TNF Fantasy Preview: New York Giants vs. Washington Football Teamby Mike Fanelli September 16, 2021 0 comments
Tonight, Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season kicks off with a matchup between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team. While everyone loves Thursday Night Football, fantasy owners struggle with which players they should put in their starting lineups. To help them decide which players they should start and which they should sit, let’s dive into this week’s Thursday Night Fantasy Preview.
All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.
New York Giants
Quarterback – Daniel Jones
Despite facing a tough Denver Broncos defense, Jones managed to score 21.4 fantasy points last week. While Jones completed only 59.5 percent of his passes, he threw for 267 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Jones rushed for 27 yards and a touchdown, scoring 8.7 (40.7 percent) of his fantasy points on the ground. Moreover, Jones and the Giants’ offense should play better this week after having limited snaps together in the preseason. Meanwhile, Washington’s defense played well against Justin Herbert last week as he scored only 13.4 fantasy points. Herbert did throw for 337 yards but only had one touchdown and two turnovers. Jones is far from a starting quarterback in 12 team leagues. However, in super flex leagues, Jones is a solid QB2 option this week.
Running Back – Saquon Barkley
After missing nearly a year with a torn ACL, Barkley played only 48 percent of the snaps against the Broncos. However, Barkley touched the ball on 11 of his 29 snaps (37.9 percent). While Barkley averaged only 2.6 yards per carry on his 10 rushing attempts last week, that was expected. Coming off the torn ACL, the Giants planned on limiting Barkley early in the season. This week, fantasy owners should expect another limited fantasy performance against Washington. Last week, Washington held the Los Angeles Chargers running backs to only 16.3 fantasy points, giving up 3.6 yards per carry. Between the tough matchup and limited workload, Barkley is a low-end RB2 this week. Furthermore, fantasy owners with a solid running back depth should consider benching Barkley against Washington.
Wide Receiver – Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton
While Golladay was the Giants’ top free-agent addition this offseason, he was almost a non-factor last week against the Broncos. He finished third on the team in targets with six, behind Shepard with nine and Slayton with seven. Golladay also finished third on the team with 64 receiving yards. Not only did Golladay have trouble against the talented Denver secondary, but he also finished second on the team among wide receivers with 52 snaps played. Until Golladay shows otherwise, fantasy owners need to consider him a risky low-end WR3 and not a plug-and-play option.
Behind Golladay are Shepard and Slayton, and both outplayed him last week. While Slayton only caught three of his seven targets, he had more receiving yards than Golladay despite playing 15 percent fewer snaps. Furthermore, Slayton had the longest catch on the team last week with a 42 bomb from Jones. By comparison, Golladay’s longest catch was 17 yards. Meanwhile, the best receiver in Week 1 was Shepard. He caught seven of his nine targets for 113 yards and the only receiving touchdown of the day for the Giants. This week, Shepard is a low-end WR2 with a safe floor, while Slayton is a high upside option for fantasy owners in deeper leagues.
Entering the season, Washington projected to have one of the best pass defenses in football. However, they struggled against the Chargers last week outside of a couple of turnovers. The duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams combined for 17 catches on 25 targets for 182 yards, a touchdown, and 41.2 fantasy points. More importantly, Washington had only two sacks, with Chase Young counting for zero. That won’t be the case this week against the Giants’ offensive line. Expect Jones to face pressure most of the game, resulting in quick passes to Shepard, leaving Golladay and Slayton with limited upside.
Tight End – Kyle Rudolph
Evan Engram will miss tonight’s game with the same calf injury that kept him out last week against the Broncos. Once again, Rudolph will start in his place. Last week Rudolph caught only two of his five targets for eight yards, finishing with 2.8 fantasy points. However, the matchup is more appealing this week. Washington struggled to slow down Jared Cook last week as he scored 11.7 fantasy points despite not finding the end zone. Even though he should play most of the snaps, fantasy players should avoid playing Rudolph this week unless in a two tight end league.
Many thought the Giants D/ST would have been a good streaming option against the Broncos. However, Denver scored 27 points, and the Giants D/ST scored only one fantasy point. That likely won’t be the case this week against Washington. Last week, the Chargers D/ST scored six fantasy points against Washington and would have scored more if not for an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Instead of facing Fitzpatrick this week, the Giants will face Taylor Heinicke on a short week. Not only will Heinicke have a short week to prepare for the Giants, but he will also get limited reps with the first-team offense in practice. With Washington breaking in a new starting quarterback on a short week, expect the Giants D/ST to take advantage of any mistakes the Washington offense makes.
