StrategyOctober 23, 2004


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Spotlight Game: Detroit at New York Giants

By Dave McGrath

Each week, Dave offers a preview of several of the week’s most interesting contests, offering his take on fantasy performances, potential sleepers and, of course, the game’s outcome.

Detroit

Joey Harrington: Harrington has struggled recently, and he faces a revamped Giants defense that has managed to improve in spite of the loss of safety Shaun Williams for the year. However, Harrington will hopefully have Roy Williams back to help out on the receiving end this week. It should be a decent day for Harrington: 180 yards, a TD and an interception.

Kevin Jones/Artose Pinner: Kevin Jones came back to action last week, splitting carries with Pinner. Expect him to play a larger role this Sunday as his health continues to improve. Although Jones has been a disappointment to fantasy owners, the Giants allow 4.9 yards per carry, a promising sign for Jones owners who are waiting for him to break out. I’m looking for Jones’ first quality game. He’ll put up 85 yards on 20 carries and score a TD. Pinner will once again be relegated to backup duty, but he will see 15-20 yards on 4-5 carries as well as some receiving opportunities out of the backfield.

Detroit WRs: Roy Williams is listed as questionable, but I expect him to play. If he does, expect him to register 75 yards receiving with some red zone looks. If he isn’t able to take the field, expect Harrington’s production to plummet. Az-Zahir Hakim took advantage of Williams’ absence last week by gaining 49 yards on four catches with a TD. Expect Hakim to put up about 40 yards this week, but expect a boost to that total if Williams is out. As for Tai Streets, he is not worth a fantasy look until he puts up more impressive totals.

Stephen Alexander: Alexander is not a viable TE option at this point. Ten grabs for 62 yards on the season will not do the job.

Defense: The Lions D will try to slow down Tiki Barber, and might have some success since they allow only 3.7 yards per carry. However, they have problems defending the pass and may need to blitz Warner to get him out of his early season rhythm. The Giants have shown cohesion as an offense in past weeks, however, so starting another defense might be the way to go. If you have no choice, expect a couple of sacks coupled with a turnover.

New York

Kurt Warner: Warner finds himself with a quality match-up here, facing a vulnerable passing defense in Detroit. Expect him to find Toomer frequently here. A decent fantasy week for Warner: 205 with a TD will please his owners who need a bye week/injury fill-in.

Tiki Barber: Tiki is leading the league with 577 yards on the ground, and he is averaging six yards per carry doing it. However, that number will drop this week against an underrated Detroit run defense. His owners don’t need to worry though, because his ability to catch out of the backfield will make up for any difficulties he has running the ball. A definite start again: 22 carries for only 75 yards, but he will snag about 40 more through the air with a TD. Watch out for his fumble-free streak to come to an end though.

New York WRs: Amani Toomer is on his way to another 1000 yards this season, but his lack of trips to the end zone has left fantasy owners disappointed. This streak ends this week as Toomer goes for 75 yards and his first trip to pay dirt. Ike Hilliard once again will play the supporting role as he chalks up about 40-50 yards. Unfortunately, he is not worth a starting spot (or even a bench spot, in some cases) unless you are in a larger league.

Jeremy Shockey: After complaining about the offense early in the season, Shockey has picked up his play considerably (two TDs along with 120 yards in the past two games), once again staking his place in the game as a top five TE. Another token day for Shockey, 50 yards with multiple red zone looks.

Defense: Not a bad start, although I would look for another defense to play. They will have a day similar to Detroit’s. A couple of sacks and a turnover.

Sleepers:
Eddie Drummond: If you are in a league that rewards return yardage, he is your man. Drummond currently ranks second in the league in kick return avg at 29.0 yards per return.

Prediction

This one will be close throughout. In my opinion, the Giants are not as good as their record indicates, so I like the upset here. This resilient Lions team rebounds from the blowout last week: Lions 23, Giants 20. (Note: there is potential for rain in New York during this game, so look for a slight emphasis on the running game if the field conditions are affected).

 
Dave McGrath is a freshman at LaSalle University, and will be previewing several games in this way each week. He holds the distinction of being the only Cincinnati Bengals fan in Philadelphia.

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