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Giants Week 15 fantasy outlook: Anyone playoff-worthy?

Potential for a low score makes the Giants-Saints game risky for fantasy

Chicago Bears v New Orleans Saints
Chris Olave
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Week 15 is fantasy football playoff time, which means the stakes for decisions increase. Once again, my fantasy roundup is aimed at PPR leagues, which is the best kind of league IMNSHO (Grammarly didn’t know what the NS is in there. I guess it doesn’t recognize bragging. And yes, I use Grammarly; you should, too).

If you put money on your league, though, rather than listening to my advice, you’re better off putting names on a board and sticking a pin into it while blindfolded. That’s the best fantasy advice I can ever give you. Come to think of it, it would be fun to try sometime.

If you’re not betting on this or want to crunch some numbers, I’m your gal. I’m sure you all know the Giants’ whole shebang by now, but the offense has made things more interesting in recent weeks. That makes your Giants decisions less clear-cut. Around the NFL, this has been a topsy-turvy offensive season, and with some key injuries, there could be many shifts in who you should start or sit.

Start ‘em

  • Saquon Barkley: The Giants’ running back is a weekly starter in fantasy. Even though he gets stuffed a lot due to poor run-blocking, he always manages to break a few big runs to even things out. His two rushing touchdowns and three catches against Green Bay helped him turn in a 22.10-point PPR performance, although a critical lost fumble took a few points away. The Saints rank eighth in PPR points allowed to running backs, but Barkley’s volume still makes him a good play.
  • Alvin Kamara: Kamara has been inefficient this season, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and 2.48 yards after contact per carry. Still, he has an additional 63 receptions, giving him 966 scrimmage yards and six combined touchdowns in 10 games. He’s posted at least 17 PPR points in seven of his 10 games and has never gone below 10. The Giants rank 21st in PPR points per game allowed to running backs, although they are tied for the second-fewest receptions per game surrendered to the position. Kamara has a stable floor and a high ceiling.
  • Chris Olave: Olave had a mediocre day against the Panthers despite scoring a touchdown, as he posted just 28 receiving yards. Still, the Giants allow the fifth-most PPR points per game to receivers, and Olave is the Saints’ clear No. 1 wideout. He’s had at least eight targets in 10 of his 13 games this season. Derek Carr’s lack of touchdown passes and Olave’s mediocre touchdown total (4) limit his ceiling, but his volume makes him a pretty safe play against the Giants’ pass defense.

On the fence

  • Giants’ D/ST: The Saints rank 16th in fantasy points per game allowed to D/ST. They surrender the ninth-fewest sacks per game and rank 16th in turnovers and 15th in points per game. Everything is average, which usually means you can find better options.
  • Saints’ D/ST: The Packers’ defense did not manage a single sack against DeVito after the rookie took 26 sacks over his previous four games (three starts). The Saints are tied with the Giants for the third-fewest takedowns per game (1.8), which means that despite DeVito’s susceptibility to sacks, this week is not necessarily a great bet for them. The rookie has also protected the football reasonably well, as his 2.8% turnover-worthy play rate is in the middle of the pack for quarterbacks, while he hasn’t thrown an interception in his previous three starts. The Giants’ offense put up a respectable 24 points against the Packers and now faces a defense that allows virtually the same number of points per game as Green Bay (20.1 vs. 20.5, ranked 10th and 11th in the NFL, respectively). This could be a boom or bust pick.
  • Wan’Dale Robinson: Robinson is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season, putting up 17.50 PPR points against Green Bay. He should be a high-volume target as the Giants’ slot receiver, but that hasn’t been the case for him or any New York receiver. If there’s anyone who’s likely to rack up catches on this team, though, it would be Robinson. However, the Saints allow the fourth-fewest PPR points per game to receivers, so caveat fantasy emptor.
  • Darren Waller: The Giants’ tight end said he hopes to return this week. Obviously, you’d need to check on his status before inserting him in the lineup. Considering that Waller has battled hamstring injuries over the past two seasons, it’s difficult to trust him upon his return. Still, owners will remember his 22.80-point PPR performance against Washington in his last full game before the injury. DeVito has not played with Waller on the field, so it’s hard to gauge how that connection will go. Still, the tight end position is the Saints’ Achilles heel; they rank 22nd in PPR points per game allowed to the position.
  • Taysom Hill: The multi-dimensional Hill most recently posted a 15.40-point PPR effort against the Lions in Week 13. Unfortunately, he missed Week 14 due to injury, and his status for this game is unknown. If he does play, he’s a high-ceiling option simply because of the number of ways the Saints use him, but keep an eye on his health throughout the week.

