Some of you might remember that last year, I ran a series every Friday previewing the upcoming Giants game from a fantasy perspective. I would say that the reason I'm starting it up again in week 3 this year is because you just don't know enough about the teams or the players until a few games are in the books, but the fact is I totally forgot about these previews until Ed reminded me, but they'll be running every Friday from here on out. Basically, I'll just be posting a start/sit preview for the Giants and their opponent. This week presents a tough challenge, as nobody knows what to expect from the Giants, and the Titans are coming off a game against one of the league's best defenses. With the caveat that nobody has any idea what will actually happen (aka, don't blame me if you follow my advice and lose!), let's dive on in:
Chris Johnson, RB, TEN - This one goes pretty much without saying. Yes, Johnson had a bad game last week, running for only 34 yards on 16 carries, but prior to that he had run for 100+ yards in 12 straight games, and was a 2,000+ yard rusher last year. Johnson is, along with Adrian Peterson, one of the two best running backs in the NFL and is a must-start every week. With the way the Giants defense looked against the Colts last week, it wouldn't be shocking if CJ ran for close to 200 or more yards this week. Scary thought, but absolutely possible. If you sit him, you should be permanently banned from fantasy football.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG - After Brandon Jacobs' antics last week, both on and off the field, expect Ahmad to continue to get the bulk of the Giants carries. He was one of the only bright spots last week, as he put up respectable numbers despite receiving no help from the offensive line or his fullback. I'm biased, but I think Bradshaw is one of the most talented backs in the league, and he should be a consistent fantasy starter at this point in his career, unless you have two other very good backs or you have no faith in the Giants O-line (a very real possibility). I think he runs for over 100 yards in this one, as the Giants do their best to keep Chris Johnson on the sidelines.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG - Nicks has become Eli Manning's top red zone target, and while I doubt he's gonna have many more 3 TD games like he did in week 1, he's a constant threat to score. Many of us predicted Nicks would be a breakout star this year, and with 4 TD's through 2 games, it's looking like we might have been right. At this point, Nicks should probably be starting every week, especially if you're not in a points per reception league.
Steve Smith, WR, NYG - If you ARE in a points per reception league, Smith is a pretty safe choice as your third receiver. You know he's gonna catch at least 5 passes a game, and eventually he's gonna sneak a TD or two in there for good measure. If you're not in a PPR league, Smith loses some of his value, but I'd still start him over Manningham.
Eli Manning, QB, NYG - Eli has thrown 4 picks this year, but every single one of them has hit off one of his receivers first. He didn't have a great game last week, but still ended up with respectable fantasy numbers. It's also hard to imagine the Giants playing worse than they did last week. The haters can hate, but at this point Eli is one of the 12 best fantasy QB's in the NFL, so unless you're in a shallow league and have a Brees/Rodgers/Peyton type guy, Eli should be starting.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG - I've been touting the Bradshaw over Jacobs drum since early last season, and it seems like the rest of the world has joined in. Until the Giants show that Jacobs is still a big part of their plans (and I wouldn't hold your breath), Jacobs definitely shouldn't be starting, and probably shouldn't even be on your roster.
Vince Young, QB, TEN - Young will start, and I expect him to play the whole game (though it would be fun to see Kerry Collins again), but if he's proven one thing it's that his real world value is way different than his fantasy value. Young is just not a fantasy football QB, and that's without factoring in Jeff Fisher's quick hook with the guy.
Mario Manningham, WR, NYG - I love Super Mario, and I think every week he has the potential to go over 100 yards and break a TD - he's just a dynamic player. That said, the Giants have too many weapons, and it's just as likely that Manningham will end up with one catch for 8 yards. He's too risky, and unless you're really hurting at receiver you can probably find a safer bet.
Both Defenses - I don't think the Giants defense will be as bad as it was last week against the Colts, but I'm also not expecting them to channel the '86 Giants D either. Despite being a running team, the Titans are actually a quick-strike team (mostly because Chris Johnson is the biggest homerun threat since Barry Bonds). I think this will be a moderately high scoring game, and I think you'd be better off hitting the waiver wire and picking up whatever defense is playing the Rams instead (happens to be the Redskin this week, definitely a smart play if you can get them!).