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Wild Card Preview: New York Giants at Green Bay

Here is the Wild Card preview for the fifth-seed New York Giants at the NFC North champions Green Bay.

Quarterback

If you read our wild card hot takes article, you’ll see Anthony Amico predicted Eli Manning out scores Aaron Rodgers. And, no offense to Mr. Amico, but I think that’s a pretty lukewarm take. Why? Because I agree, and I don’t think it’s that far out of the realm of possibility.

Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood (Lambeau Field) has always been kind to him, especially in cold weather. So certainly there’s an angle to exploit there in favor of Rodgers. But there’s another, much larger and more concerning angle that makes me want to be underweight on my Rodgers exposure. On DraftKings, Rodgers costs $7900, which is his highest price point since Week 1. That’s concerning because if we look at FantasyLabs’ plus/minus metric, we see that the Giants allow a -4.0 to opposing QBs. Since plus/minus is also salary adjusted, that means the Giants have allowed QBs to score an average of four points below their salary based expectation. In other words, the Giants are a defensive unit in which QB salaries should be adjusted downward, but Rodgers’ salary has been adjusted up because of his solid recent performances. That said, Rodgers is still certainly viable in multi-week leagues where he’s a strong start if the Packers advance to the Divisional Round.

Manning, on the other hand, faces a Packers defense that gives up the seventh most points to the QB position. Add to that some beneficial individual matchups for his receivers, which we’ll get into, and I certainly prefer a lower-owned Manning to a higher-owned Rodgers. I also think Manning is a fine play in multi-week leagues, and could be a nice contrarian play while others use the more popular QBs should the Giants advance.

Running Back

As Ben Gretch noted in his Wild Card betting lines article, the New York Giants have a terribly low rushing TD expectation. Add in a committee-based approach, and it’s really hard to recommend any backs from the visiting Giants. I guess it’s always possible an effective passing game produces a couple of scoring opportunities from inside the 5-yard line (like what happened to David Johnson in Week 16), but it’s certainly the extremely contrarian scenario. Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins should be low exposure, contrarian plays only, as part of a more broad storyline to your roster construction around how the game plays out. In multi-week leagues, you can probably take a stab at one or the other, but there are enough backs with more well-defined situations who could play in multiple games that I don’t think it’s necessary.

On the other side, Ty Montgomery is somewhat of an enigma to me. I can never seem to tell when he’ll bust out for a monster game, or put up a relative dud even in a nice matchup. His yards per carry is phenomenal, but he hasn’t seen the required volume to be a steady producer. I think the best way to play him is to have moderate exposure, approximately equal with the field. He certainly has the capability to bust big plays, and if he sees a volume uptick, could be a strong addition to your GPP lineups.

Wide Receiver

I referenced the good matchups for the Giants’ receivers so let’s just dive into those. First, I’m sure the Giants will move Odell Beckham around to get him a large percentage of snaps against Damarious Randall, who rates poorly in all three of Pro Football Focus’ metrics for defensive backs. Next, Sterling Shepard has a great slot matchup against Micah Hyde who also rates poorly in the two more predictive of the three metrics, targets per route and fantasy points per route allowed. Shepard is also quite reasonably priced, and is always an end zone threat.

On the Green Bay side, Jordy Nelson is an interesting fade candidate in DFS GPPs. He’ll be highly owned, and in a tough matchup where Janoris Jenkins will likely shadow Nelson, his upside is capped. That doesn’t mean he can’t find the end zone, but it probably won’t come with 100 yards and/or a hefty amount of receptions. I like taking shots with the rest of the Packers’ more reliable receivers, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb (if he plays a full workload) in the event the Giants put up a lot of points.

Tight End

In addition to Adams and Cobb, Jared Cook is also a fine start. The Giants have struggled mightily against the TE all year. Cook has seen a bit of a resurgence, with 21 targets in his past three games. That volume works great in all fantasy formats.

The Giants TEs haven’t produced all year, so Will Tye and the rest of the Giants’ lackluster TEs should all be fades in any fantasy format, despite a matchup that isn’t horrible.

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