Before you even open a Showdown contest page tonight, do me a quick favor. All I want to know is: How many active Giants skill position players you think you could list off the top of your head? First and last names by the way, I’m not as kind as the in-studio judge at “Family Feud.” It’s harder than you thought, right? Just think of all the injuries they’ve endured the past two weeks. Saquon Barkley is out with a high ankle sprain, Evan Engram is sidelined with an MCL sprain, Sterling Shepard suffered a concussion last weekend, as did back-up running back and Week 4 waiver wire hero Wayne Gallman. New York only has three guys priced above even $6K this evening, and one of those is its quarterback. That’s already painfully bleak, but, to make matters worse, the Giants draw the Patriots on a short week — a squad outscoring opponents by a whopping 24.2 points per game.
I mean, David Tyree’s probably not doing anything right now. Maybe give him a call?
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
New England Patriots
When selecting Patriots players to put into your lineups, it’s not so much about who is going to thrive, but who is going to thrive the most. No one’s in a bad matchup. No one’s a risk to fail. This is the beauty of picking options off a roster with the second-highest projected team total for Week 6. Still, it all begins and ends with Tom Brady ($11,800). The veteran QB justifiably is positioned as this slate’s highest-priced asset as he’s taken advantage of every single suspect defense he’s faced so far in 2019; and that’s quite the lengthy list of opponents. Aside from a 4.7 DKFP dud against the Bills, who own the league’s third-best pass defense according to DVOA, Brady methodically has slaughtered the Steelers, the Dolphins, the Jets and the Redskins. He averaged 26.1 DKFP in those four contests, never seeing his output dip below 23.0 DKFP. So, with the Giants in possession of Football Outsiders’ fourth-worst pass defense, we should continue to see Brady succeed, even with a questionable offensive line protecting him. New York is allowing an eye-popping 9.1 opponent passing yards per attempt, the highest non-Miami figure in the entire NFL. It also has surrendered 336.0 yards through the air on a per-game basis if you exclude the contest where Dwayne Haskins was thrown to the wolves two Sundays back. There’s no possible way this unit makes Brady even work up a sweat.
A good Brady performance equates to value amongst his wide receivers, yet figuring out which of Julian Edelman ($10,400) or Josh Gordon ($9,000) is in a better situation this evening is difficult. While it might feel like Edelman’s severely out-played Gordon through the the first five weeks of the season, the duo’s numbers are actually shockingly similar. Where the former is averaging 8.4 yards per target, the latter is putting up 8.8. Edelman might get a few more looks from Brady, but he’s run only six more routes than Gordon’s 186; and while the Kent State product is amassing 2.44 PPR fantasy points per touch, his teammate’s up at 2.66. There’s also the specific matter of Gordon likely drawing a lot of attention from Janoris Jenkins in tonight’s tilt. Jenkins has surrendered 0.58 fantasy points per route covered — the worst mark of any non-slot CB in 2019. However, it’s necessary to again note no one New England puts out there will be in a negative environment. Jakobi Meyers ($4,800) should start with the injury to Phillip Dorsett, and the rookie probably will see a lot of DeAndre Baker — a man who happens to be PFF’s lowest graded qualified corner. This is simply the nature of facing a secondary that’s allowed an NFL-high 11.4 yards per pass attempt to opposing wideouts.
Really, it’s a “problem” we see going all the way down to running back. There’s a case to be made this is both a Sony Michel ($7,600) script and a James White ($6,800) script. Both have benefitted throughout their careers when Rex Burkhead ($3,400) has been inactive, so his questionable tag is something to keep an eye on as we inch closer to kickoff; but each RB is seriously in a smash spot. For Michel, the Giants are giving up 4.77 adjusted line yards per carry, a number that’s the second-highest total among all NFC teams. For White, New York has surrendered 10.2 yards per pass attempt to opposing backfields, a figure that clocks in as the worst mark in all of football. Michel’s touched the ball 15-plus times in four of the Patriots’ five games this year and finally became involved in the passing attack last week with three catches. White leads the team in red zone targets (6). Honestly, which of the two you choose comes down to your build. White pairs better with Brady, especially if you have the pivot as your Captain’s Pick, while Michel, unlike White, provides the elevated floor to actually be bestowed 1.5x value. Yes, Bill Belichick’s not exactly known for his tendency to take his foot off the gas in the second half, yet you’re unlikely to find a script more friendly to Michel’s archetype than “two-touchdown home favorite.”
