Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Both teams rank in the bottom seven in pass rate over expectation.
- The Giants hold the league’s fifth highest overall rush rate while the Commanders rank 11th.
- The Commanders boast a stout run defense while the Giants have been gashed on the ground.
- The Giants have generated the fewest explosive plays this season while the Commanders surprisingly rank top ten in both explosive rush rate and explosive pass rate.
- Both of these teams have willed their way to a winning record and current playoff spot (Giants sit in the sixth seed and the Commanders sit in the seventh seed).
- This game is about as close to a must-win for each of these teams as can be for a Week 13 game, with the winner likely in control of their own destiny for a playoff berth.
- The Giants sit at 7-4 and the Commanders sit at 7-5, yet both teams have a negative point differential.
- The Giants rank 22nd in scoring while the Commanders rank 24th.
Both teams surprisingly rank in the top half of the league in red zone touchdown rate allowed, with the Giants at fifth at just 48.84% (36.00% at home) and the Commanders at 13th at 53.85%.
How Washington Will Try To Win ::
For all the things that head coach Ron Rivera is not, he is still one of the better game planners in the league. As in, he’s highly adept at getting his team ready for their specific opponent on a weekly basis. The biggest problem for Rivera and his coaching staff is they are hot garbage at adapting during the game. Basically, when the Commanders are afforded the opportunity to execute their game plan coming into a game, they perform fairly well. When they are pushed to adjust mid-game, look out. Washington has built their identity around their defense and backfield, dialing up downfield shots and generating explosive runs through a dynamic run-blocking scheme. The biggest problems for the Commanders have been with their current quarterback situation and a lack of explosiveness from lead back Brian Robinson, whose workload is highly reliant on game flow. That said, it is going to take a lot to shake Washington away from elevated rush rates and a modest pace of play.
The Washington backfield has devolved into a true timeshare between Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson, with Robinson likelier to see more snaps in a positive game script, and Gibson likelier to see more snaps in back-and-forth games and in a negative game script. Both backs rank near the bottom of the league in explosive rush rate and true yards per carry, but their stout defense has allowed them to largely stick to a run-balanced approach in most games this season. Keep an eye on the status of Gibson as the week progresses as he was limited to start the week with a foot injury. The pure rushing matchup yields a slightly above average 4.48 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Giants defense allowing a robust 5.20 yards per running back carry this season.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin is clearly the top option on this team. That said, he has seen double-digit targets just once all season, has surpassed 100 yards receiving three times, and has scored only two touchdowns. His 21.4% targets per route run rate ranks 52nd amongst qualifying wide receivers, and his 22.4% team target market share falls well below elite levels (31st). What should be considered a positive for his fantasy outlook is the fact that McLaurin has seen the second most deep targets this season (22). What the field is likely to miss is the fact that McLaurin’s snap rate has taken a hit recently, with 86%, 72%, and 82% of the offensive snaps played over the previous three games after ripping off six consecutive games with a 95% snap rate or higher. That increase in snap rate perfectly aligns with the injury to rookie Jahan Dotson, who left Week 4 with an injury and missed the subsequent five games. Tight end Logan Thomas also either missed or was limited in five of those games. Expect McLaurin to see around 80% of the offensive snaps, followed by Logan Thomas in the 65-75% snap rate range, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson in the 60-65% snap rate range, and primary blocking tight end John Bates in the 50-60% snap rate range. The biggest knock to the fantasy expectation for Washington pass-catchers (outside of low expected volume) is quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s numbers when pressured (the Giants blitz at the highest rate in the league), as the presumed starting quarterback is ranked above only Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Trevor Lawrence when under pressure this season.
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