We will stay in the NFC for another week to look at a defense that many fantasy football owners discount but which has the potential to be a top five team defense: the New York Giants. The number one D/ST in fantasy from week 7 onward in 2016 returns nearly totally intact, with the exception of Johnathan Hankins, who left to join the Indianapolis Colts. They also picked up a replacement in the second round of the draft in Dalvin Tomlinson, who will be discussed a bit more below.

The Giants employ a 4-3 scheme on defense, and have a solid pair of run stuffers in the middle of the line in the form of Damon Harrison and the aforementioned rookie Dalvin Tomlinson. Tomlinson is projected to start in Week 1 of the regular season, but also may be just a two down player to begin his NFL career. His partner on the interior of the defensive line, Harrison, is currently suffering from general lower body soreness, but this is not considered serious yet, and he had the same problem in 2016, yet managed to play all 16 games of the regular season. At the ends, the Giants have a dependable pair of DEs in Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. These two racked up 15 sacks last season, and those were collected with Pierre-Paul missing four games. The team does not employ a great deal of substitution on the line, so the back up DLs do not figure to be fantasy relevant unless injury sends one of the starters to the sidelines.

Linebacker is the weak link in the Giant defensive set-up with the starters being considered generally mediocre players. Fortunately, the dominant front line aids in keeping their weaknesses to a minimum. It was puzzling that the team did not seek to improve their linebacking depth either through the draft or via free agency. Instead, they will rely on middle linebacker B.J. Goodson, strong side LB Davon Kennard and WLB Jonathan Casillas, with a couple of reserves that will step in to provide depth. Goodson is a second year player that the Giants believe in, as backup Keenan Robinson does not stack up as either a run stopper or pass defender of note. This will be the battle to watch at training camp and pre-season to determine who will be the starting middle linebacker to open the season. At the weak side, Casillas is just a two down player, and lacks the skills to rack up significant tackles. Kennard flashes pass rush ability, but has also been injury prone in the past, and the team will likely again limit his snaps to keep him available for the bulk of the season.

Whereas linebacker is a weakness on defense, the Giants are strong in the defensive backfield. Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple will again take their positions on the outside of the backfield, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie filling the slot CB position. Jenkins allowed just three TDs in 2016, as part of his shutdown corner play. Rodgers-Cromartie had 21 passes defensed (PD) credited to him, along with three interceptions and 49 total tackles (41 solo). Apple was an inconsistent defensive player in his rookie year, but the team believes that he is ready to take strides forward in his second year in the league. He did suffer another hamstring injury this past June, after having been sidelined by a similar injury during his rookie season, so there is some risk in relying on Apple as one of your DBs in an IDP league. Landon Collins is scheduled to start at free safety, with Darian Thompson slated to open as the starting strong safety. Thompson was the starter in 2016 before going down with a foot injury, that led to team turning to Andrew Adams who played well but is also seen as the first safety the Giants will turn to off the bench as need arises. Antwon Blake was signed as a backup corner this past off-season, but he is terrible in coverage and will only be used as a desperation option. The balance of the reserves are not fantasy relevant.

The Giants are a useful team defense that will not be likely to go among the top defenses in your drafts. If you can get past the second-rate linebacking crew the Giants send out on game day, then you can grab them late in drafts and receive better than middling fantasy production. The DLs and DBs are worth considering as IDP players for those of you who play is those types of league, especially the DEs Vernon and Pierre-Paul for the sack production. Any of the starting DBs  should be considered as a draftable IDP, but especially Collins, Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins.

As ever, good luck and Godspeed in your fantasy efforts. Make sure to read all of our great articles to help you win your fantasy match ups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, send your inquires to ia@fantasyalarm.com.