The matchup is juicy, with the Patriots giving up more yards per game through the air than any other team. The only thing that could hold Eli back this week is the fact that his top receiver and top running back will likely sit out. Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz are good enough receivers to gash New England's pitiful secondary, but the comfort level certainly drops when guys like Ramses Barden and Travis Beckum are seeing the field instead of Hakeem Nicks.
Ahmad Bradshaw has a broken foot, and even if he dresses for the game, I wouldn't start him. Jacobs, who has complained about his lack of carries, gets to put his money where his mouth is. The Patriots are merely average stuffing the run, but the Giants' offensive line has not opened holes and Jacobs has disappointed in his few chances. He's a low end RB2, but there's a good chance the Giants are playing from behind, making him a risky play.
Matchup : 6
Victor Cruz/ Mario Manningham
Without Nicks, Cruz and Manningham will be Manning's
only top targets against arguably the league's worst secondary. They would have both been solid plays even if Nicks were healthy, but with #88 seemingly on the verge of being declared out, Cruz and Manningham could both see double digit targets. Start both with confidence.
The Pats defend the tight end pretty well, but Ballard will likely see more targets with Nicks out. He's become a consistent cog in the offense; at least 55 yards or a touchdown in five of seven games. Not a bad bye-week fill-in.
Do yourself a favor and find another defense to play this week. As if facing Tom Brady and the high flying Patriots isn't enough, the inconsistent Giants' defense may have to do it without their top pass rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul.
Yes, I just called JPP the team's top pass rusher. Your move, Justin Tuck...
Patriots Worth Playing
Let's see...if you have Tom Brady (Matchup: 8) or Wes Welker (Matchup: 9), you're not benching them no matter who they play. The Giants' pass rush can give QBs fits, but Brady is an every week starter, and he rarely has back-to-back poor games. As for Welker, this matchup is about as juicy as any on his schedule; an intense pass rush means Brady will be dumping it off to Welker all day long.
Aaron Hernandez (Matchup: 8) and Rob Gronkowski (Matchup: 8) are a two-headed monster that few teams can defend against. The Giants' defense has allowed only the third most fantasy points to tight ends, but Hernandez and Gronkowski are integral parts of the Patriots' passing offense, often being utilized as if they were wide receivers.
Deion Branch (Matchup: 6) is the fourth option in the passing game, but could be a respectable WR3 this week against a susceptible secondary.
It's always a mistake for fantasy owners to trust a Patriots running back, but Benjarvus Green-Ellis (Matchup: 7) is a solid RB2 against the big-play-prone Giants' defense.