The New York Giants might have a new WR1 and it’s a total surprise

richie james, new york giants
New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger (82) and wide receiver Richie James (80) celebrate Bellinger's touchdown in the second half. The Giants defeat the Panthers, 19-16, in their home opener at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in East Rutherford. Nfl Ny Giants Vs Carolina Panthers Panthers At Giants

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, the New York Giants were expecting big things from receivers, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney. However, neither have made much of an impact over the first two games of the season, both of which resulted in wins for the Giants.

Head coach Brian Daboll is sending an important message to the team: he doesn’t care how much you’re being paid if you aren’t contributing positively.

Against Tennessee in Week 1, Golladay tallied 22 yards on two targets. He played in 77% of the team’s offensive snaps, but that number decreased exponentially against the Carolina Panthers, seeing far more David Sills in exchange.

Sills finished the game with three receptions for 37 yards, while Golladay didn’t even garner a single target. However, the team’s top receiver up to this point has been an unexpected one, special teams ace Richie James.

Richie James has been the New York Giants’ top target:

Against Tennessee, James recorded five receptions for 59 yards on six targets. He earned 11.8 yards per reception, and he continued his success against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

James finished the win with five receptions for 51 yards on six targets once again. Impressively, he’s begun to situate himself as Daniel Jones’s primary security blanket, whereas Sterling Shepard has found himself downfield and providing value as a deep threat.

Considering Golladay, who is earning $16 million per season, and Toney, who is having trouble staying healthy, are failing to make a positive impact, the Giants have had to rely on others to pick up the slack.

By most accounts, the receiving core isn’t that impressive in nature, but they are getting exponential value out of guys like James, who’s quickly carving out a significant role.