Monday Night Football
NY Giants @ Washington
In addition to shutting down Aaron Rodgers' juggernaut passing attack, the Giants returned from their Week 11 bye last Sunday night with a run-based offensive approach. They recorded a 32:30 run-to-pass ratio, employing an even rotation of Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw. While Brown fractured his left fibula midway through the fourth quarter, Bradshaw ran with newfound energy and burst, piling up 119 total yards and a touchdown. With Brown out of the picture, Bradshaw can expect an increased workload and should be locked into fantasy lineups as an RB2 with upside versus a Washington run defense that isn't as imposing as its No. 3 ranking suggests. ... The Brown injury finally clears a path for first-round pick David Wilson to receive more touches, although he'll be no better than a change-of-pace back barring injury to Bradshaw. Wilson is still one of the top late-season lottery ticket stashes in fantasy football right now. ... Coming off the open date, the Giants also emphasized re-involving Hakeem Nicks. Targeted a team-high 13 times -- next closest was Victor Cruz with six -- Nicks dropped five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown on the Pack and can be trusted as a WR2 against Washington's No. 31 pass defense. Pressing the issue last Sunday, Eli Manning targeted Nicks four times on end-zone fades alone.
Eli didn't quite look all the way back from his "tired arm" against Green Bay, but box scores don't discriminate. He threw three TD passes and has a favorable Week 13 matchup. Manning is a strong two-quarterback league start and viable QB1 streamer. ... Victor Cruz dismantled the Redskins for seven catches, 131 yards, and a touchdown in these teams' earlier-season meeting. Expect Cruz to match up often with burnable CB DeAngelo Hall in the slot on Monday night. ... Martellus Bennett racked up 79 yards on five grabs in the aforementioned Week 7 Giants-Redskins game, and Washington has allowed the third most fantasy points to tight ends on the season. Although Bennett's production has waned significantly since early in the year, he's still on the radar for owners scrambling at his position. ... Rookie Rueben Randle caught his first career touchdown pass against Green Bay, playing extensively only because Domenik Hixon (ankle) was injured. Avoid the Giants' third receiver in Week 13 fantasy lineup decisions.
Over his past two games, Robert Griffin III has completed an otherworldly 34-of-43 passes (79.1 percent) for 511 yards (11.8 YPA) and an 8:1 TD-to-INT ratio. He's chipped in 113 yards on 18 carries (6.28 YPC). On the season, Griffin has accounted for 22 TDs and only six turnovers. He has consistently produced against tough defenses, entered Week 13 ranked third in fantasy quarterback scoring, and should be permanent-markered into fantasy lineups regardless of how well the Giants' defense played last week. ... Pierre Garcon's snap count didn't change dramatically from Week 11 to 12. Garcon played 39.7 percent of the downs against the Eagles two weeks ago. On Thanksgiving, Garcon played 44.6 percent. He had three catches for five yards in Week 11 versus a bad Philadelphia defense. Garcon broke off 93 yards and a touchdown on five receptions last week against the Cowboys' top-eight pass defense. We try to deal in logic in the weekly Matchups columns, but nothing about Garcon's production trend is logical. He's a dice-roll WR3 with big upside, but obvious downside. ... Santana Moss' scoring binge defies logic as well. Moss is playing the fewest snaps of his career, averaging just over four targets per game, and yet he's scored seven touchdowns -- Moss' most since the 2005 season. A touchdown-dependent player with low weekly reception and yardage ceilings, start Moss at your own risk.
Leonard Hankerson, Logan Paulsen, streak-route specialist Aldrick Robinson, and Josh Morgan are all waiver-wire fodder. One or two may have a productive fantasy game down the stretch, but it won't be predictable to the extent that you know to start that guy in that given week. Just move on now. ... When the Redskins and Giants met in Week 7 earlier this season, Alfred Morris clicked off 120 yards on 22 carries (5.45 YPC). New York's glaring defensive weakness this year has been versus the run, where it ranks 16th in the league and generously surrenders 4.42 yards per carry. Morris' lack of usage in the passing game has rendered him more RB2 than top-12 option, but this is a plus matchup and his ball-carrying workload is never problematic. Confidently start ALF in his Monday Night Football debut. ... Morris' backup is Evan Royster, who is worth stashing over non-starter tight ends and wide receivers this late in the fantasy season. My top-ten running back stashes going forward: 1) Robert Turbin 2) Royster, 3) Bernard Pierce, 4) Daryl Richardson, 5) David Wilson, 6) Ben Tate, 7) Shane Vereen, 8) Joique Bell, 9) Toby Gerhart, 10) Cedric Peerman. You never know: Perhaps one of these guys will become the next Bryce Brown.
Score Prediction: Giants 28, Redskins 27
Start or Sit: Monday Night
Will it be another shootout for the Giants and Redskins? Kay Adams (@heykayadams) breaks down what to expect from the Giants running game with Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson, plus how well she thinks Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon will perform for the 'Skins.
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