MNF Matchup: Rams @ GiantsMonday, September 19, 2011
St. Louis @ NY Giants
Sam Bradford has targeted Danny Amendola 120 times since Week 1 of last season -- easily a team high -- so the slot receiver's dislocated elbow creates a combustible powder keg for other Rams wideouts. While a committee approach involving Brandon Gibson, Mike Sims-Walker, Greg Salas, and Lance Kendricks may emerge, what we do know is Gibson and Sims-Walker are the outside receivers with Salas in Amendola's old slot position. It's a week to hold off on trusting any of them. But observe closely. ... Sims-Walker can expect a snaps increase at the very least after playing 44-of-73 (60.3%) in the opener. Coaches have talked up MSW's versatility, and he's the Rams' best wideout bet in Week 2. Sims-Walker wouldn't be a bad late-minute plug-and-play option for owners awaiting Hakeem Nicks' (knee) game-time decision. ... Kendricks saw 63 Week 1 snaps (86.3%), which is the positive news. The negative is that Kendricks dropped two balls, including a would-be six-yard touchdown. Games like that get rookie tight ends benched, and not just in fantasy.
Salas is worth grabbing in all leagues, particularly PPR, to see what happens. Amendola wasn't a difference maker, and Salas could make it a competitive situation if he plays well over the next few weeks. Salas was handpicked by Josh McDaniels; Amendola is a holdover lacking in big-play ability. ... Steven Jackson (quad) is expected to miss this game, but is pushing the medical staff to let him play. With a Monday start, S-Jax's toughness made Cadillac Williams not worth the risk as what will probably end up a one-week spot start in an unfavorable matchup. A Justin Tuck-less Giants front seven stuffed Redskins backs for 74 yards on 26 carries (2.85 YPC) in Week 1, and Tuck is expected back now. ... Bradford might have been an intriguing QB1 play against New York's battered pass defense had Kendricks not bombed the opener and Amendola gotten hurt. Instead, Chris Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal had no choice but to rank Bradford 19th among Week 2 quarterbacks -- a low-end QB2.
Eli Manning has looked befuddled since former Giants slot receiver Steve Smith went out for the season late last year. Since Week 16 of 2010, Manning is 52-of-94 (55.3%) with a 3:6 TD-to-INT ratio. Include the 2011 preseason, and Eli's numbers plummet even further to 79-of-149 (53.0%) with three touchdowns and eight picks. This matchup looks good on paper, but I'd want to see Manning play well before using him. He hasn't done that in awhile. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo also knows all about Eli's deficiencies after coordinating the Giants' defense in 2007-2008. ... The Rams lost LCB Ronald Bartell (neck) for the season in Week 1, and it was reported early this week that RCB Bradley Fletcher (toe) will "probably" miss Monday night's game. My bet is on Fletcher playing, but it's conceivable that he'd be in and out of the lineup if the ailment is turf toe. In fantasy leagues, Nicks (knee) was always worth the wait despite his questionable listing. Nicks' status will be determined by the Giants' medical staff just before game time. Mario Manningham could go bonkers if Nicks sits out.
The Giants' Week 1 loss didn't provide an ideal snapshot because they played from behind for 2-of-4 quarters, but I charted Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs' usage anyway. Bradshaw got the start and 14 touches. Jacobs only had six carries, but was in for Manning's early two-yard touchdown run (goal-line offense). Bradshaw scored deep in the red zone late in the first half, immediately following a 14-yard Jacobs run to the Redskins' six. Bradshaw got more second-half work due to game flow, and the fact that Jacobs doesn't play on passing downs. The takeaway is that the backfield, from early appearances, is an early-down rotation and the Giants seem to view Bradshaw and Jacobs as interchangeable in short-yardage and red-zone situations. I wouldn't be surprised if the two finished close together in final fantasy back rankings, assuming good health. Bradshaw and Jacobs are still both worthwhile flex options against a Rams defense that couldn't stop the run in August, then gave up 236 yards (7.38 YPC) and a TD to Eagles runners last week.
Score Prediction: Giants 20, Rams 16