Wed Oct 9 2:24pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) works in ther pocket against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLII football game against the New England Patriots, in Glendale, Ariz. It was supposed the culmination of the perfect 2007 season for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and a fourth Super Bowl title since 2002. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) passes against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Few quarterbacks have outdueled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots the way Eli Manning has during his career.
Twice Manning has been under center to help the Giants lead fourth-quarter comebacks in the Super Bowl over New England.
In 2007, Manning spoiled the Patriots' bid for an undefeated season by leading a game-winning drive in the final two minutes that included his pass to David Tyree and his now infamous helmet-pinning catch. It set up Manning's TD pass to Plaxico Burress to give the Giants a 17-14 victory.
Manning broke New England's heart again following the 2011 season, this time engineering an 88-yard drive that ended with Ahmad Bradshaw's touchdown run in New York's 21-17 win.
''He's had a great career and certainly had great games against us,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said this week. ''I have a ton of respect for Eli and all that he's done. I wish he'd done a little bit less in a couple games against us, but I have a lot of respect for Eli.''
But when the teams meet on Thursday night, Manning likely won't get the chance to add to his past heroics against the Patriots (5-0) .
After being benched following the Giants' 0-2 start this season, the quarterback who Belichick thinks will ''absolutely'' be in the discussion for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will again be in a backup role when rookie Daniel Jones makes his fourth straight start.
The Giants (2-3) have gone 2-1 with Jones as the starter, but the 22-year-old will be walking into a matchup with the NFL's top-ranked defense without three top playmakers. Running back Saquon Barkley will miss his third straight game because of a sprained right ankle. Tight end and leading receiver Evan Engram is dealing with a knee injury and receiver Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol.
Jones said he's ready to take on the challenge, regardless of who suits up for New York.
''We're confident in the guys we've got,'' he said. ''I think when you look at how some of those guys have played and stepped up, I think we've got guys who are ready to go and ready to make plays. ... I know those guys will be ready.''
Jones will also be up against some recently unfavorable history for young quarterbacks when they match up with the Patriots.
New England has won 18 straight games against a first or second-year quarterback, the longest streak in NFL history.
While the Patriots are preparing for Jones, safety Devin McCourty said they're also ready if Manning does make an appearance.
''Obviously, we know, if anything, they probably have one of the best backups in the NFL,'' McCourty said. ''There's been a lot of legends that I've gotten the opportunity to play against, some to play with. Those guys, sometimes they retire or different things, younger guys come up, they start over them. So, those things always happen. But I think one thing we have to be ready for is, if he does get in the game, knowing that he'll be prepared and he'll be ready to go.''
Some things to watch for during Thursday night's matchup:
There was so much talk about the Giants' three first-round draft picks - Jones, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and cornerback DeAndre Baker, it was easy to overlook the other draft picks. One who has stepped up in recent weeks is fifth-round choice Darius Slayton. The speedy wide receiver missed a lot of training with hamstring issues. He was inactive for the first two games of the season. In the past three, the Auburn product has been targeted 12 times by Jones. He has caught nine passes for 157 yards, a 17.4 yard average. He had the only TD last week, a diving 35-yard catch.
The biggest difference between the teams - besides talent - is turnovers. The Patriots lead the NFL at plus-7. They have intercepted 11 passes and recovered one fumble. The offense has thrown three interceptions - only two by Brady - and lost two fumbles. The Giants are close to the bottom, tied for 29th at minus-5. They have had five passes intercepted and lost six fumbles. The defense has five picks and recovered its first fumble Sunday.
PASS AT YOUR PERIL
The Patriots' defense is ranked No. 1 against the pass this season, allowing just 160 yards per game. It's also the only defense in the NFL yet to allow a passing touchdown.
