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Golden Tate Takes New York - Fantasy Impact

After the Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, we were all thinking one thing. What in the wide wide world of sports is going on around here? We still have no idea but to be truthful, neither does Dave Gettleman.

What we do know is the Giants replaced their elite 26-year-old receiver who is just now coming into his prime with a declining 31-year old Golden Tate. A player who after being traded mid-season to the Eagles in 2018 really did nothing to write home about.

It is now going to fall to players like Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley to pick up even more of the slack while playing with Eli Manning, who will be yet another season removed from any form of good play. Can Tate possibly return value for fantasy football owners in 2019 under these circumstances?

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Still Golden?

In eight games after the trade from Detroit, Golden Tate amassed 30 receptions for 278 yards and only one touchdown. For a team who was lacking a running game with the injuries to Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles as well as receiver Mike Wallace being lost for the season, 3.8 catches and 34.8 yards per game is not what they expected. His 9.3 yards per catch with Philadelphia is a full 2.5 yards less than his career average of 11.8. This may be a sign of a learning curve within the offense but at 30 years of age, it could just as easily be a late-career slowdown.

In four full seasons in Detroit, Golden Tate never had less than 90 receptions, including 2017 when, despite missing time and only starting 12 games, he had 92 catches. This is the type of production the Giants will need if they want to do anything this season other than finish last in the NFC East.

Reception-wise, Tate could be in the same neighborhood as Odell Beckham, but the issue comes after the catch. While Beckham has the ability to take any slant route to the house, Tate does not have the explosive speed anymore and will not provide the touchdown threat of an elite player. Although he did finish 24th in YAC among all players with 433 last year, this was a far cry from 2017 when he finished fifth with 613. This will leave it to players like Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram and also Saquon Barkley to step it up.


The Supporting Cast

After a monster rookie season, it will be difficult for Barkley to do more than he has already has for the team. In 2018, he compiled 1,307 rush yards and 11 touchdowns on 261 carries combined with 91 receptions and 721 yards with four touchdowns through the air making him a consensus top-three pick in all fantasy drafts this season. While this could be replicated this season and the touchdown number could increase, he still needs help from the others on the offense.

During the 2017 season in which Odell Beckham missed the year due to a leg injury, it fell to rookie Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard to fill in. While the team had a down year, allowing them to draft Saquon Barkley the following season, it was a productive fantasy year for both Engram and Shepard.

Evan Engram was targeted 115 times in 2017 and while these came from Eli Manning and it only led to 64 receptions and 722 yards, he did also have six touchdowns and with another season under his belt this year, he could be much better. Only playing in 11 games and starting eight in 2018, Engram was more involved in the offense with 45 receptions on 64 targets which in itself shows the improvement in his hands from his rookie to his sophomore season. This will need to keep improving in his third year if he is going to take his place in the top five tight ends in the NFL. A spot which is opened up with the demise of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Jordan Reed.

In the case of Sterling Shepard, he will have to move outside with Golden Tate being a clear slot receiver in this offense. While this could open up an opportunity for Shepard to get more yards and touchdowns, it may not mean an increase in receptions. In 2017, again when Odell Beckham was missing from the offense, Shepard was the defacto number one receiver on the team. This year, Tate and Barkley will be the top two receivers making Shepard the third or possibly fourth option in the receiving game. This means that while he could have some big games, it is going to be hard to predict and although he may finish in the wide receiver three or four range, he is one of the players in this area to avoid. This move makes him more of a target for people still playing in standard leagues and keeps him relatively similar in value in PPR leagues as a flex or WR4.

If Shepard finished with 70 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns this would not surprise me. But these are the same numbers you will get out of others who will be drafted in a similar draft slot. Players like Adam Humphries, Tyler Lockett or even Devin Funchess will be there at the same area of the draft and will provide not only a higher ceiling, but far more weekly consistency.

It is obvious that losing Odell Beckham makes any team worse. Trying to replace his talent is impossible with one player, and the Giants are going to have to do it with three or four. When it comes to fantasy outcomes, this can only help Saquon Barkley as he is clearly the number one target on the team and perhaps all of the NFL. But for others, it may not provide as much of a leap. Engram should still be considered a top-10 tight end play, but this does not jump him into the top three where some might put him.

Sterling Shepard loses value as he will be the odd man out as the outside receiver with a quarterback who can no longer throw an outside ball. And Finally, the incoming Golden Tate. He should take over the number one role, but this does not mean he is a number one receiver. He should solidly finish in the top 18 in PPR leagues and this could lead him to be a good draft value at the right spot. But where is this spot to draft him and at what price do you avoid him? Well if you can get him in the fifth or sixth round, he is a solid buy. If you have to spend higher than this, pass and find someone else. Maybe Odell Beckham’s new teammate Jarvis Landry.

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