The Giants spent the bye week healing up and readying for an uphill battle back to the top of the NFC East. While it's anyone's guess if the Giants really have a legitimate shot at making a run at the NFC East title, the fact that the Giants are as healthy as they have been since training camp cannot be disputed.
The Giants welcome back their power back Andre Brown to a now crowded back-field and could get their best run-blocking tight end, Adrien Robinson, back from a preseason foot injury. The combination could have a ripple effect throughout the Giants offense that could benefit everyone involved. What looked like a thunder and lightning partnership between Andre Brown and David Wilson, has now become a backfield full of rolling thunder. Andre Brown, Peyton Hillis, and finally healthy Brandon Jacobs could become the type of backfield that can break the wills of opponents.
Eli comes off the bye week with an offensive line that has finally settled in together. While the defense was finally clicking on all cylinders before the bye week , Eli and the offense were sputtering. The additions of Andre Brown and Adrien Robinson can only help Eli over the second half of the year. I expect Eli to have a very big game and my co-host, Micah James, at Trick Plays picked him as his sleeper of the week. The Raiders defense is ripe for the picking and Eli should put up top ten QB numbers.
Andre Brown-6.02 carries for 27.15 yards and .14 TDs (numberFire)
Brown's return to the offense comes at an interesting time for the Giants' running game. Brandon Jacobs had gashed the Bears a few weeks ago before getting injured, and then Peyton Hillis did a more than adequate job stepping into the backfield off the street. Hillis has proved a solid pass blocker as well as pass catcher while doling out his usual forward falling straight ahead runs. Brown's patience and skills in the screen game could be a perfect compliment to these two bruisers. I actually like Brown to be a nice flex play this week against a bad Raiders defense.
Peyton Hillis-8.40 carries for 27.24 yards and .12 TDs, 2.30 receptions for 21.16 yards and .12 TDs (numberFire)
Hillis will have a diminished role with Brown back from injury, but just how much it will be diminished is still to be seen. Hillis has been very valuable on passing downs and could carve out a niche going forward in that role. I don't see him as much of a fantasy option until we see how much Brown is going to be used this week.
The return of Andre Brown and the emergence of Peyton Hillis has put a damper on the great story that was for Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs will be lucky to hang onto a roster spot with Brown's return and should only get short yardage and spot usage going forward.
Victor Cruz-5.34 receptions for 76.09 yards and .43 TDs (numberFire)
Cruz missed practice yesterday with a stiff neck and his status is to be monitored going forward for those that have him in fantasy. I actually have Cruz having a much bigger day, if he plays, than numberFire has him having against the Raiders pass defense. The Raiders safeties have been as bad as any in the league and Cruz can run by them at will if he is healthy.
Hakeem Nicks-3.44 receptions for 46.21 yards and .41 TDs (numberFire)
Nicks has been pretty bad from a fantasy perspective this season. This match-up could be the one to get him going. The Raiders corners have struggled in man coverage and Nicks should be able to beat them off the line of scrimmage at will. I expect almost double the numberFire projections.
Rueben Randle-2.28 receptions for 33.66 yards and .32 TDs (numberFire)
Randle put up a goose-egg the last time out and could see his snaps limited with the return of Stacy Robinson at tight end. While Randle may not get enough snaps to have a huge game, he may only need a few to make a fantasy impact. I expect the Giants to take some deep shots to Randle if they are able to get the running game going. I have Randle as a WR4 this week, but he has TD potential.
Brandon Myers-3.31 receptions for 32.82 yards and .28 TDs (numberFire)
Myers will be freed up from some of his blocking duties by the return of Adrien Robinson to the lineup. Myers has failed to click with Eli Manning so far this season and his production is hard to even project. He is only the fourth option in the offense and should be no more than a tight end two going forward. He could have some more opportunities in the passing game with Hillis in the backfield and Robinson in at tight end. It wouldn't surprise me to see him have a nice game this week after watching the Raiders try to cover the Eagles tight ends last week.
Start/Sit Around the League
Aaron Rodgers' injury has the fantasy football world in an uproar. His shoulder injury not only affects Rodgers' fantasy owners, but also the owners of Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, James Jones, and to a lesser extent Eddie Lacy.
Aaron Rodgers owners ...
The first thing I would do is to look at the waiver wire and see if Jay Cutler is available. Cutler may return this week from a torn groin and was playing at a borderline QB1 before his injury. He has a great match up against the lions this week and should be good to go if the doctors clear him. Other QBs that could be your answer on the waiver wire are Nick Foles and Case Keenum. Foles is a good choice, but don't go chasing last week's points. The Raiders won't be there for the Eagles to pick on the rest of the year. Keenum will have a huge test this week against the Cardinals on the road, but he has shown a nice deep ball as well as a rapport with his number one receiver Andre Johnson.
Jordy Nelson owners ...
Don't panic, but the WR1 days are over with Wallace at the helm in Green Bay. Seneca Wallace has poor arm strength and will have a hard time hitting Nelson on any out breaking routes as well as getting the ball to him deep. Nelson could still be a WR3 going forward, but I am going to be playing the wait and see game and pray that Rodgers is back in time for the fantasy playoffs.
Jarrett Boykin owners ...
Boykin has had a nice showing while filling in for James Jones and Randall Cobb, but his fantasy relevance took a huge hit with Rodgers going down. I would jump ship with Boykin if Riley Cooper, Aaron Dobson, or Mike Brown were available on the waiver wire.
James Jones owners ...
Jones has always had trouble separating from coverage, but that was never a problem for Aaron Rodgers. Jones would body up his defender and Rodgers would fit it in to him. Jones is going to be a WR4 until Rodgers comes back from injury.
Eddie Lacy owners ...
Eddie Lacy was fast becoming a top fantasy running back the last few weeks, but the absence of Rodgers could put a stop to that trend. Lacy was facing soft fronts with Rodgers at quarterback and now will face stacked boxes that are full of run blitzes. If I was a defensive coordinator, stopping Lacy and his running mate James Starks would be my first priority. Lacy goes back to RB2 territory until Rodgers comes back.
Feel free to ask me any start/sit or trade questions on Twitter @Coachesser or by messaging me on Facebook by liking Coachesser’s Playbook. You can also read my articles at www.coachesser.com and listen to the definitive fantasy football podcast on Itunes or Stitcher Radio by subscribing to the Trick Plays podcast hosted by Micah James (@FFMagicMan) and myself.