Staring at the standings on FantasyDraft can be a bit nerve-racking if sitting just slightly inside or outside the cash line of a contest but owning players from this game should ease those concerns. Assuming you find yourself in a situation where tonight’s game can make or break the weekend, here are my projections for the game tonight that will help make your likely fate abundantly more clear:
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants
Quarterbacks: According to Football Outsiders, this Monday night tilt features a battle between the 24th (Bengals) and 10th (Giants) passing defenses. Heading into this contest, the Giants have allowed 23 or more points to their opponents in five of the last six games and Andy Dalton is quite literally one of the most consistent QBs in daily fantasy football. Last year he did not fail to dip below 20 fantasy points in eight of his final 11 games and he now has eclipsed that total in four consecutive games this year as well. With A.J. Green drawing a solid individual matchup on paper and Tyler Eifert having been given a week off to further recover, another 20-plus fantasy point outing should be on the horizon. Meanwhile, Eli Manning has eclipsed 23.90 fantasy points in two of the last three games and the Bengals have allowed the 12th most passing yards per game and the seventh most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Most notably, the team has allowed 16 passing TDs. Both teams have enjoyed an extra day of rest and this one has all the makings of a shootout. Each of these QBs are in a great spot to succeed. Projections: Andy Dalton 24 fantasy points and Eli Manning 22 fantasy points
Running Backs: The Giants officially have a committee at the RB position as Rashad Jennings played 37 offensive snaps last week to Paul Perkins’ 22 and Bobby Rainey’s five. Last week, the team announced Perkins would see an increased workload and yet Jennings still ran most of the show (although he only produced 6.90 fantasy points on 14 touches). Although the Bengals are not exactly a stout running defense, this situation does not present much upside outside of a TD (and Jennings likely draws the goal line work). As for the Bengals, this matchup does not stand out for Jeremy Hill (Giants rank 13th in rushing DVOA) nor Giovani Bernard (Giants rank fifth in RB pass-catching DVOA). The ownership percentage rightfully favors Bernard because his skill set is more conducive to the PPR format and he has played 58.0-percent of the team’s offensive snaps to Hill’s 39.9-percent. With both passing games in an excellent spot, Bernard is likely to lead the backfield in touches so it seems reasonable to project him for a superior fantasy output than Hill. Projections: Giovani Bernard 13 fantasy points, Rashad Jennings 12 fantasy points, Jeremy Hill 10 fantasy points and Paul Perkins eight fantasy points
Wide Receivers: A.J. Green draws one of the handful of most favorable individual matchups this week against Eli Apple according to Pro Football Focus although Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) suggests the Giants are formidable against opposing number one WRs. Assuming Dalton enjoys a productive evening, it will be because he is able to connect with Green early and often. Both of the secondary receivers draw less-than-ideal matchups against excellent corners so luck and/or variance would have to factor into a productive performance for them. As for the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. is a seemingly risky proposition this week against a Bengals team that ranks first in DVOA against number one WRs and have only allowed 53.0 yards per game to the position. Strangely, neither Adam Jones nor Dre Kirkpatrick have graded all that favorably so this could simply be a matter of opponents. The absence of Victor Cruz means more targets will be funneled towards both Beckham and Sterling Shepard. Of the two, Shepard is the better value due to his six-plus targets in every game since Week 1 but both could easily go off tonight. If sitting slightly outside the money tonight and rostering a Giants receiver, it should be smooth sailing. Projections: Odell Beckham Jr. 22 fantasy points, A.J. Green 22 fantasy points, Sterling Shepard 14 fantasy points and Brandon LaFell eight fantasy points
Tight Ends: The bye week could prove to be a huge boost for Tyler Eifert and his fantasy prospects because it gave him an extra week to get healthy. He missed the first five games after recovering from ankle surgery and then suffered a back injury somewhere along the way. Nevertheless, Eifert eclipsed 100 yards receiving and scored a TD in his last game so he already was feeling okay. Defending the TE is not the Giants’ forte as the rank below average overall so he should be able to manage a respectable game. On the other hand, Will Tye has surpassed the other TEs on the depth chart and is sort of the lone guy at this point. He was worth rostering this week solely because he was starting, listed at minimum price and the Bengals rank 29th in DVOA to the position. Quietly, Tye could matchup Eifert’s output at a much more affordable price tag. Projections: Tyler Eifert 13 fantasy points and Will Tye 10 fantasy points
Defense: Neither defense was worthy of consideration this week and both are about zero-percent owned on FantasyDraft. Again, the offenses should reign supreme in this contest.
Final Score Projection: Cincinnati Bengals 27, New York Giants 24