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Fact or Fiction: Way-too-early stat predictions for 2023


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Darren Waller will hit the trifecta of leading the Giants in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown catches.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Darren Waller is the Giants number one receiver. It doesn't matter that he plays tight end. I would be surprised if he ever left the field when completely healthy. I think the Giants wide receiver corps will be done by committee, which could perhaps limit his competition even more.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – I think what Daniel Jones and Isaiah Hodgins were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time last season makes at least one of these categories up for grabs. Hodgins scored a touchdown in five of his final seven games last season, including the Wild Card win in Minnesota. Pencil him in as the touchdown leader. Don't use pen, though.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Darren Waller accomplished this feat in 2020 when he was with the Raiders after nearly pulling off the trifecta in 2019. While I think he has a strong chance to lead the team in receptions, I'm not so sure he's a lock for the other two categories. Daniel Jones had a spread-the-wealth mentality when it came to finding targets in the end zone last season, and I don't think that will change even with Waller in the mix as Isaiah Hodgins and Collin Johnson also provide tall targets in the red zone. As far as receiving yards go, with several speedsters on the team, it's not a stretch to say Waller will have some competition in that department even if he's consistently one of the top leaders in that category.

Matt Citak: Fact – During his 2019 season with the Raiders, Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns across 16 games. He followed that up with an even better 2020 campaign, finishing with 107 receptions for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. The chemistry between Waller and Daniel Jones has already been put on full display during the first two weeks of OTA practices. If the 6-foot-6 tight end can stay healthy, he has a good opportunity to return to his Pro Bowl form we last saw just a few years ago.

Daniel Jones will have at least 100 rushing attempts for the second consecutive season.

John Schmeelk: Fact - I feel confident in saying that Jones will have fewer than the 120 he had last season. Here's the problem: a 17% reduction from last season is a lot to ask, which is what will need to happen to get below 100. This becomes tricky if Jones has to miss significant time with an injury. He was healthy all season and played 16 games. He missed the final game of the year since the Giants had already clinched their playoff position. If he plays 17 this year, the number will easily crest 100. Jones converted so many important third downs last year on scrambles and I don't expect that to change this season.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Daniel Jones is the only Giants quarterback since World War II to run at least 65 times in a season. He may have gotten a lot of shiny new toys in addition to a lucrative contract, but Jones sets himself apart with his legs. I don't envision Brian Daboll or Mike Kafka forgetting that.

Lance Medow: Fact – Regardless of the injury risk, Daniel Jones' mobility is an asset, which proved its worth in 2022. So, I don't see that facet of his game being eliminated. He wound up averaging 7.5 run plays per contest, and that was based on 120 carries over the course of 16 games. Given the bar is only 100, even if his numbers go slightly down this season, that's still a realistic target.

Matt Citak: Fact – It was evident in Brian Daboll's and Mike Kafka's first year together that using the quarterback in the run game was a big part of the offense. Daniel Jones registered 120 rush attempts for 708 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He finished the season as one of the league's most efficient mobile quarterbacks, and there's no reason to believe that will change in 2023.

See all the action from OTA practice No. 6 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Rookie Jalin Hyatt will lead the Giants in yards per catch.

John Schmeelk: Fact - I don't know how many catches Hyatt will have and how much he will play, especially early in the season. But I do know that when he does play, the Giants are going to play to his strength: speed. He will run a lot of vertical routes and Jones will connect with him on a few of them. In this case, his lack of other shorter targets will help his yards per catch metric.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – That's a big ask for the rookie. Meanwhile, Darius Slayton ranks eighth in the NFL in yards per catch (15.0) since he was drafted in 2019 (minimum 90 receptions). That's more than Mike Evans, Justin Jefferson, and Ja'Marr Chase, who are right behind him.

Lance Medow: Fact – Last season at Tennessee, Jalin Hyatt averaged just under 19 yards per reception. As a means of comparison, Darius Slayton set the tone for the Giants in 2022 at 15.7. The other strong candidate in this category is Parris Campbell, but despite a breakout campaign with the Colts last season, he only averaged 9.9 yards per catch. Hyatt seems like the best bet and, keep in mind, this has nothing to do with the volume of receptions over the course of the season. That gives Hyatt even more protection, especially if his targets fluctuate a bit.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This one was close, as Jalin Hyatt registered a whopping 18.9 yards per reception at Tennessee last season on his way to taking home the Biletnikoff Award. Hyatt could eventually lead the Giants in yards per catch a little further into his career, but for the 2023 season, I'm going with Darius Slayton. The 26-year-old receiver has averaged 15.0 yards per catch or better in three of his first four seasons, clearly showing a strong rapport with Daniel Jones. Slayton has the speed to take the top off of a defense, and with more weapons in the offense this year, he should have more opportunities to showcase that speed in one-on-one situations.

Parris Campbell will lead the Giants in yards after catch.

John Schmeelk: Fact - I am unreasonably high on Parris Campbell this season. With injuries to other players that could take slot snaps from him, Campbell should get a lot of opportunities to get the ball in his hands. Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka and their staff are creative enough to design plays to get the ball in his hands to make plays. He is built like a running back and should be able to break tackles and make people miss.

Dan Salomone: Fact – You can bet coaches are having fun with scheming up ways to use the veteran addition. After some unlucky injuries, Campbell started to tap into his potential last season. And remember, he has 4.31 speed.

Lance Medow: Fiction – I think Parris Campbell will be in the mix to lead the team in this department but a more intriguing option is Wan'Dale Robinson. He's a very shifty player and we only had a small sample size of what he can do in six appearances as a rookie. If the Giants can consistently get him in open space, Robinson can do a lot of damage, so that's the player that seems to be the most appealing when it comes to production after the catch.

Matt Citak: Fiction – I'm going to go with veteran Jamison Crowder as the Giants' leader in yards after the catch this season. Crowder was limited to just four games in 2022 due to injury, but if he can return to his Jets or Commanders form, he could prove to be a valuable asset for the Giants offense. From 2015-2020, Crowder had 330+ yards after the catch in all but one season (2018 when he only played nine games). If it's not Crowder leading in yards after the catch, then it could easily be Darren Waller. In his two standout seasons in 2019 and 2020, the big tight end finished with 594 yards after the catch each year.

Step into the new draft room as the Giants make their picks for the 2023 class.



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