Kickoff: Sunday, December 18 at 8:20 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Betting Odds: WAS -4.5, 40.5 Total on Oddshark
Writer: Drew DeLuca (@DrewDeLaware on Twitter)
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (Start, QB1)
Over the last five weeks of the season, Daniel Jones has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback, ahead of Dak Prescott and Tua Tagovailoa. Jones is averaging only 0.3 fewer points per game than Justin Herbert during this stretch, which includes games against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles defenses. Only Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, and Josh Allen rushed for more yards during this timeframe.
An underwhelming cast of skill position players caps his ceiling, but Jones’ rushing prowess solidifies a floor that’s deceptively higher than many other quarterbacks. Excluding Kyler Murray, who was recently lost for the season, Jones ranks as the QB11 overall this season among qualified quarterbacks (8 games or more played). Jones should keep up with his own performance levels and finish as a low-end QB1 in a neutral matchup against the Washington Commanders.
Saquon Barkley (Start, RB1), Matt Breida (Sit), Gary Brightwell (Sit)
Saquon Barkley is the RB7 on the season, but has tailed off significantly down the stretch. Barkley, who looked like the RB1 in early September, has barely put up Top 20 running back numbers (RB19) over the last five weeks. The former Penn State stud played through a minor, yet painful neck injury last week, but a vastly improved Eagles run defense offered little room for Barkley to work. Between the injury and a gross game script, Barkley handled only 11 touches and saw his snap share dip to 31 percent. Both numbers should dramatically rise in a must-win game against a divisional rival, so expect Barkley to finish as a low-end RB1.
Matt Breida managed only 15 yards on 5 touches in a rare game in which Barkley sat more than he played. Breida shouldn’t be a part of the Sit/Start discussion until further notice. Gary Brightwell made the most of his garbage time work, racking up 41 yards on seven touches. Neither is worthy of a spot in your lineup this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Darius Slayton (Start, FLEX), Isaiah Hodgins (Sit), Richie James (Sit), Marcus Johnson (Sit), David Sills (Sit), Daniel Bellinger (Sit, TE2)
Throughout the last five weeks of the season, the Commanders have steadfastly held their ground as one of the four toughest units on opposing fantasy football wide receivers. This isn’t ideal for those stuck with the possibility of having to play Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, or Richie James, all of whom stepped up in 2022 and enjoyed a time to shine when Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay couldn’t due to a complex web of injuries, discontent, and other factors.
Former Buffalo Bills draft pick Isaiah Hodgins was targeted early and frequently last week, continuing his emergence as a solid possession receiver in the absence of more reliable options. Meanwhile, Marcus Johnson and David Sills have no business being anywhere near your fantasy lineups in any format. Slayton is the only wide receiver we can live with as a FLEX play in lineups this week. Daniel Bellinger is the only other option in the passing game worth keeping an eye on, but the rookie tight end missed time last week after taking a shot on a borderline dirty hit. If he’s clear to play, Bellinger enters the streaming conversation as a high-end TE2.
Taylor Heinicke (Sit, QB2)
Carson Wentz was designated to return from Injured Reserve this week, but Head Coach Ron Rivera is sticking with Taylor Heinicke, who has performed admirably under center for the Commanders. Unfortunately, Heinicke’s performance hasn’t been nearly as impressive for his fantasy football managers, as the Old Dominion product has finished as the QB27 in points per game over the past five weeks. Heinicke faces a neutral matchup in the form of a Giants defense that ranks 15th in most points allowed to fantasy quarterbacks, but expecting anything more than QB2 numbers would be a mistake.
Brian Robinson (Start, FLEX), Antonio Gibson (Sit), Jonathan Williams (Sit)
After Week 11’s contest against the Houston Texans, Brian Robinson appeared to have somehow ceded the lead back gig to Antonio Gibson. Robinson managed only 57 yards on 15 touches (all carries, no receptions) that day while Gibson tallied 103 total yards on 21 touches. Since then, Robinson has gained 236 yards on 43 touches. Gibson, meanwhile, collected 111 yards on 23 touches. There has been no changing of the guard; this is still Robinson’s backfield.
Robinson is a very strong FLEX option who could easily post RB2 numbers against a hapless New York Giants run defense that ranks in the bottom three in points allowed to opposing fantasy running backs over the last five weeks. Meanwhile, Gibson and Jonathan Williams are sits; neither will see enough volume to matter.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR1), Curtis Samuel (Start, WR3), Jahan Dotson (Sit), Dyami Brown (Sit), Cam Sims (Sit), Dax Milne (Sit), Logan Thomas (Sit), John Bates (Sit), Cole Turner (Sit)
Few pass catchers will enjoy a better WR/CB matchup than Terry McLaurin this week. McLaurin should flat-out feast against the Giants’ trio of Fabian Moreau, Nick McCloud, and Darnay Holmes; consider the former Ohio State standout a strong WR1. Speaking of former Buckyes, Curtis Samuel had 86 yards on 9 touches last week, including some backfield work. Even rookie Jahan Dotson got into the action with 5 catches for 54 yards and a score, though we don’t expect those numbers consistently from him. Dyami Brown, Cam Sims, and Dax Milne are all irrelevant for fantasy purposes, but we’ll mention them anyway to keep the editors happy.
Last and most definitely least, Washington’s tight end position is a barren, fallow wasteland. We had hoped by now that Logan Thomas would give fantasy managers a dependable option at the position after returning to health, but no. This just hasn’t happened, and neither John Bates nor Cole Turner has either, despite some preseason buzz. Punt and look elsewhere for a tight end.