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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 29, the day the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

—Giants left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg have been ruled out of today’s game, meaning that both teams will be without the left guard and center they started the season with. The Giants will shuffle the interior of their line, flipping right guard Geoff Schwartz from right guard to left, putting John Jerry at right guard, and plugging Dallas Reynolds in a center. I’ve been asked if the Redskins will try to blitz Eli Manning up the middle to try to take advantage of Jerry and Reynolds. I think they will try but Manning gets rid of the ball so quickly that it may be a futile effort. It’s probably better to keep defenders back in coverage.

—The more defenders you have on Odell Beckham Jr. the better. Manning to Beckham is the big edge the visitors will have today. Eventually Scot McCloughan would like to get the types of big, physical cornerbacks who can handle a receiver like Beckham. But today they don’t have anyone. Bashaud Breeland will try to break a string of three straight 100-yard games for the second-year receiver.

—Then again, Kirk Cousins should be able to pick out a target and make some hay all day against a Giants pass defense that is the worst in the NFL in terms of yards allowed. Part of their problem is that they don’t get much of a pass rush; they are tied for last in the NFL with 12 sacks.

—A good possibility for the player to be Cousins’ favorite target today is tight end Jordan Reed. He’s usually the QB’s preferred target anyway but the Giants have seen allowed the second-most fantasy points in the league to tight ends this year. In Week 3 in the Meadowlands this year Reed had his best day of the season in terms of yards gained, with six catches for 96 yards. On a side note, to the surprise of many, Reed was not on the injury report this week after leaving the Panthers game for a while with a knee injury. Perhaps he is learning to take care of himself, a good sign for his longevity in the NFL.

—The Giants are favored by 2.5 points. There is a perception out there that they are really a much better team than their 5-5 record indicates because they led at the two-minute warning in four of their five losses. But in terms of points they have scored 273 and given up 253. When your point differential is roughly equal at this point in the season that means that you are about a .500 team. Their record is no fluke. Giving up late leads also means that their defense isn’t very good. Cousins, Reed, DeSean Jackson, Matt Jones, and the rest should be able to move the ball against them. I’ve been saying the Giants will win all week but the call this morning is to take the Redskins plus the 2.5 with the expectation that they get the outright win in a shootout.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Giants, 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears 14; Bills @ Redskins 21

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.