Kickoff: Monday, September 26th, 8:15 PM ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, New York
Betting Odds: NYG -1, 39.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Cooper Rush (Sit)
The Dallas Cowboys shocked the world by beating the Cincinnati Bengals at home, but that had a lot more to do with their defense, and in particular, the pressure it put on the reigning AFC champs’ revamped o-line, which made for a very uncomfortable afternoon for Joe Burrow. Micah Parsons carried this team, not the offense.
Rush went 4/5 for 35 yards on the opening drive, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Noah Brown, but the offense was stifled for basically the rest of the afternoon, going 3/10 on third down attempts, and only putting up 20 points.
The Cowboys’ objective is simply to survive this period without Dak Prescott, and remain in the hunt until their franchise QB returns, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Ezekiel Elliot (Start, Flex), Tony Pollard (Flex)
The Cowboys backfield continues to be one of the more convoluted situations for fantasy managers everywhere. While many clamor for higher usage for Tony Pollard, Mike McCarthy continues to feed Ezekiel Elliot, especially in positive game script scenarios.
In Week 1 the Cowboys trailed for most of the evening and produced a snap share of 58% to Elliot, and 55% to Pollard. Against the Bengals in a game that Dallas basically led from the start, those numbers reverted to what we saw last year, with Zeke getting 68% of snap shares and Pollard 39%.
However, the sole touchdown run went to Pollard despite the lower usage, which ultimately left managers of both backs rather unsatisfied about the final outcome.
Facing a Giants defense that’s 11th in points allowed to running backs, it’s still difficult to hand out RB2 status to either Cowboys back, even in a game that should offer plenty of positive game script, as it’s unlikely the Giants run away with it early on and force the Cowboys into passing mode as the Bucs did in Week 1.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
CeeDee Lamb (Start, WR2/3), Noah Brown (Sit), Kevontae Turpin (Sit), Dennis Williams (Sit), Dalton Schultz (unclear if he’ll play)
The Cowboys dealt Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, and after a couple of weeks, one thing that this offense is missing is playmakers. Jalen Tolbert, a high draft pick, must be looking terrible in practice, to be deferred over the likes of Noah Brown and Dennis Williams, neither of which is impressing much after a couple of weeks.
With Dalton Schultz possibly out, CeeDee Lamb is the only playable pass-catcher in this group, and while his season has gotten off to a disappointing start, especially for those that figured he’d take that step forward with a bigger target share now that Cooper is gone.
The target share is there as Lamb sits in the top 10 in that category in the entire league through two weeks, with 32%. However, the production hasn’t been great, and although things didn’t look particularly good when Prescott was out there, you’d take a continuation of that over Rush throwing him the ball any day of the week.
For now, against a Giants’ passing defense that, despite the loss of James Bradberry and Logan Ryan, ranks third in all of football in fantasy points allowed against opposing wideouts (13.3), Lamb will be a fringe WR2, more of a WR3 heading into Monday Night Football.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (Sit)
The New York Giants are 2-0 in this young season, but this surprising record, while saying a lot about the team performance, hasn’t done much to dismiss doubts surrounding Daniel Jones, whose most noteworthy feat has been in not turning the ball over, with only one turnover in two games.
The Giants’ passing attack is 27th in net yards per attempt, and between Wan’Dale Robinson‘s injury, Kenny Golladay‘s continued disappearance, and Kadarius Toney‘s mystifying usage, has lacked the playmakers to take advantage of Saquon Barkley‘s superb start to the season, who is surely taking the main focus of opposing defenses.
For now, and going against a Cowboys’ defense that limited the Buccaneers and Bengals to a combined 36 points, Daniel Jones is a clear sit on your roster.
Saquon Barkley (Start, RB1)
The Cowboys’ defense is top 10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs at 12.55 and has yet to allow a rushing touchdown in 2022, having gone up against Leonard Fournette and Joe Mixon. However, Saquon Barkley has shown himself to be healthy and through two games is reminding the world why he was picked number two overall.
The Giants’ running back is easily one of the more uncontested backs in a rare bell cow situation in today’s NFL, with an 83.5 % snap share through two weeks, and is averaging 142 scrimmage yards albeit in a fairly small sample size, but there’s no doubt that Barkley is a focus point of the passing attack as well, with 11 targets to date.
This term has been thrown around to the point of losing its meaning in recent years, but Saquon Barkley through the start of 2022 looks poised to put up a league-winner season, for fantasy managers that were fortunate enough to snag him in the back-end of the first round, beginning of the second.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Sterling Shepard (Start, Flex), Kadarius Toney (Sit), Kenny Golladay (Sit), Richie James (Sit), Daniel Bellinger(Sit)
The Giants WR room is one of the more mystifying position groups for fantasy managers in 2022. Through the first two games, the snap share leaderboard goes:
- Sterling Shepard (80.5)
- David Sills (75.7)
- Richie James (54.9)
Wan’Dale Robinson, the second-round rookie, got injured early on in week 1 against the Titans and it is unclear when he’ll return. Kadarius Toney looked to be completely scratched from the offensive gameplan until the Robinson injury forced the Giants to involve him, but in a lesser capacity than any Toney fantasy manager would’ve liked to see, as the former Florida Gator has three targets, two catches and no receiving yards through two weeks.
Kenny Golladay is in line to become one of the biggest free agent busts in the history of the NFL, and that’s no understatement, as Brian Daboll has made it perfectly clear that the offense will not forcefully feed him, regardless of his salary, and Golladay has never been much of a separator to earn those targets.
All of this uncertainty and disappointment has left the door open for the longest-tenured Giant, slot specialist Sterling Shepard to carve his way into a somewhat playable role if you’re desperate for a flex. The former Oklahoma Sooner not only leads the team in snap share but has been targeted 14 times in Daniel Jones’ 55 passing attempts.
Shepard’s biggest issue in his career has been his ability to stay healthy, but while he remains so, it looks like he’ll be the main passing option for Jones, at least for the near future, and while you’d probably be better served to look elsewhere for wide receivers, if you’re in desperate need of a flex option, Shepard should be available in most waiver wires.