2022 Futures

Team Futures

NY Giants: Over 7 wins +110 (2 units betonline), +250 to make the playoffs (0.5 units Draftkings), 10/1 to win the division (0.2 units Draftkings)

  • 2021 Wasn’t as Bad as it Looks Last year with Daniel Jones in the lineup for more than half a game, the Giants went 4-6 with a -27 point differential, in line with Pythagorean expectations. If you pro rate that point differential over the course of a full season (-2.7 per game), the Giants would have been expected to win 6.8 games, essentially the equivalent of the current win total for this season. Looking deeper and the Giants had to face a murderers row of opponents in those games with Jones at QB- at KC, at Tampa, at New Orleans, vs the Eagles, Rams and Raiders. That is five playoff teams and a 6th in the Saints who lost out of the playoffs in a tie breaker. Even the Broncos game they lost at home, Denver was at full strength when the team was playing well early. All in all, the Giants played the 2nd toughest schedule in the NFL last season, according to DVOA. The offense averaged 18.3 ppg with Jones as the starter but a meager 9.3 ppg without him with the awful Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm backing him up. In fact, they only scored more than 10 points in a game once without Jones and that was the 21 they scored against the Chargers after trailing 37-7 late into the 4th quarter.

  • Potential Positive Injury Regression The injuries were just brutal for this Giants last season. They ranked 27th in adjusted games lost overall, 30th on offense. The starting WR corps of Golladay, Toney, Slayton and Shepherd missed 24 total games last year. There were times that the Giants had to roll out a WR unit including career backups and practice squad players such as Collin Johnson, Dante Pettis, C.J. Board, and David Sills. Add in the loss of Saquon Barkley and starting LT Andrew Thomas for another four games and it’s no wonder this offense was a mess last year. Jones only started three games all season where two of Shepherd, Golladay and Toney played more than 60% of offensive snaps. Those occurred in weeks 1, 2 and 4. In those 141 dropbacks by Jones, he produced a solid 0.234 EPA per dropback, which is equivalent to the 2nd best QB in the NFL for a full season.

  • Reinforcements Along the OL Always a big concern with the Giants is along the OL but they have certainly done some things this offseason to warrant optimism. Hopefully they can get stud LT Andrew Thomas to continue to show why he was a top 10 pick two seasons ago. He went from a bottom 25 graded Tackle by PFF in his rookie season to a top 20 last season. They added a solid, reliable veteran Guard in Mark Glowinski from the Colts in free agency. Glowinski has been graded as a top 25 Guard by PFF in three of his last four seasons and only missed a combined 5 games over those four seasons. Finally, they added another top 10 pick at RT in Evan Neal from Alabama. You never know how a rookie steps in at OL but at least he will be starting at his natural RT position. If Neal can play well as a rookie and you add him to guys like Thomas and Glowinski, the Giants can suddenly morph into a “good” blocking unit.

  • Complete Flip in Strength of Schedule Their expected strength of schedule for the Giants goes from the 2nd toughest to the 2nd easiest this season. They also get to play nine true home games and one of their eight road games is a neutral site game against the Packers overseas. So they are spared having to face their toughest road opponent in Lambeau. Starting mid November, they get to face three dome teams- Houston, Detroit and Indianapolis at home in potentially cold and/or snowy weather. The track record in cold, outdoor conditions for Jared Goff and Matt Ryan, especially are not good and a big advantage for the Giants. Based on my team ratings and win probabilty on a game to game basis, I have the Giants calculated to win 7.9 games on the season. I currently only have one game (at Dallas on Thanksgiving) where the Giants are projected to be 7 or more point underdogs all season. Otherwise, based on my ratings, they are expected to play seven coin flip games (3 points or less) which leaves a lot of potential upside with the win total if the Giants are better than expected.

TA’s Projected Game by Game Point Spread for the Giants

  • Coaching Upgrade You upgrade in coaching from Joe Judge and Jason Garrett to Brian Daboll on offense, which at minimum gives your team a fighting chance. Obviously Daboll is an unknown as a head coach in the NFL so there is a chance that he is not a good head coach as well but at minimum he won’t be any worse than the Judge/Garrett combo. And the upside is he brings the wide open, spread offense from Buffalo to the Giants and unlocks Jones’ rushing capabilities and is able to get guys like Shephard, Barkley, Wandale Robinson and Toney in advantageous situations

Between positive injury regression, better coaching and a dramatic positive shift in their expected strength of schedule, there is no reason this team couldn’t compete for the division and win 9-10 games.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

It is important to analyze where Offensive Rookie of the Year winners have come from historically in order to get a better baseline as to where we should be fishing for a contender this season. In the last 25 years, 36% of offensive rookie of the year winners have been QBs, 44% RBs, and 20% WRs. Since 2010, QBs have won this award at a much larger rate, at 50%, with RBs 36% and only 2 WRs (Odell Beckham Jr. and J’amar Chase) winning this award.

