Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
No Hakeem Nicks, no problem as Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz are primed for big day vs. Patriots
Hakeem Nicks is battling a hamstring injury that might keep him out of the New York Giants Sunday tilt at New England.
Even if Nicks was/is in the lineup, this is a start ’em if you’ve got ’em game at the receiver position for the Giants. That means if you were debating between Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, both of them need to be in your starting lineup this week when Big Blue takes on the worst (or best) defense a fantasy receiver and quarterback can face through eight weeks this season.
The Giants’ receiving corps is the fourth best in fantasy points per game. Nicks received 10 targets for six catches and 67 yards last week against Miami, but his two counterparts were right behind him. Cruz had nine targets for seven catches, 99 yards and a score; Manningham also had nine targets for six catches 63 yards and a score. Cruz has caught 28 of his 42 targets this season for 497 yards and four scores. Manningham has caught 24 of his 45 targets for 290 yards and Sunday’s TD was his firs of the season.
Giants QB Eli Manning certainly trusts all three, and you should too against this New England pass defense.
The Patriots are last in the NFL in pass defense (323.1 YPG, which is 34.2 yards more than the next team), are giving up the most points per game to fantasy quarterbacks and receivers. New England also surrenders the third most passing attempts per game (40.7)
Manning has scored 18-plus fantasy points in four of the last five games and 21.6-plus in three of the last five outings. Plus, the Giants will likely be without RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and you never know what Brandon Jacobs you are going to get. Behind Jacobs are veteran D.J. Ware and rookie Da’Rel Scott.
The Pats have been relatively decent against fantasy running backs. They go into this week’s game as the 12th best team against the position in fantasy. No back has rushed for more than 83 yards this season against New England and only four rushing touchdowns have been surrendered.
So it goes back to riding Manning’s hot hand. He has attempted 30-plus passes in all but one game, thrown for 220-plus yards in every game and thrown for at least two scores in all but two games (no TD passes in Week 1 or Week 6). New England has allowed two touchdown passes in five of seven games.
The Patriots might stink against fantasy quarterbacks and receivers, but the offense is still high powered. They are the No. 2 passing team at 324.7 yards per game and No. 4 with 18 touchdowns. That should make this a high-scoring game, one in which Manningham and Cruz will have plenty of opportunities to shine.
By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter