TNF Fantasy Preview: New York Giants vs New England Patriots

Mike Fanelli | October 10th, 2019 

For the second week in a row, the Thursday night matchup was an entertaining game. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Los Angeles Rams 30-29 as Greg Zuerlein missed a game-winning 44-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the game. The game was full of fantasy points for both teams and hopefully, we get another fantasy stuffed game tonight between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. However, I think this game will be boring and lack a lot of big-time fantasy scorers.

Last week, I did a solid job in the matchup between the Seahawks and Rams. Cooper Kupp was my must start of the game (no duh) and he finished with 26.7 fantasy points, the WR9 for the week in PPR scoring. Tyler Lockett (14.3), Robert Woods (9.8), and Brandin Cooks (6.6) all scored under their season averages, though Cooks left the game with a concussion and Lockett only scored 3.4 less than his season average entering the game. Marcus Peters‘ mistake in coverage gave D.K. Metcalf a wide-open 40-yard touchdown that counted for 11 of his 12.4 fantasy points. Both Todd Gurley (17.5) and Chris Carson (19.3) finished as top-12 running backs, while Rashaad Penny‘s 6.9 fantasy points landed him with the RB44 finish last week.

While I was completely right about Russell Wilson as he finished as the QB3 last week with 29.9 fantasy points, Jared Goff did better than I expected as he scored 17.9 fantasy points and finished as the QB12. Hopefully, you stayed away from both D/STs in last week’s game as they both finished in the bottom five and scored negative fantasy points. In the end, I had a good week with my projections for last week, how will I do this week? Probably awful but let’s find out.

However, before I do, many people expressed how they wanted a more in-depth article going forward, so starting this week I will break down every position (except kickers) for both teams and give my thoughts on who I would play and who I would sit.

New York Giants

Quarterback – Daniel Jones

The legend of Danny Dimes isn’t dead but it’s certainly on hold. After scoring 34.2 fantasy points against the Buccaneers in week three, Jones has scored a total of 22.8 fantasy points in the two weeks since. He has a total of just 71 more passing yards over the last two weeks than he did verse the Buccaneers. He has two touchdowns and three interceptions over the last two weeks and it only gets worse this week.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have the top-rated defense in several categories. They have given up just two touchdowns this season and are holding opposing quarterbacks to just 5.5 fantasy points per game. To make things even worse, Jones will be without his three best weapons. Given everything, there is no reason why Jones should be in any kind of fantasy lineup tonight.

Running Back – Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jon Hilliman, Elijhaa Penny

The fact that Barkley had a shot to play in this game proves he isn’t human. Originally the reports said he would miss 6-8 weeks, with the likelihood being closer to eight weeks. However, he isn’t even three full weeks removed from the injury. He won’t play tonight but there is a real good chance he is back for week seven against the Cardinals.

In his first start replacing Barkley, Gallman did fantasy owners proud, scoring 27.8 fantasy points verse the Redskins. While it is the Redskins and they are challenging the Dolphins for the biggest dumpster fire in the league right now, Gallman had 24 touches for 118 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. However, he suffered a concussion early in the Giants’ week five game verse the Vikings and with the short week, he won’t play tonight. Even if he could play, his volume would make him a low-end flex option in PPR but given the matchup, I would have tried to leave him on the bench.

So, with the top two running backs out for the Giants, Hilliman and Penny will handle all the touches tonight. In the game verse the Vikings, Hilliman had 44 snaps compared to 25 for Penny. Even if the matchup was good, I can’t see any reason why starting one of these two running backs would make sense. Given it’s the Patriots, in Foxborough, and on a short week, don’t get cute and leave both of these guys on the waiver wire. If you had to play one, I would go with Hilliman because he out-snapped and out-touched Penny last week.

Wide Receiver – Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Cody Latimer

After suffering his second concussion this season, Shepard has been ruled out for tonight’s game. With Shepard out of the lineup, Tate, Slayton, and Latimer should be the starting wide receivers for the Giants but I would stay away from all three if possible. The Patriots have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, giving up 8.4 fewer fantasy points than the league average. Furthermore, the Patriots have held opposing wide receivers to under the league average in four straight games and haven’t given up a receiving touchdown to wide receivers this season.

