New York Giants
The Giants created the year's defining sports moment by knocking off the previously undefeated Patriots in February. While an encore seems unlikely, New York again should be in the thick of things in the NFC East. They lost three notable defensive players, but none of that should matter much to fantasy teams. Eli Manning is still throwing to Plaxico Burress, and Brandon Jacobs is still hammering in touchdowns from the one-yard line.
2007 stats: 3,336 passing yards, 23 TD, 20 INT
Notable backup: David Carr
Most peoples lasting image of someone is the last thing they saw. Going by that logic, Manning, who cut up New England in the Super Bowl, should be an elite fantasy quarterback. But taking a closer look at his 2007 stats, Manning was nothing more than a third tier fantasy starter. It's true that postseason success can fuel a big next season- look no further than the 2006 of White Sox third baseman Joe Crede. Still, Manning is a high risk, high reward option on draft day. He could turn into a legit number one fantasy quarterback, or he can toil in mediocrity like he did last season.
2007 stats: 1,009 rushing yards, 174 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns
Notable backup: Derrick Ward
At 6-4, 265, Jacobs has developed into the NFL's premier power back since the retirement of Jerome Bettis. Power backs are good in fantasy for one reason: they get lots of goal line touches. Those touches lead to touchdowns, which is what fantasy football is all about. Jacobs was a bit of an exception last year, however. He only scored four times, though that could be because he played in just 11 games. If he can stay healthy this year, Jacobs could develop into a fantasy tank. He'll probably go in the second round in most drafts. Ward, a seventh round rookie last season, will get carries but shouldn't be a fantasy option unless Jacobs goes down again.
2007 stats: 70 recs, 1,025 yards, 12 TD
Burress has been a productive receiver throughout his entire career, but he scored more touchdowns last year than ever before. He's unquestionably Manning's number one target and is a good first option for a fantasy team. He's probably a third or fourth round pick in most drafts, but may be a safer selection than a lot of other players drafted around him.
2007 stats: 59 recs, 760 yards, 3 TD
Notable backup: Steve Smith
Did you know Toomer went over 1,000 yards receiving every year from 1999-2003? To most NFL fans, Toomer probably seems like a prototypical number two NFL receiver, which is certainly what he's become now. Toomer can be counted on for 700ish yards receiving and 3-6 touchdowns, if healthy.
Tight end: Jeremy Shockey
2007 stats: 57 recs, 619 yards, 3 TD
Notable backup: Kevin Boss
Here's the problem with drafting Jeremy Shockey: no one knows what team he'll be on. There has been discussion all offseason that Shockey wanted out of New York after the team won the Super Bowl without him. Rookie Kevin Boss filled in admirably in his absence. Will Shockey be a Giant Week 1? No one is sure, but no matter where he plays, he's one of the ten best tight ends in fantasy football.
2007 stats: 53 sacks, 15 INT, 21.9 points allowed
When you own the Giants defense, you know you're getting sacks. Don't expect that to change much even with the retirement of Michael Strahan. Rookie safety Kenny Phillips will fill in for Gibril Wilson, and could be an immediate upgrade. Miami safeties are known for making big plays, so expect Phillips to snatch some interceptions.