Start: Domenik Hixon
Hixon has been a popular name this week on many waiver wire pickups or sleeper starts, but it’s definitely warranted.
Last week, he led the Giants in receiving against the Eagles. This week, the Giants are without another target (Ramses Barden) against an inferior secondary.
Hixon draws the start opposite of Victor Cruz, and because Joe Haden is still suspended, veteran corner Sheldon Brown will likely be tasked with covering him. Brown was a really good corner – about 8 years ago.
Start: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown
Earlier this week, we analyzed the Giants’ struggles to establish a strong running game. The perfect remedy could be the Browns, who are ranked 22nd against the run and allow 118 yards per game.
It’s unconventional to suggest starting two running backs in a tandem, but both are viable flex options this week. If and when the Giants get the lead, expect Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride to want to dominate time of possession with Brown and Bradshaw.
Concerns about Brown’s pass protection were publicized this week, but I believe his success as a runner will allow to split carries going forward.
Sit: Martellus Bennett
Bennett has been a surprise this season, and if he’s your go-to guy at tight end, then go ahead and start him.
The Browns, however, have been pretty stingy against opposing tight ends this season. In Week 1, they allowed the Eagles’ tight ends to catch 7 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Since then, tight ends have combined for six receptions for 49 yards through three games, and against Baltimore, the talented Dennis Pitta was held catchless.
If the Giants get ahead in this contest quickly, they’re bound to rely on their rushing attack. And Bennett, the third receiving option, will see fewer and fewer targets.