Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 3
Giants vs. Texans
How will Saquon fare against the Texans’ top-five run defense?
On gross yards alone, Houston does not look like a top five, let alone top ten, rushing defense thus far. However, when switching to yards per attempt, they come in at number five, allowing just 3.4 YPA. As far as DVOA goes, Houston’s rush defense ranks third. In the last two games, the Giants have not faced the #10 run defense by DVOA in Jacksonville, and the #20 run defense in Dallas. In both games, RB Saquon Barkley has not been able to consistently rack up yards on the ground despite his talent being more than evident in these games. This will be the toughest test yet for the Giants offensive line, but Barkley’s effectiveness in the passing game should keep him in the mix to finish as an RB1.
Will Eli rely too heavily on screens to Barkley again?
There’s really nothing positive you can say about the Giants’ offense after the game against Dallas other than that Barkley continually made people miss in the backfield. 36.4% of QB Eli Manning’s passes were intended for Barkley last week, and they only averaged 5.0 yards/attempt on those passes. Granted, Dallas is a top ten pass defense by DVOA, but they’re not the Jags, so there’s no excuse for why WR Odell Beckham Jr. was only targeted nine times in the game. As easy as it is to pin the blame on the O-Line for the Giants’ trouble, it’s not entirely their fault. Eli looked rattled, and the play calling needs to be better.
How will the Giants Defense scheme Deshaun Watson?
Thankfully this is not the same QB DeShaun Watson we saw in last year’s four-game sample, though those who rode the hype train and over drafted him would have a different sentiment. The Giants have the third-worst rush defense by DVOA, so Houston could run a game plan similar to what Norv Turner runs in Carolina effectively, and utilize the play action to take chances on bombs to WR Will Fuller V. The Giants do have a top 15 passing defense, and outside of the 64-yarder to WR Tavon Austin last week held Dallas in check. Houston’s receivers are infinitely more talented though, and CB Janoris Jenkins will have his work cut out for him covering WR DeAndre Hopkins.
Can Deshaun Watson bounce back and right Houston’s season?
We all know what Deshaun Watson is capable of. He gave us seven unbelievably good games last year, before getting hurt. He was having immense success with WR DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V. If they are to even come close to competing with the Jaguars, they’re going to have to start beating inferior teams, such as the New York Giants – this week’s opponent. Unfortunately for Houston, its biggest weakness is the offensive line. The play of Watson has suffered in large part to this, which then has a ripple effect for receivers and the running backs, of course. If you’re an owner of any of these skill-players, you have to simply hope Watson can overcome the weak O-line and force the issue against defenses, as he did last year.
So far, it’s been rocky and it probably had something to do with the late-game gaff a week ago. I’d expect Watson to get “healthy” against the Giants, throwing for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running for 35 more yards. WR DeAndre Hopkins will benefit from all the throwing in this one, finishing with 8 catches on 11 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Will Fuller had a heck of a game against the Titans last week and while he probably won’t repeat that production, he should be able to get a few deep targets. The Giants didn’t allow Dak Prescott to have a big day through the air, but that’s just a product of the Cowboys not having nearly the caliber of weapons that Houston does. As for the running game and RB Lamar Miller, it will be a normal day, in which he is allotted around 17 carries, which he’ll turn into 80 yards and then get his touchdown vultured by fellow RB Alfred Blue.
Will the Texans’ defensive line do anything special?
JJ Watt is still without a sack. In fact, the team only has three total sacks. Last week, I wrote about how their group would feast against Blaine Gabbert and Tennessee’s injury-ridden offensive line. I was wrong, but there has to be some serious concerns about the effectiveness of this supposedly fierce defensive front. This game could be the one to set them off, seeing as the Giants have a very weak offensive line (cough Ereck Flowers cough). JJ Watt will see double teams, but that’s nothing new. I predict Watt gets to QB Eli Manning twice on Sunday, while the defense gets a turnover that is the difference in the ball game.