Is this the final go around for Shanahan?
Our weekly look at the Redskins' matchup from a fantasy football perspective.
In a game pitting two scuffling teams with nothing on the line, it's best to focus on tangible data rather than guess emotional temperament. Earlier this season Alfred Morris rushed 11 times for a season-low 26 yards against the New York Giants. Not only was that Morris's worst outing, but it stands as the Giants top performance against the run this season. Otherwise we're talking about the 20th ranked defensive versus fantasy runners this season. Opponents have rushed for over 100 yards in three of their last five games against New York while averaging 76 receiving yards out of the backfield. RBs have compiled six total touchdowns over the last four weeks. In three career games versus the New York Giants, Alfred Morris has averaged 90 rushing yards and a 4.91 yards per carry. In other words, ignore the previous matchup and start Morris.
Even for a player used to double-digit targets, Pierre Garcon's 18 looks in Week 16 represented a season-high. Same for his 11 receptions, which he turned into 144 yards and a score versus a woeful Dallas defense. In theory things should be a bit tougher against a Giants pass defense that ranks fifth against fantasy wide outs this season. Garcon caught nine passes against New York on Dec. 1, but only gained 16 yards. Seeing as he's averaging 9-136 with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, Garcon remains a must start in all formats.
As for Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, Josh Morgan, Logan Paulsen, Fred Davis or any other of the Redskins' pass catchers, come on. Not only have they proven to be an inconsistent crew, but the Giants don't present nearly the upside as Washington had the previous two games against the Falcons and Cowboys. Or maybe they do. It's Week 17, where craziness happens in the world of fantasy football.
The Giants have allowed only one touchdown pass over their last two games. Three times over the last four games, just one TDP or less, including the Week 13 victory over Washington. Factoring in the reality of a young player with only three career starts under his belt, Kirk Cousins has been viable thanks to his aggressive streak. Factoring in Week 17 means Super Bowl week for many noting Cousins threw for only 197 yards and one score last week against Dallas' last ranked pass defense. Those in two-QB leagues can consider him in a who-knows-what-might-happen matchup, but Cousins is not in QB1 territory.
The defense and the kicker
We turn to Rotoworld's Jeff Ratcliffe for thoughts on the Redskins defense as a plug-and-play option in Week 17: "This isn’t the most desirable option, but Washington has managed to produce four turnovers in their last two games. With the Giants offense still struggling, it’s worth a shot in the dark." Sounds thrilling and just about right. ...Kai Forbath is 11-for-11 on field goals over the last six games, including three against the Cowboys last week. Meanwhile the Giants have allowed seven attempts over their last three games. Use Forbath if desired, but most owners likely have better options.
On the other side...
Thoughts on WR Jerrel Jernigan from my Week 17 Pickups article on FFToolbox.com: "Nothing can make up for the disaster that has been the Giants' passing attack this season, but Victor Cruz' replacement is doing his part. Over the last two weeks he's had 13 receptions for 147 yards and a score. Probably the safest NYG receiver entering Week 17." Washington ranks 20th versus fantasy wide receivers this season and is allowing the ninth most receptions per game (12.47).
In addition to CSNwashington duties covering the Wizards, Hoyas and the college basketball scene, Ben writes about and ranks fantasy football players for FFToolbox.com, rated the most accurate site for the 2012 season.