If the fantasy season was just one week long, Victor Cruz would have been the MVP among receivers. During the first game of the year, Cruz hauled in five passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns, pleasing fantasy owners everywhere.
Unfortunately, there are 15 more weeks to be played.
Cruz went on to catch just one more touchdown pass the rest of the season, and fell just shy of posting 1,000 receiving yards. He almost finished outside of the top-30 among fantasy wide receivers, but it wasn’t all lost. Despite Eli Manning tossing 27 interceptions and the offense sputtering, Cruz still finished inside the top-25 yards (998), targets (121) and receptions (73). He was also just three fantasy points shy of breaking into the top-25, too. The Giants new offensive scheme should do wonders for Cruz’s numbers. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will be implementing a West Coast style of offense, utilizing Cruz in the slot very often, almost like how he used Randall Cobb during his time in Green Bay. Last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Cruz saw 68 targets from out of the slot, posting a drop rate of 2.27, good for second-best among slot receivers. With his great route-running, safe hands and explosiveness, Cruz makes the case as the best slot receiver in the NFL, so he should thrive in this offense.
100 catches is a realistic expectation for Cruz this year. Manning can’t get any worse than he did last year, and the Giants are no longer strictly a ground-and-pound offense. Last year, they threw the football 61.44 percent of the time, the 9th-highest rate in football. In this role, Cruz will be moved all over the field, and because the Giants have the worst tight end corp in the league, there is no one there to take targets away in this offense. His expected volume is going to be very high, especially if the Giants find themselves behind in a lot of games this year. I’m all in on Cruz this year, and at wide receiver 11, perhaps I’m too far in. But the pedigree is there, having finished as the number four fantasy wideout just two seasons ago.
The Salsa Dance shall return in full swing this year.