Game Predictions & Player Projections - NYG vs. MIN

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: NYG 16, MIN 23 (Line: MIN by 4, O/U = 43)

UPDATE: Rashad Jennings was limited in practices so far but still has Saturday since this is a Monday night game. I am removing him from the projections for now but may revisit it on Saturday. This is a bad matchup and his thumb is still an issue which would have an obvious impact on his rushing and receiving. I am adding Bobby Rainey but Paul Perkins could also be involved no matter if Jennings is available or not. The loss of Shane Vereen and potentially Jennings is a big downgrade to the Giants this week.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Jennings had another limited session and will be a game time decision. I am not adding him back into the projections.

The 2-1 Giants lost their chance to remain unbeaten when they allowed the 0-2 Redskins to win in New York. The 3-0 Vikings defy categorization since they have lost their starting running back and quarterback and have never looked better. The Vikings will win this game, the tough part is guessing exactly how it happens. This is the Monday night game so the scoring could nudge higher.

The Vikings won 49-17 when the Giants visited in Week 16 last year.

New York Giants

1 @DAL 20-19 10 CIN ---
2 NO 16-13 11 CHI ---
3 WAS 27-29 12 @CLE ---
4 @MIN --- 13 @PIT ---
5 @GB --- 14 DAL ---
6 BAL --- 15 DET ---
7 @LA --- 16 @PHI ---
8 BYE --- 17 @WAS ---
9 PHI ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 230,1
RB Orleans Darkwa 30 1-10
RB Paul Perkins 20 2-20
WR Odell Beckham Jr 6-70,1
WR Brandon Marshall 4-50
WR Sterling Shepard 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Giants squeaked their way to their first two wins but couldn't get the magic a third time. Now the schedule gets worse with three of the next four games on the road against good defenses and a home stand against the currently unbeaten Ravens. The Giants are turning in solid yardage every week but getting those touchdowns have been elusive. The defense is improved from 2015 and that keeps them in the game but the lack of a rushing game and erratic play at quarterback will be hard to overcome for the next month.

QUARTERBACK : Eli Manning turned in over 350 passing yards in each of the last two games but only scored once and both were at home versus softer defenses. He's gone to using almost nothing more than the three starting wide receivers with decent results but there isn't enough help elsewhere. Losing Shane Vereen means the only back with a role as a receiver is gone as well.

RUNNING BACK : Shane Vereen is gone for the season with a torn triceps and HC Ben McAdoo said they would just rely on a committee to replace him. Since they already had a committee, it sounds like no real change other than deciding if any back will assume the pass catching role. That would most likely be Rashad Jennings but he missed last week with a thumb injury but is expected back for this Sunday. Orleans Darkwa lands a spot in the rotation and he ran for 53 yards and a score on ten carries in the loss to the Redskins. Bobby Rainey could end up as a receiver as well since he had two receptions last week with no carries.

The bottom line is that this has been a very mediocre group but the loss of Vereen could benefit Jennings who is much more talented than Rainey or Darkwa. His playing status should be clearer by the end of the week but I will assume he can play with no real limitation and update as needed.

WIDE RECEIVER : This is the offense. This is who to stop to beat the Giants. Odell Beckham comes off a season best seven catches for 121 yards despite the presence of CB Josh Norman on most plays. He still has yet to score. Sterling Shepard hasn't had a bad game yet. He scored in the Cowboys and Redskins games and broke 100 yards in the win over the Saints. Victor Cruz still is locked at four receptions but averaged 80 yards over the last two games. No other wide receiver has even had one pass.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This will be a challenge. The Vikings are outstanding against the pass and their only other home game had them limit Aaron Rodgers to only 213 yards and one score. The Vikings already have 15 sacks and five interceptions on the season.This is Manning's second road trip and the toughest defense he's faced by a large margin.

The Vikings have not allowed any running backs to rush in a score though two quarterbacks did. No running back gained more than 50 yards on them and the Giants would do well enough to just reach that level in an easy matchup.

Odell Beckham is a must start but this will be a very tough matchup. The Vikes just held Kelvin Benjamin to zero catches. No wideout gained more than 76 yards on them and this is a home game. Beckham is the only reasonable start since the risk is high for a bad game for any of the receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 20 19 3 21 20 32
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 19 11 5 16 5 4

Minnesota Vikings

1 @TEN 25-16 10 @WAS ---
2 GB 17-14 11 ARI ---
3 @CAR 22-10 12 @DET ---
4 NYG --- 13 DAL ---
5 HOU --- 14 @JAC ---
6 BYE --- 15 IND ---
7 @PHI --- 16 @GB ---
8 @CHI --- 17 CHI ---
9 DET ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 240,1
RB Jerick McKinnon 50 1-10
RB Latavius Murray 50,1 1-10
WR Stefon Diggs 4-80,1
WR Adam Thielen 4-50
TE Kyle Rudolph 7-80

Pregame Notes: The Vikings are 3-0 after beating the Panthers in Carolina. The offense is doing little more than not turning the ball over and then either scoring with Stefon Diggs or Kyle Rudolph. The defense not only leads the way but has only allowed an average of about 13 points per game and two of those were on the road. The fantasy fortunes are slim here other than when Diggs facing softer matchups and the hopes that Jerick McKinnon can do some damage once the schedule lightens up which it really doesn't do until the final six weeks.

QUARTERBACK : Sam Bradford didn't replicate his debut when he passed for 286 yards and two scores in the win over the Packers. But passing for 171 yards and one score - with no turnovers - was good enough to beat the Panthers. So long as the defense continues to dominate, the offense only needs to not make a mistake and take advantage of when their opponents do.

RUNNING BACK : Jerick McKinnon only gained 45 yards on 16 carries in his first start of the year but that was in Carolina and Matt Asiata was only given six runs that gained 15 yards. Both backs only had one catch so whatever they generate is going to be via rushing. The beefier Asiata will take the goal line role as he did in 2014 when he scored nine times but McKinnon will provide most of the yardage. The two combined still would not equal Adrian Peterson.

WIDE RECEIVER : As expected, Stefon Diggs cooled off when faced with the Panthers secondary and only managed four catches for 40 yards. This was after a pair of 100-yard efforts to start the year. No other wideout remotely matters here. Charles Johnson totaled three catches for 20 yards on the year. Adam Thielen is marginally better and yet not nearly fantasy relevant.

Laquon Treadwell still has not caught a pass and has not been active. He could become a factor later in the year and the passing offense could use the help. But he hasn't earned the trust of the coaches yet and may not for a while. With all the changes in the offense, this is not a good time to groom a rookie wideout when minimizing mistakes is so important.

TIGHT END : Kyle Rudolph just gets better. His first game with Sam bradford resulted in three catches for 31 yards and a score. In Carolina, he led the team with seven receptions for 70 yards and scored again. All it takes is two touchdowns to be the leading scorer for the offense.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Giants defense is better this year but this is their first time away from home since the opener when they faced a rookie quarterback. But going against the Saints and Redskins only allowed a total of three passing scores and no rushing touchdowns. This is a better Giants defense and the Vikings are down to only two weapons in the passing game.

This is a home game for the Vikings so that should help the offense. But Sam Bradford and Jerick McKinnon are only moderate starts if even that. Both Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph are to be considered. The Giants have not allowed a passing score to a tight end yet and just held Jordan Reed to only 56 yards on four catches so only expect moderate yardage from Rudolph. Diggs is easily the best bet for a touchdown and is safe to start in any home game at the very least.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 32 28 8 14 1
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 9 3 20 15 32 21

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