Interestingly, outside of Dak Prescott in 2016, every ROTY at QB has been a top-11 draft pick. At RB, many of the winners have come from outside of Round 1 so if we are looking for a longer shot outside of an early draft pick, RB is the route you could go. Since 1995, five of the 13 RBs who have won ROTY, were drafted outside of Round 1. And no need to really dig too deep for an RB as only Mike Anderson has been drafted outside of the top three rounds and won the OROTY.

The case for a WR winning this award is gaining more steam as we have seen the star WRs in the NFL starting to get paid and becoming more of a central point. Obviously, Chase won the award last year after his brilliant season but even two years ago Justin Jefferson finished 2nd and the year before that A.J. Brown finished 3rd. So there is justification in rookie WRs competing for this award.

With the passing game on the rise in the NFL of late with the increase in emphasis on analytics, QBs clearly are always going to have an advantage with this award. However, with Kenny Picket as the lone QB to be drafted in the top 2 rounds, this award should be wide open this year. This was the first year, since 2013, and the 2nd time since 1997, that a QB did not get drafted in the top 15 of round 1. Probably not a coincidence, but in those two seasons, a non QB (Eddie Lacy in 2013 and Warrick Dunn in 1997) won this award. Only 1 QB (Jake Plummer in 1997) even finished in the top 5 of voting in either season. With QB odds this year still tilting at the top toward multiple QBs (Pickett, Ridder, Willis and Corral) I don’t think any of those guys are priced in a way that is indicative of their opportunity and talent. It is just so rare for a non round 1 QB to step in, win a job and perform at a high level immediately. There is a reason that Dak is the only QB to win this award outside the top 11 in the history of this award.

With all of that being said, below are the current odds at Draftkings:

Jalen Tolbert- Dallas Cowboys

I am taking a shot at Jalen Tolbert at 40-1 (0.1 units). To me he is really the only long shot (>25-1) who is worth the value here. He is going to a Dallas offense that has finished as a top 6 DVOA pass offense in the last two full seasons with Dak under center and was 11th in pass rate last season. He will also get plenty of opportunities with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson off the roster and Michael Gallup recovering from a torn ACL. Gallup tore his acl in January and even with a 9 month standard recovery, he may or may not get a full workload until possibly October. That’s 165 targets between Cooper and Wilson that definitely need to be accounted for and with James Washington as the only other real WR addition for Dallas, Tolbert has a shot to step right into that #2 WR role. Obviously things can change from season to season but as of today, the Cowboys are slated to face one of the five easiest pass schedules in the NFL. In fact, they are set to face seven bottom 10 DVOA pass defenses from last season. It’s hard to pinpoint any pass defense that they are facing who made drastic upgrades in their secondaries. In any case, this should not be a really tough set of pass defenses.

Tolbert comes into this season as a 23 year old “veteran” in college, after playing 40 games in his college career. He has good speed (4.49 40) and gets off the blocks very quickly (1.49 10 yard split). His 8.6 relative athletic score and 16 deep ball catches (3rd most in the NCAA last year) give me hope that he has big play ability. He was 10th in this WR class in yac per reception at over 7 per catch. That falls in the top half of the leading WRs in the NFL who have college stats available in their final seasons.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Finding a defensive rookie of the year is much harder to do than offensive. Looking at the historical trends, since 1995, 35% of defensive rookie of the year winners have come from edge rushers, 12% from DT, 41% LB and 12% CB. Since 2010, the dispersion has been much more equitable between defensive positions. Interestingly, every edge rusher since 1995 to win the award has come from the top 16 of Round 1.

Digging even further, 23 of the 26 DROTY winners came from Round 1 and the only three players to win the award outside of Round 1 were LBs. I only went back 26 years but there has not been a DROTY that came outside of the top two rounds. Three of the last six winners were edge rushers from Ohio State, ironically, but there is a clear advantage to gaining sacks as a way to win this award.

To take a CB, you somehow would have to properly predict interceptions. The last two winners, Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Peters, had five and 8 interceptions, respectively, in their rookie seasons. Both had at least one pick returned for touchdown. So really what the filter comes down to is a first-round defensive player at edge rusher and defensive tackle as well as a linebacker in the first two rounds. The list from these filters is below along with current odds from DraftKings:

Troy Andersen- Atlanta Falcons

For my long shot selection this year I am going with a 2nd round LB, in Troy Andersen from the Falcons at 100-1 (0.1 units DK). Andersen smoked the combine and posted an elite relative athletic score (RAS) of 9.98. He ran a 4.42 40 at 6’3 234 lbs. Andersen is a converted offensive player who only played one year at LB and produced a ridiculous 67 stops according to PFF. He was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year as inside linebacker this past year. I liked this selection even before the news that starting LB Deion Jones would miss the 2022 off season which could bleed into the regular season. Playing for potentially the worst team in the NFC, what do teams do a ton of when blowing out bad opponents? Yes they run the ball a lot leading to lots of tackles that a guy like Andersen can rack up. He will have to add some playmaking to those tackles in order to win this award but with his athletic ability, there is no question return TDs on a fumble or INT is possible.