Sit ‘em

  • Carr: It was revealed recently that Carr fractured three ribs this year. He’s been in and out of concussion protocol, dealt with shoulder injuries, and just generally been beaten up. He has four consecutive fantasy duds after a solid (if uninspiring) stretch from Weeks 5-9. Carr isn’t taking you anywhere in the playoffs, even in two-quarterback leagues and even facing the Giants’ pass defense. As a clincher, he has just 13 touchdown passes in 13 games.
  • Tommy DeVito: You can probably find a better option than DeVito, in which case he’s worth sitting. But if you’re desperate for a QB2, can Tommy Cutlets come through? DeVito put up 17.42 fantasy points against the Packers largely on the legs of his 71 rushing yards as well as a beautiful passing touchdown to Isaiah Hodgins. The issue is that the Saints allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. It’s possible that DeVito can up his game on the ground, though, as the Saints allow the third-most rushing yards per game to quarterbacks. Still, overall, DeVito should be a sit unless you have no other choice.
  • Saints’ other tight ends: The Saints seem to be playing musical tight ends. Hill, Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau, and Jimmy Graham have all seen snaps at the position. Moreau was the starter last week with Hill out. None of these players are trustworthy because of the variability in their snap counts and targets. The Giants’ defense is also the third-best in PPR points per game allowed to tight ends.
  • Rashid Shaheed: Shaheed is the Saints’ default WR2 with Michael Thomas on injured reserve. However, he’s missed the last two games due to a quad injury that’s more serious than it was initially thought. His status for this game is unknown, but either way, he’s not an overly reliable option.
  • The rest of the Giants’ receivers and tight ends: If Robinson is a possibility to start, none of the other Giants’ receivers deserve a shot. The Saints lock down opposing receivers in fantasy, and no Giants receiver ever has two good weeks in a row (most of them don’t even have one). Isaiah Hodgins has scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks but has still only managed 8.20 and 10.20-point performances, and he’s getting only 35% of the snaps. Darius Slayton has been targeted on just 12.9% of his routes all season and has a combined three touchdowns over the past two years. Jalin Hyatt went back into hibernation after his 100-yard game in Week 12. At tight end, if Waller doesn’t play, Daniel Bellinger has been a non-factor.

Around the NFL

  • Matthew Stafford is a strong start this week. He’s posted three consecutive games with at least 22 points, and he’s going against Washington’s 30th-ranked defense vs. quarterbacks.
  • Tua Tagovailoa, meanwhile, faces the best defense against quarterbacks, one that held him to 8.82 fantasy points just three weeks ago. He’ll be without center Connor Williams, who tore his ACL. Stay away. Rather, go with De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert, who will face the Jets’ 24th-ranked PPR defense against running backs. Mostert continues to be a touchdown machine; he has 16 on the ground and 2 through the air, including 2 rushing scores in the first Dolphins-Jets matchup.
  • Yea or nay on Joe Mixon? The Cincinnati running back has 20+ PPR points in three out of his past four games. He’s had at least 21 touches in those games, whereas he had only 10 touches in the lone outlier against Pittsburgh. Mixon gets at least 18 touches a game more often than not this season, and he averages 3.2 receptions for 25.2 yards per game. He has also scored eight combined touchdowns. Still, he faces the Vikings’ sixth-ranked PPR defense against running backs, with a more favorable matchup (15th) through the air. With Jake Browning coming off back-to-back strong performances, the quarterback may be the better bet despite the running back’s pedigree.
  • D.J. Moore’s ceiling and floor are widely disparate this week. With Justin Fields back, Moore has picked up right where he left off when Fields went down. He now has three consecutive weeks of 20+ PPR points. Still, he’s facing fantasy’s No. 2 defense against wide receivers in the Cleveland Browns. That’s a very risky play, even if the reward with Moore has often been extremely high.
  • David Njoku had 91 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 14, leading to a 27.10-point PPR explosion. Lost in the shuffle was that he had posted 10+ PPR points in six consecutive games before his Week 13 dud against the Rams. With Joe Flacco stabilizing the Browns’ passing game over the last couple of weeks, Njoku is worth a start in the playoffs, especially facing the Bears’ 20th-ranked defense against tight ends.
  • Picking a defense used to be as simple as looking at who the Jets and Giants were playing each week. With both teams coming off victories and solid offensive showings, the Jets are still likely worth doubling down on. They’re facing the Dolphins D/ST that scored 23 points against them in Week 12. Even with Zach Wilson back in the starting lineup over Tim Boyle and coming off the best game of his career, the Jets’ offensive floor has been so low that you should go for it. Another option is the Chiefs’ defense against the Patriots’ sputtering unit.