Kickoff: Sunday, January 8th, at 4:25 PM ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Betting Odds: PHI -14, 42.5 O/U Total on Oddshark
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@theDunit13 on Twitter)
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (Start, QB2)
This is an odd situation where the lower-seeded team has nothing to play for but the higher-ranked team has everything to play for. What does that mean for Daniel Jones and the amount he plays? It’s a toss-up. We have no history with Brian Daboll as a head coach to go on. We do know this is a rivalry game and while the Giants started the season hot they are far from the perfect team. I suspect that Daboll keeps Daniel Jones in for most of the game. He has proven he can be a solid QB2 and in a week where there are so many question marks at the quarterback I’m going to start him.
Saquon Barkley (Start, RB2) Matt Breida (Sit)
Given the Giants have nothing to play for this week it’s hard to trust Saquon Barkley despite how great he has been this season. The fact remains that he has a long injury history and has 371 touches this season already. It’s the most he has had since his rookie year. He has been playing on the majority of the team’s snaps but last week both Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell received their season-high in carries despite their snap share not increasing that much. it could be a case of the Giants trying to rotate the backfield more in preparation for the playoffs. You still start Barkley. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has 10 touchdowns on the season. The Eagles are giving up 22.51 points to the running back position which is sixteenth in the league. It’s not a horrible matchup for Barkley but if his touches are limited he will only be an RB2 this week. I wouldn’t start either Breida or Brightwell.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Darius Slayton (Sit, Flex), Richie James (Start, FLEX), Isaiah Hodgins (Start, FLEX), Daniel Bellinger (Sit)
The last time these two teams squared off Darius Slayton was held in check. It is the stand-alone outlier before this week. He was held to only three targets, two receptions, and 42 yards. It looks to be the same this week. While the other wide receivers for the Giants have stepped up, Slayton still commands top coverage from his opponents. With that, I’m not starting him. With the history and the poor performance last week he can’t be trusted. Sit him this week.
If you have read this article over the past few weeks you know I love Isaiah Hodgins and what he is doing on the Giants. Four touchdowns in five weeks is impressive for a guy they picked up halfway through the season. It’s a tough matchup and it looks like he will not see more attention and probably James Bradberry in coverage. Bradberry rates at 79.3 in coverage which is eighth best in the league. I’m still going to ride the hot hand and put Hodgins in my flex spot.
Richie James has been lining up in the slot which could be great for him this week, as he would see Josiah Scott who rates as the 60th-best cover corner at 62.3. James has seen five or more targets in five out of seven of the past weeks. In the previous matchup, he saw nine targets catching seven of them for 61 yards and a score. All four of his season touchdowns have come in the past seven weeks. He’s not as hot as Hodgins but close. He is worth putting into your flex as well.
Daniel Bellinger has been hot or miss the past few weeks. He is playing on the majority of the team’s snaps but hasn’t seen a ton of volume. He hasn’t seen over five targets in any games this year. He has had to block more than we want to see from a fantasy-tight end. The Eagles are giving up the twelfth-fewest points to tight ends so sit him this week.
Jalen Hurts (Start, QB1) Gardner Minshew (Sit, QB2)
It looks like Jalen Hurts will make his return to the Eagles lineup just in time to hopefully save them and clinch the one seed in the NFC and get the bye. Hurts is coming back from a shoulder injury that forced Gardner Minshew into the lineup and cost the Eagles two crucial losses that have opened the door for others in the conference. With so much on the line, I believe Hurts will play a majority if not all the game as they try to secure the bye week and home field in the playoffs. Hurts has been good at passing the ball this year and even better rushing it. The Giants are giving up the fourteenth-most points to quarterbacks at 16.06 and the eighteenth-most points to running backs at 21.89. Given Hurts’ ability to get points with his legs, you have to start him as a QB 1 this week. He will probably see less rushing as health is key as they head into the playoffs but has been the de facto goal-line back for the Eagles. If for some reason Hurts is declared out I’m not trusting Minshew. He hasn’t been good enough to warrant a spot in your lineup.
Miles Sanders (Start, Flex), Kenneth Gainwell (Sit), Boston Scott (Sit)
Miles Sanders has been a player that has gotten you to the fantasy playoff and then disappeared. He has barely been in the flex range for the past three weeks. He now faces the Giants who are giving up the eighteenth most points to running backs at 21.89. The Giants have great pass rushers, so Sanders may have to stay in, block more, and run less. Given the tough matchup and the recent history, it’s hard to start him. He did have 17 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns the last time these teams met so it’s enough to keep him in the Flex range this week. You can’t rely on Kenneth Gainwell or Boston Scott. Neither has seen their snap shares rise significantly or seen any sort of note-worthy volume.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR1), DeVonta Smith (Start, WR2), Quez Watkins (Sit), Dallas Goedert (Start, TE1)
The Eagles will continue to roll their talented duo of wide receivers. It starts with A.J. Brown at the top. He leads the team in targets and touchdowns (128 and 11). He is the go-to guy for Hurts. In Hurts’ last game, Brown saw 16 targets. In the last game these two teams played, Browns saw six targets bringing in four of them for 70 yards and a score. It’s doubtful Adorre Jackson plays as he missed last week and is still dealing with an injury. That leaves Fabian Moreau to cover Brown. Moreau rates at 53.6 and is 97th out of 118 corners in coverage. It’s a great matchup for Brown who should be started as a WR1 if Hurts plays. If it’s Minshew I would downgrade him to a WR2.
The downgrade for Brown with Minshew comes because he seems to favor DeVonta Smith. In the two games with Minshew under center, Smith saw 25 targets. He has a great matchup as the Giants are giving up 32.54 points to the wide receiver position which is 19th in the league. Smith will probably see coverage from Nick McCloud who rates at 65.0 in coverage. You can trust Smith as a WR2 this week regardless of the quarterback.
I’m not starting any other Eagles wideout like Quez Watkins. They haven’t been involved or playing enough snaps to matter. Tight end Dallas Goedert came back from injury to Minshew playing Qb and had decent days. He was just outside TE1 range both weeks and should be started this week. The Giants are giving up the ninth-most points to tight ends at 13.38. It’s a great matchup and Goedert was tied for the team lead in routes run last week with 38.