If you have to start a Giants wide receiver this week, Tate is the best option. He should avoid Stephon Gilmore in the slot but he is a low-end WR3/flex option for me this week, even in PPR. While I wouldn’t even consider playing Slayton in season-long lineups, he is an interesting option in DFS. Last week, the only points the Redskins scored was on a 65-yard run by wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. while Slayton had a 35-yard touchdown verse the Vikings, scoring the team’s only touchdown of the game. All it takes is one blown coverage or misstep by a defensive back and Slayton could be in the end zone. If you are going to take a shot on a Giant player in DFS tonight, make it Slayton.

Tight End – Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison

The theme of this team continues. Engram suffered a knee injury verse the Vikings and won’t play tonight. The Patriots are the toughest team against tight ends, giving up an average of just 5.4 fantasy points per game. They have held opposing tight ends to less than four catches, less than 60 yards and no touchdowns this season. Ellison isn’t someone I would want to start and there should be plenty of better options on the waiver wire. However, with so many injuries, Jones could target Ellison a fair amount as a tight end is a rookie quarterback’s best friend.

Defense/Special Teams

In five games this season, the Giants D/ST has scored more than two fantasy points just once and that was against the pathetic Redskins offense. Despite scoring 24 fantasy points verse the Redskins (in large part due to three interceptions by Dwayne Haskins), the Giants D/ST has scored a total of 19 fantasy points this year. Meanwhile, the Patriots are one of the worse teams to play a D/ST against. In five games, opposing D/STs have scored more than five fantasy points just once and that was the Jets who got an easy touchdown thanks to a horrible interception by Jarrett Stidham. There is no reason to play the Giants D/ST this week.

New England Patriots

Quarterback – Tom Brady

Even at a million years old, the ageless wonder is still producing at a high level. Brady is currently the QB7 on the year, averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game. He has scored at least 20 fantasy points in every game this season except for the matchup against a tough Bills defense. Meanwhile, the Giants give up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. They give up an average of 20.3 per game, four more than the league average. However, that number isn’t accurate.

If you remove the Redskins matchup where Case Keenum and Haskins scored a combined 0.1 fantasy points, the Giants are giving up an average 25.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which would be the second-most in the league. Outside of the Bills game, Brady has thrown for at least 260 yards and two touchdowns in every game this season. Given the matchup and playing the game at home on a short week, Brady is a top-five quarterback for me this week.

Running Back – James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead

I’ll probably look like a fool in a few weeks but I would try to trade Michel after his performance verse the Redskins last week. One, it’s the Redskins. If a player isn’t scoring fantasy points against them or the Dolphins, the player must be hurt. Two, Michel scored a season-high 21.3 fantasy points last week. That performance accounted for 44% of his fantasy points this season. Furthermore, the only other game Michel has scored more than 7.5 fantasy points this season is week two against the Dolphins. In those two games, Michel has scored 69% of his fantasy points this season. He had topped four yards per carry just once this season and with Damien Harris waiting in the wings, I can’t trust Michel enough to play him weekly.

My favorite running back in New England, White, hasn’t put up the same numbers this year like he did last year but regression was expected. While White has totaled just 14 carries in four games this season, he has five or more catches in three of those games with the exception being the blowout win against the Dolphins. White has scored at least 11.9 PPR fantasy points in every game this season despite reaching the end zone just once. On a points per game basis, White is tied for the RB24 spot with Kerryon Johnson this season, while last year he finished as the RB10 and as the RB36 in 2017. White isn’t a plug and play guy like he was last year but he offers a safe floor in PPR for your flex or RB2 spot.

However, back to tonight’s game, Burkhead is questionable to play with a foot injury. Given that he missed a game four days ago and the opponent is a cakewalk, I would be surprised if he played. This leaves the Patriots with the decision to make Harris active for the second time this season or role with White, Michel, and Brandon Bolden. The Giants give up about the league average to running backs but haven’t given up a rushing touchdown since week two. However, the Vikings ran for 208 yards and 34.3 fantasy points last week. Neither back in a must start but I would feel comfortable starting either. Both guys are solid RB2 options this week in PPR scoring.

