Sunday’s game will be a turning point for the winner of this week’s matchup in the Meadowlands.
If the Saints lose, they will have to win out for the rest of the season just to finish 8-8.
With a slew of teams ahead of them and a dismal conference record (3-5 right now), they would need a miracle to make the playoffs if they lose.
The Giants will unlikely oblige them with a victory, as they also will be desperate to win this game now that Washington and Dallas are breathing down their necks.
So what does this mean for fantasy? A whole lot of scoring, we’re predicting. So who do you start and who do you sit?
If you have Drew Brees on your team, you probably invested a first-round pick on him in your draft or made a pretty hefty trade. Despite his woefully abysmal game last week, you are still going to start him. It shouldn’t be hard for him to improve on his five-interception game seeing as he still threw for over 300 yards, but realistically this isn’t the Drew Brees we are used to seeing.
Without Sean Payton calling the shots, Brees’ stock has slipped from ‘elite’ status to the next tier of ‘above average’ quarterbacks.
What is still going for him is the fact that New Orleans still has one of the worst defenses in the league. The Saints will be playing from behind most of the day and will do what they always do and throw the ball a bunch.
Brees should be able to produce 300 yards and two or three touchdowns, but judging by his inaccuracy and poor decision making lately, we will also likely see at least two interceptions. Brees struggles against good defenses but on a day that will determine the outcomes of many fantasy playoff games, Brees will be reliable enough to start against an inconsistent Giants' defense.
Eli Manning looks like he can be relied on again as a fantasy starter after a horrible three-week slump. He has four touchdown passes and zero interceptions in the last two games and should have little trouble against the defense which is giving up the most points to fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
With the Saints’ defense unable to stop a bloody nose let alone a running back expect to see Eli hook up with his receivers on plenty of play-action passes. Anything less than 250 yards and three touchdowns will be a disappointment for Manning this week.
Trying to work out which running back will be starting for New Orleans has been a crapshoot each week this year. Since his return, Darren Sproles hasn’t had a single carry but has picked up 12 receptions in that time. You can expect more of the same this week and while he should total about 60 yards receiving, no running back has scored a receiving touchdown on the Giants yet this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep Sproles out of the end zone also.
Assuming that Joe Vitt will stick with the hot hand, our best guess would be that he continues to roll with Pierre Thomas on the ground given Chris Ivory’s injury. Last week, Thomas rumbled to 84 yards on 14 attempts and a repeat won’t be out of the question.
In all likelihood though, Mark Ingram will vulture a touchdown away from Thomas again this week. If you’re desperate for a Flex player, you could do worse than one of the Saints running backs but there are plenty of safer options.
Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to shake off a lingering foot injury and will see the lion’s share of touches against the league’s worst rushing defense.
After rushing for 103 yards last week in Washington, there is no reason to expect Bradshaw not to top 100 yards again in this matchup, only this time he should add a touchdown to his tally.
David Wilson still isn’t seeing a great deal of time and while the Giants should come out with the win, the Saints could keep it close enough to limit any garbage time carries he might otherwise see.
Marques Colston and Lance Moore will both be good starts this week as the Giants have allowed six touchdowns to receivers in the last three games.
Colston will probably see a lot of coverage rolled his way restricting his numbers to a respectable 80 yards and a touchdown, while Lance Moore should break 100 yards again this week. Devery Henderson has continued to disappoint this year and should remain on the bench if you have him.
Hakeem Nicks has been hobbled by nagging injuries all year and it shows in his production. Despite only being able to practice on Friday, Nicks should be able to make the most out of this matchup.
You can expect about 80 yards and the chance for a touchdown. Victor Cruz torched the Saints for 157 yards and two touchdowns last year and there is no reason to expect any less this time. Cruz remains a must start.
Jimmy Graham has struggled this year and is nowhere near on the pace he set last year. The last three weeks have seen him unable to top 60 yards and it would be a surprise to see it happen this week as the Saints have struggled in pass protection given their problems on the right side of the offensive line.
On the other hand, he only needs three more touchdowns to equal his total from last year and as one of the Saints’ best weapons, he is always a threat to score. Expect about 55 yards and a touchdown.
With the Giants’ running game likely to be in full swing and Nicks nursing his injuries, Martellus Bennett will see plenty of looks from Manning on play-action passes and should match his numbers from last week. There’s no reason Bennett shouldn’t finish with at least 75 yards and a touchdown.
Defense and Special Teams
The Saints’ defense has been awful all year and has failed to generate much pressure on quarterbacks (25 sacks) let alone come up with many interceptions (8).
There is no reason to be starting this unit even if you are a die-hard New Orleans fan.
If your league puts a premium on yards and points against, this may not be the best week to start the Giants since there is always a chance the game will turn into a shootout.
Despite this, the Giants should be a decent start. With the Saints’ injuries at right tackle, the Giants should be able to end their sack drought and you can at least rely on Brees to throw a couple more picks this week if he keeps pressing the way he has been lately. Not a great start, but should be good enough if you need to use them this week.