herzlich who had six solo tackles and Owa Odighizuwa who had two sacks in addition to three solo tackles. It’s going to be hard to truly tell if this defense will have any worth in fantasy until the regular season starts, but at this point, I believe they should at least give streamers a few good weeks.

Kicker

Not much to say here at all. Josh Brown put both of his attempts, an extra point, and a 20-yd field goal, through the uprights. After the first quarter, however, the kicker did not get any more opportunities as the Giants offense could not manage to get down the field to put him in range. While Brown only had the two kicks I still think he is being underestimated in terms of his ADP. I would feel comfortable picking him up in the last round of my draft or off the waiver, and rolling him out week 1.

Conclusion

Overall it was a tough preseason loss for the G-Men, who never seemed to recover after losing Apple and Shepard. It was disappointing for fantasy owners as well, many of whom were eager to see what the WR could do. Even though he had just one catch I can’t help but be impressed with the rookie, who is sure to put up better stats in the next three games and climb up draft boards. Paul Perkins also showed promise on the seven touches he got and looks to have a good shot at carving out a role for himself in the Giants backfield.

The New York Giants will play their second game of the preseason this Saturday at Buffalo, starting at 4pm EST.

I’m a sportswriter from Upstate New York living in San Francisco. I love all sports but I’m especially passionate about football and basketball and an absolute fanatic for the Giants and Knicks. When I’m not watching sports I can be found spending way too much time playing the fantasy versions of them. Follow me on twitter: @holtoncaulfield

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