Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you're playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props. If you're just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the "Forecast" sections below where I project each player's PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions.
Patriots (28.75 implied points, -17 spread) vs. NYG
Update: Rex Burkhead has been ruled out. Sony Michel has a higher floor and ceiling. Michel is an upside RB2. James White's outlook is also better as an RB2. Brandon Bolden is a single-slate DFS punt play option, but his only rushing touchdown came on a sweep, not while lined up in the backfield.
The matchup for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing offense is as friendly as it gets. The Giants’ defense is in the bottom 10th percentile in pass efficiency and is dead last at preventing 20+ yard plays. Sure, the Giants’ offense won’t make this a shootout, and sure, there is a little rain and some wind in the forecast, but this is a high-floor, reasonably high-ceiling game for Brady. He’s squarely in the mix as a QB1/2 with the Patriots’ 28.75 team total. … There’s also room for the running backs to get going here.
Rex Burkhead (foot) is questionable to return, but even if he does suit up, the Patriots could shy away from using him as often as they did before his injury if it’s raining, especially since Sony Michel is coming off his best game of the season. Michel has seen at least 15 carries in 4-of-5 games and offers plenty of touchdown equity as 17-point home favorites. Michel is an upside RB2. … This doesn’t set up as a huge James White game given the point spread, but White will be a part of the Patriots’ game plan early. He’s a complete mismatch against the Giants’ linebackers and has at least 11.9 PPR points in all four of his 2019 games. White is an RB2. ... Brandon Bolden has a four-yard touchdown this year, but it was on a sweep when he was lined up in the slot, not when he was lined up as a running back. I'd still put almost all my eggs into the Michel basket when it comes to goal-line rushing touchdowns.
Julian Edelman offers a high floor as Brady’s No. 1 target and still offers a high ceiling even in projected lopsided games, as we saw last week in Washington (8-110-1 on 9 targets). The Giants’ defense is second to last at stopping fantasy WRs and they have a distinct soft spot in their coverage short and in the middle of the field (see heatmap below), making Edelman a strong WR1/2 option this week at home.
Josh Gordon (knee) is expected to play, and he’s the best bet to take advantage of the NFL’s worst defense at preventing 20+ yard plays. Gordon is a boom-or-bust WR3 who has been unluckily held without a touchdown since Week 1. ... No Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) means Jakobi Meyers will slide into a lot more playing time in Week 6. Meyers, who caught 92 passes at NC State last year as a redshirt junior, was talked up this offseason and offers boom-or-bust appeal in deep leagues and Thursday Night only DFS tournaments. … The Patriots are going full YOLO at tight end after cutting Ben Watson. Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse are viable low-priced punt plays for DFS tournaments in Brady stacks.
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Giants (11.75, +17) vs. NE
Even if the Giants were healthy, they were doomed going into New England to face one of the best defenses in the NFL on a short week. But they will now be without Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram. There’s no way we’re starting Daniel Jones in fantasy with the Giants’ 11.75 team total. … Wayne Gallman is also out, so Johnathan Hilliman will draw the start. Game script and talent (Rutgers transfer with a college YPC of 3.5) aren’t on his side. Hilliman is a volume-based RB3/4.
Targets are up for grabs, but they will be inefficient against the Patriots. Golden Tate is the favorite to lead the team in all receiving categories, but his chemistry with Jones looked off last week in his season debut. The Giants should scheme touches for him regardless and the Patriots' defense has allowed cheap receptions underneath this season (see heatmap above), making Tate a volume-based WR4. … Darius Slayton is the No. 2 option, and he’ll operate mostly downfield as a field stretcher. His probably will be Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots’ safeties. Slayton needs a big play to cash in as a dart throw in single-game DFS tournaments and the Patriots’ defense is in the top 10% at preventing 20+ yard pass plays. … Targets beyond these two are too thin to mention.
The rest of the Fantasy Football Forecast will be posted on Friday.