GAME OVERVIEW ::
BY Hilow >>
- How Atlanta will try and win through the air lines up fairly well with what the Giants are willing to give up through the air
- Extremely wide range of potential outcomes as far as game flow is concerned (the field is likely to assume a great deal of confidence in this regard)
- Extremely concentrated expected offense from the Falcons; extremely game flow-dependent offense from the Giants (we can safely assume concentration from each potential game flow outcome, dependent on how the game plays out)
HOW Atlanta WILL TRY TO WIN ::
The first thing that we need to be clear on is we have no clue what Atlanta’s identity is at this point. They have looked downright atrocious. They’ve allowed a silly 40.0 points per game against, Matt Ryan holds a ridiculously low 3.6 completed air yards per pass attempt value, Cordarrelle bleeping Patterson is leading the team in fantasy points scored at the running back position after a two score game, and the thought-to-be concentrated offense hasn’t panned out up to this point. That was a lot of words to indicate the lack of certainty we have with this team right now. That said, we have a team playing at the eighth-fastest situation-neutral pace of play, a combined 81 pass attempts over the first two weeks, a combined 23 penalties over two weeks (good for expected pass production; defensive penalties mean sustained drives for the opponent while offensive penalties put the team in long down and distance to go situations), and the likely absence of what should be the third receiving option when all is said and done (Russell Gage suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 and has yet to practice this week). There is a lot to like from a prospective fantasy production standpoint here, so let’s see if we can’t figure out how Atlanta will approach this game before they even can.
The matchup on the ground yields a below average 4.145 net-adjusted line yards metric but the Falcons have filtered 26 of 81 total targets through the running back position, good for a hefty 32.1% positional target rate. The gross part is all of Mike Davis, Cordarrelle Patterson, and fullback Keith Smith are playing meaningful snaps (65/35/25 snap rate split) out of the backfield and it appears the team is set on continuing the Patterson running back experiment (which has gone on for four years now across three different coaching staffs; #IConfuse). Outside of the obvious fact that this team has been playing from behind for eight quarters to start the year, there remains a lot of questions regarding the expected usage here. Atlanta’s 35% situation-neutral rush rate over two games is the eighth-lowest to start the year, and their 3.9 average yards per rush attempt ranks 21st. We shouldn’t expect a massive bump to the 23.0 rush attempts per game we’ve seen thus far, meaning expected running back production is difficult to bank on heading into a game against a defense built from the front back.
As alluded to earlier, wide receiver Russell Gage, the de facto WR2 on this team, suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 and has yet to practice this week (as of Thursday), likely leaving WR2 duties to the smattering of mediocrity in Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe, and Christian Blake. The addition of Adoree’ Jackson to James Bradberry in the secondary has allowed the Giants to play more man coverage and, more importantly, blitz at a heavier rate to start the year. The Giants currently rank tied for seventh in blitz rate, which has been largely ineffective (only three sacks and 18 quarterback pressures). The setup, however, is what matters here: we should expect elevated blitz rates from the Giants against an opponent that has shown the propensity to get the ball out quick to its primary receiving options as they look to protect their aging quarterback. With the absence of one of those primary pass-catchers, this sets up well for Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts, in particular, to see significant volume in man coverage against a team with ten missed tackles already this year. The Giants have allowed an overall quarterback rating against of 100.1 thus far and, although their corners and safeties are performing at an NFL-average level, their linebacker coverage grades rank second-worst to start the year. All of James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, and Jabrill Peppers have allowed 7.3 yards per attempt or less in primary coverage but the defense as a whole has allowed a whopping 75.61% completion rate against, meaning most of the damage against has been of the short area variety. Furthermore, the Giants have allowed the fifth-highest drive success rate against to start the year. Again, this lines up well for how we expect Atlanta to attack through the air.