Washington Football Team
Quarterback – Taylor Heinicke
After Fitzpatrick injured his hip in the second quarter against the Chargers, Heinicke took over under center. In 2.5 quarters of play, Heinicke threw for 122 yards, a touchdown, and scored 10.6 fantasy points. While he will have only a few days to prepare for this game, Heinicke should produce for fantasy owners. Last week, the Giants gave up 20.5 fantasy points to Teddy Bridgewater despite Jerry Jeudy missing half the game. The Giants’ defense should bounce back this week. After the disappointing performance from the wide receiver core last week, Heinicke will need his weapons to step up to finish as anything more than a low-end QB2 this week. That said, for those in super flex leagues, adding Heinicke off the waiver wire is a must.
Running Back – Antonio Gibson
In Week 1, Gibson finished tied for fifth in rushing attempts (20) and eighth in rushing yards (90). Furthermore, despite failing to reach the end zone, Gibson scored 11.8 fantasy points last week. Behind him on the depth chart are J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson. They played a combined 24 snaps last week compared to 36 for Gibson. More importantly, the duo combined for three carries and zero targets. Last week, the Giants gave up 146 rushing yards on 25 attempts (5.8 per carry) and 25.9 fantasy points to the Broncos’ running backs. While Gibson is dealing with a shoulder injury, he fully practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and is off the injury report. Fantasy players should continue to treat Gibson as a low-end RB1 until further notice.
Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown
Last week the Washington wide receiver unit combined for a total of 16.7 fantasy points against the Chargers. McLaurin led the way, scoring 10.2 fantasy points, catching all four of his targets for 62 yards. The third-year star played 100 percent of the snaps, with the rookie Brown playing 93 percent. While the rookie played most of the snaps opposite of McLaurin, he only caught one of his four targets for negative two yards. That said, until Curtis Samuel returns from injured reserve, Brown should be on a roster in all standard sized leagues. Meanwhile, the Broncos’ wide receivers scored 36.6 fantasy points last week against the Giants.
While he left the game early with an injury, Jeudy and Tim Patrick were the only Denver wide receivers with over 7.1 fantasy points. Both Jeudy and Patrick finished with over 13 fantasy points. However, it was a disappointing performance for Courtland Sutton. He caught only one of his three targets for 14 yards despite leading the team with 53 snaps played in part because of James Bradberry. While Bradberry is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, McLaurin averaged 19.5 fantasy points per game against Bradberry and the Giants last season. McLaurin is his usual plug-and-play WR2 this week, while Brown should stay on fantasy benches for at least one more week.
Tight End – Logan Thomas
Coming off his breakout season in 2020, Thomas kept up his strong play last week. He caught all three of his targets for 30 yards, scoring the only touchdown in the game for Washington, finishing the week as the TE8. In his two games against the Giants last season, Thomas averaged 9.5 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the Giants struggled to slow down the Broncos’ tight ends last week. Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam combined for 20.8 fantasy points, catching nine of 11 targets for 78 yards and a touchdown. Until Samuel returns from injury or Brown steps up, Thomas will have a critical role as the second option behind McLaurin. Thomas is a top-seven tight end this week with the potential to have a top-three finish.
Entering the season, the Washington D/ST projected as one of the top options in fantasy football. However, the Washington D/ST scored only one fantasy point last week against the Chargers despite forcing two turnovers. Meanwhile, the Broncos D/ST scored seven fantasy points last week against the Giants, totaling two sacks and a turnover. Washington’s defense was in control of the game till the fourth quarter when Herbert led the Chargers with a come from behind victory. After both teams struggled on defense last week, fantasy players should expect both D/STs to bounce back this week against weak offenses. The Washington D/ST is a top-three option this week. Furthermore, they could finish the week as the top overall scoring D/ST.
Jones: Mid QB2
Barkley: Risky RB2
Golladay: Low-End WR3
Shepard: Low-End WR2
Rudolph: Mid TE2
Giants D/ST: Mid D/ST1
Heinicke: Low-End QB2
Gibson: Low-End RB1
McLaurin: Mid WR2
Thomas: Mid TE1
Washington D/ST: Top-Three D/ST
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