The Philadelphia Eagles found the end zone twice in the first quarter on Thursday night and were able to narrowly hold off the New York Giants to end a five-game losing streak and secure a 24-19 win.
The Giants topped the Eagles in most statistical categories in this NFC East matchup, which unfortunately included turnovers as a trio of Eli Manning interceptions prevented New York from adding points on the scoreboard. The first of Manning’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Jenkins and Eli’s final pick of the night was hauled in by Terrence Brooks and ended the game. Manning finished the night with a beefy total of 63 pass attempts, 17 more than any other game this season, and completed 38 passes for 356 yards with a lone touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. Of Manning’s 63 passes, 20 were sent in Odell Beckham’s direction as the star wide receiver caught 11 passes for 150 yards. The 20 targets were one shy of Beckham’s career high, and fantasy owners were stuffed with points from their top-end wide out despite Beckham not finding the end zone.
Giants RB Paul Perkins handled the majority of the Giants’ backfield work on Thursday, running 15 times for 68 yards while adding one catch for nine yards. Backfield mate Rashad Jennings saw 13 touches on the night but managed just 51 total yards. The Giants backfield has shifted into Perkins’ favor as December moves along although none of the backs in this bunch have been overwhelming from a fantasy standpoint.
Philadelphia didn’t do much to help fantasy squads in championship week with the Eagles mustering up just 286 yards of total offense. QB Carson Wentz threw 39 fewer passes than Eli Manning, finishing with 152 yards and a touchdown that was miraculously not dropped by Nelson Agholor. Jordan Matthews led the Eagles in targets with six, but snagged just two passes for 12 yards in an uninspiring effort as he deals with ankle troubles. After seeing an average of 9.7 targets per game over his last six outings, tight end Zach Ertz was targeted just twice against the Giants, catching both passes for 33 yards as fantasy owners were left disappointed. Ryan Mathews rumbled for 46 yards on 18 carries before leaving the game late with a stinger. Mathews will keep control of the Philadelphia backfield as the season heads to Week 17.
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Giants at Eagles Quick Slants
Victor Cruz saw 13 targets, the third-highest total of his career, and caught eight passes for 84 yards in his finest performance of the season. … Darren Sproles received nine touches which he turned into 63 total yards as he worked alongside Ryan Mathews in the Philadelphia backfield. … Rookie Sterling Shepard caught seven of 11 targets for 61 yards and a score. Eli Manning has 26 touchdown passes on the season, with eight of them ending up in the hands of Shepard. … Nelson Agholor’s touchdown was his first since Week 1 and third of his career.
In Other News…
Two premier wide receivers have been absent from fantasy lineups in the playoffs but could be returning to a field near you this weekend. Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (hamstring) was limited on Thursday but appears ready to return to game action this weekend, although his expected workload remains a mystery. Julio Jones (toe) is also expected to play on Saturday for the first time since Week 13, creating further complications for fantasy owners who are apprehensive about the two stars seeing limited reps. Jones was rumored to be close to playing in previous weeks, so he appears to be a safer bet to see a nearly full workload this weekend, with Green looking like more of a risk in terms of expected snap count on Saturday. Inserting either of these stud receivers into your lineup will depend on other options available, but both are likely worth starting in most circumstances with fantasy titles on the line.
Melvin Gordon (hip, knee) missed practice again on Thursday and is not expected to play in Week 16 after injuries forced him to exit early in Week 14. Fantasy owners searching for running back help can now look to Kenneth Farrow to be their fantasy hero in Week 16, as the Chargers will match up with the horrendous Cleveland run defense this week. Farrow led the Chargers’ backfield with 17 touches in Week 15, and will likely remain in charge of the split with Ronnie Hillman this week against the Cleveland defense that is 31st in run defense and has allowed 493 rushing yards on 6.3 yards per carry since their Week 13 bye.
Jordan Reed (shoulder) missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday this week, and Washington coach Jay Gruden reportedly doesn’t sound “optimistic” about the chances of Reed playing in Week 16. After missing Week 13, Reed hammered owners in the fantasy playoffs by delivering just one catch for 10 yards in Week 14 and one catch for six yards in Week 15 as he played with visible pain due to the shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving. Even if Reed is declared “active” on Saturday, he will not be worth the risk of starting as the likelihood of another disappointing performance is extremely high.
Raiders wide receivers Michael Crabtree (finger) and Amari Cooper (shoulder) were limited at practice on Thursday but should be good to go in Week 16 against Indianapolis. … Lamar Miller (ankle) missed practice on Thursday and is now a dicey bet for Week 16. The Texans will likely look to Alfred Blue or Akeem Hunt in a messy committee if Miller is scratched. … Greg Olsen (elbow) did not practice on Thursday but is reportedly expected to play against Atlanta this week. … Matt Forte (knee, shoulder) was sidelined again on Thursday and will likely give way to Bilal Powell again in Week 16. … Tyler Eifert (back) was absent at Thursday’s practice and needs to be monitored as game day approaches. … Donte Moncrief (hamstring) is “ready to go” for Week 16, per coach Chuck Pagano. Moncrief will be a risky Week 16 fantasy option. … Steelers TE Ladarius Green (concussion) did not practice on Thursday and is looking like a long shot to suit up in Week 16, leaving Jesse James to handle the Pittsburgh tight end duties once again. … Theo Riddick (wrist) remained out on Thursday and appears likely to miss a third-straight game, leaving Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner in charge of the Lions’ backfield once again. … Houston tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) is fully practicing and should be in the mix this week as a borderline TE1 against Cincinnati. … Rams QB Jared Goff (concussion) has been cleared to start in Week 16 against San Francisco after being knocked from Week 15’s game at Seattle.