HOW New York WILL TRY TO WIN ::
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett continues to operate a vanilla offense with an average pace of play, average situation-neutral rush-pass rates, and average situational play calling tendencies. What’s interesting, though, is how effective this offense has looked due in large part to the dual-threat ability of quarterback Daniel Jones. Not only has he shown great scramble ability, but he is one of the most accurate deep passers over the previous two seasons. Crazy, right? But when we talk about how coaching tendencies significantly affect how a game is likeliest to play out, Jason Garrett is very much in the “aggression depends on the opponent” bucket, meaning he is very rarely aggressive with play calling deep into games the Giants control. The big picture from the matchup is the Giants should find success moving the ball however they choose.
2.57. That is the current adjusted line yards value from the New York offensive line. Get the laughs out now before we continue. The matchup yields a laughably low 3.67 net-adjusted line yards metric because of New York’s shortcomings. Saquon Barkley has target counts of three and three to start the year, likely attributable to his status of coming back from a lost season. What really stood out to me, however, was the fact that he accrued only three targets twice in games the Giants played primarily competitively throughout against tough opponents in the Broncos and Football Team. Both of those games were also played without their starting tight end, Evan Engram, who is tentatively expected back this week. Sum it all up and we’re left wanting more as far as involvement goes out of Saquon (running back opportunity counts of 13 and 16 to start the year) before we can confidently assume he is fully healthy, even in a perceived smash matchup.
The passing game brings a great deal more intrigue. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram both hold question marks as far as health goes, so it is fair to expect decreased levels of involvement from each until both can prove their health. That leaves us with a concentrated pass-catching corps of Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, and Darius Slayton (notice I listed Shepard first there “wink emoji”). Quarterback Daniel Jones has pass attempts of 37 and 32 to start the year, giving us a good idea of the expected range of outcomes as far as pass attempts go here. Shepard leads the team in targets with a total of 19 through two games and brings the highest floor to the table against a weak secondary. The viability of the other pass-catchers depends largely on game flow and/or efficiency (aDOTs:: Slayton: 15.1, Golladay: 14.3, Shepard: 8.9).
LIKELIEST GAME FLOW ::
From the standpoint of likeliest game flow, I would say with a great deal of confidence that there doesn’t exist a likeliest game flow from this one. What I mean by that is this: since so much of the expected aggression level from the Giants depends on what their opponent is able to do on the actual scoreboard, and since we know so little about Atlanta’s team identity at this point, we’re left with an absurdly wide range of potential outcomes from this game environment, one that largely depends on Atlanta’s early success from a real-world scoring perspective. Since the Falcons have looked so poor on offense to start the year, many will immediately assume this game will be controlled by the Giants, allowing New York to dictate the pace and flow. I would greatly caution against this assumption and instead look to embrace the uncertainty presented to us through this game.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Through two weeks, the NYG pass defense that was supposed to be upgraded from 2020 has allowed 600 pass yds, 4 TD, 1 INT to Bridgwater & Heinicke
- The Giants do have the 4th highest pressure rate in the NFL after two weeks (PHI, ATL’s first opponent, is just behind them)
- The Giants have sent the 3rd most blitzes through two weeks (TB, ATL’s second opponent, ranks 1st)
