Monday Night Football
Detroit @ NY Giants
Team Totals: Giants 23, Lions 20
Totaled at 43.0, Lions-Giants has a low-scoring outlook with few true upside plays on either side. Matthew Stafford did overcome a difficult Week 1 draw at home against the Cardinals en route to a top-three quarterback finish, but he now treks to The Meadowlands, where the G-Men yielded 17.1 points per game last year and held Stafford to a QB20 finish in Week 15, surrendering six points in a 17-6 win. As Rich Hribar noted in The Worksheet, Stafford has been far from a matchup-proof passer in recent seasons, and the Giants have far fewer holes in their secondary than Week 1 opponent Arizona did. The Giants allowed the NFL’s second-fewest touchdown passes (15) last season, then held Dak Prescott to one touchdown pass in Week 1. … Ameer Abdullah turned in a disappointing opener, too often running horizontally against the Cardinals and finishing with 41 scoreless yards on 18 touches while losing sporadic scoring-position carries to Dwayne Washington and lots of passing-game work to Theo Riddick. Abdullah wound up playing 48% of the snaps. Clearly just the leader of an RBBC and nowhere near a true bellcow back, Abdullah now visits New York as a three-point road dog to face a Giants run defense that finished last season No. 2 in DVOA, then held Dallas backs to a combined 28/105/3.75/0 rushing line in Week 1. Abdullah looks like another hard pass on the Lions’ side. … Riddick touched the ball only seven times against the Cardinals last week, but six of them were receptions and he was more apparent deep in the red zone, scoring on a third-quarter reception from seven yards out. Riddick is a passable, if not particularly high-upside PPR flex play. Last year’s Giants allowed the NFL’s 12th-most catches to running backs (83), then gave up five more to Ezekiel Elliott in the season opener.
Stafford’s Week 1 targets: Golden Tate 12; Riddick and Kenny Golladay 7; Abdullah and T.J. Jones 4; Eric Ebron 3; Marvin Jones 2. … Tate hung ten catches on Patrick Peterson’s Cardinals last week and an 8-122 line on 13 targets on the Giants when these teams met last Week 15. Tate is so quick in a short area and moves around the formation so often that defenses generally opt against shadowing him and trying to take him out. Peterson ran with Marvin Jones most often last week. As the wideout with whom gunslinger Stafford has the best chemistry, Tate is a locked-and-loaded WR2 with WR1 upside each week, particularly in PPR. … Anyone who made the mistake of starting Jones last week should feel fortunate they got a touchdown out of it, although Jones deserves credit for beating Peterson for the six-yard score. Jones’ Week 15 receiving line against the G-Men last year was 3/41/0 on five targets. Particularly with rookie Golladay emerging and Ebron likely to be a bigger factor this week, I have a hard time getting excited about Jones. … Golladay logged a 60% snap rate in his first-ever NFL game, then tore up Cardinals No. 2 CB Justin Bethel for 60 yards and two touchdowns. NumberFire’s JJ Zachariason has pride bordering on vanity for dubbing Golladay “Babytron,” a nickname the entire city of Detroit apparently detests. Either way, Golladay has worked himself into the every-week WR4/flex discussion. My guess is we’ll see Jenkins matched up more with Jones while Golladay draws Giants 2016 first-round disappointment RCB Eli Apple in significant doses. … Ebron is flying well under the radar after a quiet opener against the Cardinals’ shutdown tight end coverage. That description wouldn’t fit the G-Men, who gave up last year’s fifth-most catches (89) and fourth-most yards (1,052) to tight ends, then yielded a 7/59/1 line to molasses-mover Jason Witten in Week 1. At worst, Ebron is a sensible streamer.
Odell Beckham is capable of breathing life into the Giants’ offense, but the unit could not have looked poorer without him against an at-best-mediocre Cowboys defense last Sunday night. Eli Manning’s arm looked shot all last year and no different in Dallas. Albeit without as many pick sixes (yet), Eli has faded into late-career Jake Delhomme/Matt Schaub territory as a dead-armed, gun-shy passer who operates sheepishly in leaky pass protection. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Cowboys blitzed the Giants on just 3-of-41 Manning dropbacks (7%) but still shut the offense down, holding the G-Men to three points. Eli is a mere two-QB-league option, and all alternative Giants pass catchers take massive usage hits with Beckham returning. … New York’s run game is another predictable trainwreck. “Lead back” Paul Perkins got out-snapped 54% to 32% by Shane Vereen in Week 1 as both finished with nine touches. Vereen has the most PPR value of the group, but no Giants back is a confident weekly start. … Washed-up Brandon Marshall and one-dimensional slot man Sterling Shepard have no fantasy value with Beckham back to soak up targets. Marshall showed so little separation ability in last week’s loss to the Cowboys that ex-Rotoworlder and current NFL.com analyst Chris Wesseling likened Marshall to 2015 Andre Johnson on the Colts. … Rookie TE Evan Engram is at least worth some Week 2 discussion. Engram caught 4-of-5 targets for 44 yards on 81% of the snaps in Week 1, and the Lions are soft in tight end defense. They nearly gave up two TDs to Jermaine Gresham last week, only for Gresham to drop one and have the other negated by his own penalty. Engram is a big favorite to lead all rookie tight ends in production.
Score Prediction: Lions 20, Giants 17
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