Monday Night Football Preview and Fantasy Primer

Detroit Lions at New York Giants

MetLife Stadium | Giants -3 | Over/Under: 42

Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season comes to an end at Met Life Stadium, as the 1-0 Detroit Lions visit the 0-1 New York Giants. The Giants have won four of the last five meetings, although the Lions lead the overall series 22-21-1. Steve Mariucci was the head coach the last time the Lions won at the Giants, with 230 yards and two touchdowns from Joey Harrington leading his team to a 28-13 victory in Week 7 of the 2004 season.

Matthew Stafford FantasyMatthew Stafford hung 27.08 fantasy points on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, as he finished as the QB2 behind just Alex Smith. Stafford threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns after tossing a pick-six on his first pass attempt of the game. He may struggle to reproduce quite so dominant a showing against the Giants, however. The G Men did give up 268 yards and touchdown to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in Week 1, but the Cowboys offensive line was the top pass blocking unit in Week 1 according to Pro Football Focus. The Lions were down at 17. Consider Stafford a high-end QB2 with some QB1 upside here.

The 220 yards Eli Manning managed against the Cowboys was the 10th occasion in the last 11 regular season games in which Manning has failed to hit 300 yards passing, while it was the 5th time in the last 17 games he has failed to throw a single touchdown pass. He was hampered by the absence of Odell Beckham, but as the above numbers show he was struggling even with Beckham in the lineup last season. The Lions saw Carson Palmer pass for 268 yards against them in Week 1, but they did intercept him three times. Manning is a risky fantasy start, with or without Beckham.

[the_ad id=”72106″]The Lions trio of running backs, Theo Riddick Ameer Abdullah and Dwayne Washington combined for 23.90 PPR points against the Cardinals, with 14.60 of these coming from Riddick. His involvement in the passing game, in which he saw seven targets that he corralled in six catches for 27 yards and touchdown, makes him the only RB even worth considering in this matchup. The Giants allowed the 14th most PPR points to RBs last week, but they were playing against Ezekiel Elliott. The Lions RBs managed 51 yards on the ground on 22 carries combined.

Only eight teams allowed more PPR points to RBs than the Lions in Week 1, but the Giants have nowhere near as dynamic a playmaker as David Johnson in their possession. Much like Riddick across the field from him, Shane Vereen has some PPR flex appeal given his skills as a pass catcher. He reeled in nine of his 10 targets last week for 51 yards. Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa combined for 30 yards on the ground on ten carries, while their three receptions were “good” for eight yards.

Golden Tate and rookie Kenny Golladay combined for 14 receptions on 19 targets, finishing with 107 and 69 yards respectively. The rookie also scored two touchdowns, giving the duo 44.30 PPR points between them. Marvin Jones only saw two targets, but he snared them both for 37 yards and a touchdown. Tate is the safest option of the trio in PPR, working out of the slot and near to the line of scrimmage (his average depth of target last week was 5.4 yards, compared to 17.9 for Golladay and 14.5 for Jones). The Giants allowed the 15th most PPR points to wide receivers in Week 1.

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Much will depend on the fitness of Odell Beckham when it comes to the Giants winning the game, and after Week 1 you’d have to say a 75% Beckham would be better than the others the Giants trotted out against the Cowboys. Roger Lewis led the group with 54 yards through the air, while Sterling Shepard finished with seven catches. Brandon Marshall, with a career average of 5.6 catches and 71.9 yards per game, finished with one catch for ten yards in his Giants debut. The Lions allowed the 9th most PPR points to the wide receiver position in Week 1, but only Odell Beckham should be entertained as a viable option among this group.

Widely anticipated to be a breakout star in 2017, Eric Ebron instead enjoyed a quiet start to his season. He caught 66% of his targets, but when you only see three in a game it’s not that impressive. These two catches brought him nine yards. He should be expected to do better against the Giants, who allowed Jason Witten to own them (as he has done for much of his career) to the tune of seven catches for 59 yards and a score. Even so, there are safer options on the waiver wire at tight end than Ebron this week.

The Lions allowed just 15 yards through the air to Jermaine Gresham of the Cardinals last week, allowing just three receptions. The Cardinals second tight end, Troy Niklas, failed to catch either of his targets. The Giants main receiving threat at tight end against the Cowboys was rookie Evan Engram, who caught four of his five targets for 44 yards. This included a 31-yard grab. He is not an advisable starter, given the unpredictable nature of the Giants passing attack.

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