- Ryan threw just 164 yds vs PHI, but got to 300 vs TB (though with 3 INTs)
- Ridley’s 18 targets lead the next closest WR (Gage) by nine
- Ridley has totaled 12 rec for just 114 yds, TD through two weeks
- #1 WRs have torn up NYG in each of the first two weeks, with Jeudy racking up 6:72 before leaving early with injury and McLaurin putting up 11:107:1
- Bradberry & Adoree spent more time on Julio than Ridley in their matchups vs ATL in 2019
- Ridley as a Road Dog in 2020 (DK pts): 32.9 // 18.9 // 7.2 // 14 // 29.4 // 20.3 // 11.6
- Notable ATL performances in Ridley’s sub-20 DK scores from that sample: Julio (8:137:2) // Julio (7:137) // Ridley (90 of Ryan’s 232 yds; ATL scored 9 pts) // Gage (9:91:1)
- Bouncing back from a sub-par opener in which nobody on ATL could do anything, Pitts put up 73 yds on 5 catches in his second career game vs a talented TB defense
- Only Ridley has more targets than Pitts’s 14 through two games
- Only BAL & ATL have allowed more TE pts than NYG so far, and BAL faced Waller & Kelce both
- Thomas & Fant each received 7+ targets vs NYG
- NYG have allowed the 5th most RB rush yds through two weeks (7th most DK pts)
- Melvin Gordon’s 70 yd rush TD late in W1 is a big boost to those numbers
- NYG allowed the 4th most RB rec yds in 2020, and let McKissic loose for 83 rec yds in W2
- Touches through two games vs tough RB defenses: Davis (15 & 9 att; 6 & 7 tg) // Patterson (7 & 7 att; 2 & 6 tg)
- That’s total touches in each game of 21 & 16 for Davis, and 9 & 13 for Patterson
- Patterson has outproduced Davis 136 yds to 135 yds despite the fewer touches, and also scored twice vs TB
- 2020: Four RBs reached 20+ DK pts vs NYG (Monty 21.7, Wilson 21.9, Zeke 23.5, Carson 20), but some RB pairs did it combined: (Wilson+McKinnon 38.6) // (McKissic+Gibson 23.9 & 30.7) // (Sanders+Scott 27.9) // (Drake+Edmonds 25.3) // (Dobbins+Edwards 27.9) // (Zeke+Pollard 21.4)
- Gordon (23.8) & McKissic (20.3) both scored over 20 so far in 2021
- The Giants have scored under 20 offensive pts in 11/18 games with Garrett as OC
- Last week’s 29 points were the 2nd most of the Garrett era
- ATL has allowed 32 & 48 pts to start the season
- Jones has scored 22.4 & 29.5 DK pts to start 2021 thanks in large part to 24.2 total DK pts on the ground
- Despite the switch to Dean Pees at DC, ATL has struggled vs QBs to start 2021, with Hurts & Brady putting up scores of 28.8 & 30.64 behind 8 total TDs
- In 18 Jason Garrett games, Jones or Colt McCoy have scored 1 TD or less in 12 of them
- Hurts ran for 62 yds in W1 (Jones has rushed for 27 & 95 yds in 2021)
- Jones has 40 TOs in 28 starts
- ATL has just one forced TO through two games
- NYG WR targets through two games: Shep (9, 10) // Golladay (6, 8) // Slayton (7, 6) // Toney (2, 0)
- Production: Shep (113:1, 94) // Golladay (64, 38; one blow-up at Jason Garrett) // Slayton (65, 54:1, dropped deep TD) // Toney (-2, 0; one frustrated Instagram story)
- Shepard is back playing mostly in his natural position as slot WR, and has racked up 16 catches in two games in that role
- ATL vs WRs through two games: Smith (6:71:1), Reagor (6:49:1) // Evans (5:75:2), Godwin (4:62:1)
- ATL has allowed the 2nd most TE DK pts behind 3 TDs from Goedert & Gronk
- Engram had 7+ targets in 7 of 8 games in 2019, and then had 10 games of 7+ targets in 2020 (no Rudolph in 2020)
- Even with all the targets, Engram had just six games of 10+ DK pts and just two of 15+ DK pts in 2020
- Rudolph has 7 targets as the lead TE without Engram thus far
- ATL has allowed 4.6 yds/att to the PHI & TB backfields
- Each opposing backfield has had 40+ rec yds
- DEN & WAS are two of the tougher RB matchups in football, and they were also Saquon’s first games since tearing ACL last year
- Saquon has 29 of 40 RB touches thus far (23/30 att, 6/10 tg)
- Saquon’s snaps jumped from 48% to 84% in W2 despite a short week
- Saquon played 87% snaps in W1 2020 with 24/26 RB touches
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