One thing that may complicate both teams' ability to throw is the weather. The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 50s, with a 100 percent chance of rain. Winds are expected to be between 20 and 30 mph, with gusts possibly reaching more than 40 mph.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder will face a tough test Monday when the Patriots No. 1 ranked pass defense comes to town. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and shut down Crowder in Week 3 when they held him to only 25 yards on two catches. Third-string quarterback Luke Falk started that game, so Crowder should have more success with Sam Darnold back under center. In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches for 197 yards, so he has major fantasy upside moving forward, especially as the Jets' schedule gets softer. In Week 7, however, Crowder is only a borderline WR3 who has more appeal in PPR formats.
New York Jets Le'Veon Bell will face a tough matchup Monday night when the Patriots elite defense heads to MetLife Stadium. New England allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so it's a tough matchup for Bell, but he should put up RB2 numbers based on volume. Bell has played 92.2 percent of the team's offensive snaps so far and has the second-most targets on the team. Bell should see his usual 20-25 touches and fantasy owners should start him with confidence he can put up a decent day even if he doesn't score a touchdown.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will look to change his fortunes against the Patriots in a tough matchup Monday. In seven career games against New England, Anderson hasn't scored a touchdown and his 39.5 percent catch rate is by far his lowest mark against any team he's faced more than once. This season, the Patriots are as daunting a matchup as there is in the NFL allowing the fewest fantasy points against to wide receivers. There is always the chance Anderson grabs a long touchdown, like the 92-yard score he had last week, so he has some appeal as a flex in deeper leagues. However, where possible, owners should look to steer clear of Anderson in this matchup.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will face a tough challenge Monday night against the Patriots, the team that has given up the fewest fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold, who missed three games with mono, had a strong showing in his return to the field Sunday when he put up 338 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect that type of performance Monday against arguably the best defense in the NFL, especially with two starters on the offensive line unlikely to play. Darnold is best left on the bench this week, however, the Jets schedule gets very soft after the game vs New England so Darnold is a good bench stash for those matchups.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring) and cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) were limited in practice this week and are questionable for Week 7 against the Bills. Even if Grant plays this weekend, he's nowhere close to being fantasy relevant behind Devante Parker, Preston Williams and Albert Wilson on the depth chart. Grant has only nine catches (19 targets) for 52 scoreless yards in four games this year. Howard is the team's best cornerback, but the Dolphins Defense/special teams is also well off the fantasy radar. If Howard sits, it'll be good news for Bills wideout John Brown.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring) practiced in full the last two days and isn't on the Week 7 injury report against the Bengals. Oliver has yet to play in his rookie season, but this weekend would be good timing for him to make his debut with Geoff Swaim out and James O'Shaughnessy on Injured Reserve. There's no guarantee that Oliver is heavily involved in the offense in his first game, but he's one to watch for those that are desperate at the position.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and was removed from the Week 7 injury report against the Raiders. With Davante Adams (toe) out, Geronimo Allison (concussion) doubtful and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) questionable, Graham could see his biggest workload of the season this weekend. The Packers will continue to lean on the running game with their receivers beat up, but Graham could easily be quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite target against Oakland. The Raiders have also allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game (9.7) to tight ends. Graham has clear WR1 upside in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) missed practice all week and is doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Raiders. The Packers are holding out hope that Allison can get cleared from the concussion protocol, but it doesn't look like it's happening. Davante Adams (toe) has already been ruled out and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) will be a game-time decision. Green Bay could be without their top three wideouts, so Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd could be their three receivers on Sunday. Kumerow and Lazard will be in play as DFS sleepers and flex options in deeper leagues, but expect the Packers to lean heavily on their ground game.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) practiced in full the last two days and is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Titans. Badgley has been out all season but looks to have a good chance to make his season debut on the road in Tennessee. As usual, the Bolts have had a nightmare on special teams in the kicking game this year and were using their punter, Ty Long, for field-goal duties earlier this year with Badgley sidelined. They've been using rookie Chase McLaughlin in recent weeks, but he's predictably been unreliable in the kicking game. The Chargers will give Badgley a shot to win his job back, but he should be avoided in fantasy for the time being if he's active.