New York Giants
Here’s the issue when it comes to Daniel Jones ($8,000) on this slate: You think there’s going to be the opportunity for some garbage time points in the second half against New England, but there never is. The Patriots haven’t allowed a passing touchdown through the first five weeks of the season, and only Ben Roethlisberger has been able to muster even 160 yards against the unit. Has the level of competition been absolute trash aside from Big Ben? Of course. Yet, it’s hard to imagine Jones posing much of a threat, either — especially with how Belichick’s defenses have treated rookie QBs in the recent past. Going back to the beginning of the 2013 campaign, New England has faced a first-year quarterback 10 times. Of those games, two of the young pivots left early due to injury; however, the other eight averaged only 202.1 passing yards and combined for seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Granted, Geno Smith’s questionable abilities have little to do with Jones, but let’s just say there isn’t much of a precedent for rookies succeeding in this spot. It’s also simply not logical to utilize a team’s highest-priced player against a defense of this caliber. Patriots DST ($6,200) has been a force to this point in the calendar, limiting opponents to 6.8 points and 4.1 yards per play — both easily the lowest marks in the league. A salary of $8K is too many dimes. Sorry, Danny.
The key with New York’s fantasy assets this evening is pretty straightforward. They need to be cheap so you can cram as many New England players into your lineups as possible. Take Golden Tate ($7,000) for example. Is there a chance Tate sees double-digit targets with so many massive absences in the Giants’ depth chart? Yes. There certainly is. However, that level of volume still doesn’t make Tate viable considering his microscopic aDOT and his even smaller chances of getting into the end zone. Not to mention he’ll be seeing a lot of Jonathan Jones in the slot, who has surrendered a mere 0.07 fantasy points per route covered so far in 2019 — the lowest figure for any qualified CB. That’s not to necessarily suggest Darius Slaton ($6,000) or Cody Latimer ($800) will have an easier assignment in Jason McCourty or Stephon Gilmore, but at least the former has big-play potential and the latter doesn’t put a strain on your salary cap. The Patriots also have allowed the second-most targets to opposing WRs entering Week 6 — along with inducing an NFL-high 69.3% opponent pass rate — so, at the very least, there will be volume.
Still, it’s Rhett Ellison ($200) who might end up being the biggest beneficiary of these aforementioned injury woes. Though some of this lies in Engram’s ability to get open, since Jones took over the reigns in Week 3, no NFC team has targeted the tight end position more than the Giants, who have done so 32 times within that span. The Patriots have, in general, been stout versus the position through five matchups. They have surrendered 10.7 yards per attempt to TEs in 2019 — the fourth-highest rate in football. When Engram most recently missed a game in Week 13 of 2018, Ellison played 94.4% of New York’s offensive snaps and hauled in four of his six targets. It was a different QB, but, at the same time, Ellison might have to be treated like a “free space” on tonight’s slate considering his price point.
Finally, we get to running back. It can’t be ignored that Jon Hilliman ($5,800) out-snapped Elijhaa Penny ($3,200) 43-to-20 following Gallman’s aliment last week, yet the ceiling for an RB in a game script this negative is comically low. New England has given up the second-fewest adjusted line yards of any team to this point in the season (3.28) and, while we don’t have much of a profile on Hilliman at the professional level, it’s not like he was hyper-involved in the passing attack at Rutgers or Boston College. I’m clearly not very high on Jones, but I’d rather run back a Patriots stack with he and Ellison than Hilliman.
This is going to be a rout. Remember how I mentioned earlier that few rookie QBs can claim to have had success against New England? Well, Belichick is 12-0 against first-year pivots at Gillette Stadium for his career. That really says it all. As such, there’s three different routes you can go with selecting a Captain for this evening’s slate: Tom Brady ($17,700 CP), Sony Michel ($11,400 CP) or Patriots DST ($9,300 CP). Then it’s a matter of mixing and matching the leftover pieces of that offense to round out your team; just make sure you also get a sprinkle of Rhett Ellison or Cody Latimer.
Final Score: New England 38, New York 7
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