The only risk with playing White or Michel is if the Patriots make Harris active tonight and when the game turns into a blowout (which will happen sooner than later), do they turn over all the garbage time carries to Harris? If White and Michel get limited snaps in the second half or even the fourth quarter, it will impact their upside tonight. Of the two I would play White over Michel because of his pass-catching upside.

Wide Receiver – Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers

After scoring a season-low seven fantasy points against the Bills in week four, Edelman bounced back verse the Redskins, scoring a season-high 25 fantasy points. Edelman has caught at least four passes in every game this season and has gotten seven more targets in every game except the blowout win against the Dolphins. In PPR scoring, Edelman is a must-start on most weeks and he is currently the WR16 so far this season. Meanwhile, the Giants give up the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, giving up 44.2 per game; 9.7 more than the league average. As long as Edelman is active for the Patriots (he is still dealing with a chest injury he suffered in week three), he should be in your fantasy lineup.

To further jump on the Giants secondary, if you remove the game against the Redskins, the Giants are giving up an average of 52 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, which would rank as the most in the league. The Giants have also given up eight touchdowns and an average of 251 receiving yards per game to wide receivers in those four non-Redskins games. Needless to say, the Giants secondary is awful.

Despite the great matchup against the Giants, I have some slight concerns with playing Gordon. He has failed to score 14.5 or more fantasy points or score a touchdown in any game since week one despite some good matchups. However, Gordon has been heading in the right direction over the last few weeks. After getting just nine total targets over the first two weeks of the season, Gordon has had at least seven in each of the last three games while scoring double-digit fantasy points in two of those games. Gordon is an upside WR3 or flex option as all it takes is one big play for him to have a good game and since he is averaging 8.7 targets per game over the last three weeks, he should have plenty of chances to do that.

Last week Dorsett left the game early against the Redskins with a hamstring injury. Given the short week, he was a long shot to play tonight and has been ruled out. Even if he was active he would have been a high risk, high reward flex option as Dorsett is touchdown dependent. In the two games he scored more than seven fantasy points, he scored at least one touchdown while in the three games he didn’t reach the end zone he has failed to score seven fantasy points or top 40 yards receiving. Furthermore, in the games where Dorsett reached the end zone, he had 11 targets, while in the games he didn’t score, he had 12 targets. The volume is the same, but if he doesn’t get in the end zone, he doesn’t score enough fantasy points to be worth a roster spot.

With Dorsett out, Meyers will take over as the Patriots third receiver. Given his preseason performance, the opportunity he will get, and the matchup many might be tempted to grab him off the waiver wire and start him. Despite playing 46% of the snaps last week (Dorsett played just four snaps), Meyers had just one catch on two targets for six yards and 1.6 fantasy points. Meyers is just $4,800 on DraftKings tonight and if you want a player to save some money on instead of selecting a kicker, he is a solid option given all it takes is one big play to have a solid fantasy game. However, outside of DFS, Meyers shouldn’t be in any fantasy lineups tonight unless you play in 14 team or larger league with a deep bench.

Tight End – Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse

When the Patriots declined to active Ben Watson from the suspended list on Monday, he became a free agent. Currently, Izzo and LaCosse are the only two tight ends on the roster, but neither is fantasy relevant. Despite Izzo scoring a touchdown last week verse the Redskins, LaCosse played 94% of the snaps compared to just 26% for Izzo. The duo has a total of 26.8 fantasy points this season and just 5.4 per game. Furthermore, the Giants give up the ninth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. They give up just 9.2 fantasy points per game to the position and have held opposing tight ends to less than five fantasy points in three of their last four games.

Defense/Special Teams

The Patriots D/ST are the top-scoring D/ST this season, averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game. That is more than Kyler Murray, Alvin Kamara, and David Johnson. They have scored 14 or more fantasy points in four straight games. They have given up just 22 total points this season while forcing 12 turnovers, getting 24 sacks and scoring three touchdowns. D/STs score an average of 6.6 fantasy points per game when facing the Giants offense this season and that was when the Giants were mostly healthy. Given the lack of weapons the rookie Jones will have tonight, the Patriots D/ST is easily the top D/ST this week and if they don’t score 20 or more fantasy points tonight, it will be a disappointment.

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