Following two straight close losses, the Jacksonville Jaguars enter their contest against the Cincinnati Bengals needing a victory to remain in AFC playoff conversation. At the crux of securing that win will be their defensive unit, which has been largely hit or miss over the first six weeks of the year. Despite All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey being shipped to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the week, the team has become accustomed to playing without him. While many owners may overreact to Ramseys departure, Jacksonville is coming off holding New Orleans to 13 points last week, and now squares off with a much-maligned Bengals offense. Andy Dalton and the rest of the offensive unit are averaging just 16.2 points per game and their 56.5 average rushing yards per contest enters the week as the lowest in the league. The Jaguars defense is not the same dominant group that has been in years past, but should be a serviceable fantasy unit in Week 7.
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson could have some luster as a flex option against the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful this week, but Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected back. Gurley's workload could be spotty, and Henderson could see extended run. He rushed six times for 39 yards in Week 6, but he lost a key fumble to open the second half. He'll have a chance at redemption against the midrange matchup.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been irrelevant for a couple of weeks for fantasy owners. He left the Oct. 3 game with a concussion, and the entire Rams offense was plugged up last week. He had four catches for 47 yards in the two games combined. He has an awesome matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They are the worst at defending the position in the league. They've allowed just over 15 catches for 219 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game to receivers over the last five games. Cooks is a low-end WR2 option for Week 7.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke a four-game string with 100 receiving yards last week as the entire offense was shut down by the San Francisco 49ers. The good news, though, is the Rams face the leaky Atlanta Falcons Defense, which is the worst at defending receivers the last five weeks. Kupp is sixth in the league in fantasy points over the last five weeks at the position despite having four catches for 17 yards last week. He'll return to the WR1 section this week.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has been Jekyll and Hyde in the matter of a couple of weeks. He busted out with 13 catches for 164 yards three weeks ago and didn't catch a last on four targets last week. He'll have a brighter matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who are the best matchup for opposing receivers the last five weeks. The Rams spread the ball around a lot, though, and Woods is limited to a flex option in point-per-reception formats.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee has been an afterthought in the offense this season with 16 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in five games. He has a good matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but he is too spotty to rely on in traditional leagues. He'd be someone to take at a basement price in daily formats, though.
Jacksonville rookie signal caller Gardner Minshew hit a significant bump in the road last week for the first time as a starter. The cure for that skid? It may just prove to be a matchup against a Bengals Defense yielding greater than 425 yards per game. Minshew failed to toss a touchdown last Sunday against New Orleans, the first time he did not record one in six games. While his 240.3 passing yard per contest average is far from gaudy, he has tossed nine touchdowns to just two interceptions, making him a safe option in traditional fantasy, as well as a high-upside low-priced option in DFS.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps) both missed practice all week and have officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Jackson is closer to returning than Sproles, but there remains no timetable for either player. D-Jax has been out since getting hurt in Week 2, and the Eagles offense is surely missing their deep threat, as Mack Hollins hasn't come close to replicating Jackson's production as a field-stretcher. Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Hollins will continue to operate in three-receiver sets in the big divisional showdown on Sunday evening.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense shouldn't be played against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They've had their issues on the ground, but they still put up points and air it out. The Rams are amidst a tough portion of their schedule and really haven't played well enough to hang onto in traditional formats.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has a good matchup against the New York Giants in Week 7. Murray has been hot lately, and he's fifth in fantasy points among quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Murray has tossed for 834 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but his legs have been the difference. He has rushed 25 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns during that stretch. The Giants allow the eighth-most fantasy points to the position on average over the last five weeks. Murray is a mid-to-low QB1 this week.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds has been a sneaky contributor over the last two games, but it's because he found the end zone each game. He had 12 carries for 102 yards and five catches for 51 yards combined in the games, and he scored on the ground and through the air. Starting running back David Johnson (ankle) is a game-time decision this week, but he practiced more than he did before he played with a back injury last week. The matchup against the New York Giants is a solid one with the Giants averaging the seventh-most points allowed to the position the last five weeks. Edmonds has flashed the big play on limited touches, but he relies on those touchdowns heavily if you use him as a flex.