The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled north to face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football and nearly botched what should have been an easy win over a lesser opponent. Tampa Bay's defense made a final stand on a two-point conversion attempt to seal the deal. The Buccaneers are now second in the NFC and lead the NFC South at 6-2. Conversely, the Giants are last in the NFC East at 1-7.
The Daniel Jones Decision
Based on their current record, the Giants are going to be facing a decision at quarterback in the coming months. Daniel Jones' erratic nature cost them another game on Monday night. His defense held Tom Brady to 25 points and 10 of those points came on the ensuing drives after Jones' pair of interceptions. Jones had Dion Lewis open on the two-point conversion but threw the ball late and off the mark. On the year, Jones is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. He has more interceptions than passing touchdowns and has failed to top 250 passing yards in all but two of his eight games. The Giants don't have any notable prospects sitting behind Jones so he'll likely get to play out the rest of his second NFL season. Unless he turns things around in a major way, the Giants will be choosing between another year of the seemingly-failed Jones experiment or starting over with a top-five quarterback in the draft.
If the Giants do bring in a new face at quarterback, he will have the luxury of throwing to a quietly impressive crew of pass-catchers. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram led the team in targets at 10 looks. Shepard brought down eight catches for 74 yards while Engram went for 54 yards on five receptions. Darius Slayton is the upside play on this team but Jones' struggles with accuracy often lead him to lines like he posted on Monday night: 5/56/0 on nine targets.
Tampa Bay Escapes
Despite coming away with a win, this was a shaky game from Brady and the Buccaneers. The Giants Defense managed to sack Brady on twice and their tight coverage kept him under seven yards per attempt. They also forced and recovered a fumble on Ronald Jones. Bruce Arians trotted out Jones as the team's starter and he saw every running back touch for Tampa Bay through two drives. The problem was that Jones lost that fumble to end their second drive and recorded a touch on just one more drive for the rest of the game. In a tale as old as time itself, Jones appears to have been benched for a costly mistake once again. Fournette out-carried him 15-7 and was also targeted six times, two more times than Jones. Neither back got much going on the ground. The Bucs ran at 3.4 yards per carry on the night. Their rushing attack appears to be the missing link in creating a complete offense.
The strongest link in Tampa Bay is going to be their receiving room. They could have a three-receiver set of Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin in their Week 9 tilt with the Saints. If Brown returns to football and looks anything like he used to, this could be one of the best groups of wideouts ever fielded. The last time we saw Brown was in Week 2 of 2019 with the Patriots. He ran 17 routes and was targeted eight times.
Fantasy Slant: Engram appears to be the leading receiver in New York when everyone is healthy. In the past two weeks, he leads all Giants with 19 targets. However, his low average depth of target makes Shepard a better weekly play. Shepard has seen 18 targets over the past two weeks. Wayne Gallman gave up eight carries to Alfred Morris and only saw one target. This is a backfield to avoid until Devonta Freeman returns. On the other side of the ball, Evans' splits without Godwin were further exacerbated by a 5/55/1 line on seven targets. He's averaging fewer than two catches per game when Godwin is healthy. He should be viewed as a risky WR2 if Godwin and Brown are both active next week. After getting benched in real life, Jones can also be benched in all fantasy formats. Fournette is a risky RB3.
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George Kittle is unlikely to play again in the regular season while dealing with a foot injury. He could return in the playoffs but the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo may prevent San Francisco from getting there. Garoppolo reaggravated his ankle injury from earlier in the year and will be sidelined indefinitely. A stay on injured reserve is on the table as is season-ending surgery. Nick Mullens will start for the 49ers while Brandon Aiyuk operates as the No. 1 receiver.
Kenny Golladay suffered a hip injury on Sunday and is already expected to miss Week 9. He is considered week-to-week but being ruled out so early is not a great sign for his status in the coming weeks. Marvin Jones caught two scores in his absence and should take on a larger role within the Detroit offense while Golladay is out.
Packers RB AJ Dillon tested positive for COVID-19 and Jamaal Williams came in close contact with him. Dillon will not play in the Packers' Thursday night game and Williams' status is up in the air. Aaron Jones is dealing with a calf injury. If none of those three can go, Tyler Ervin will be transitioned back to running back after making the move to wide receiver this year.
Sam Darnold is dealing with a shoulder injury but will try to play through it next Monday. The Jets Offense is atrocious regardless of who is throwing the passes. All fantasy options on this team should be avoided.
Jake Luton will start at quarterback from Jacksonville while Gardner Minshew nurses a litany of hand injuries. Luton was a Day 3 pick out of Oregon State. His presence under center downgrades all Jaguars pass-catchers in Week 9.