Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
Week 6 starts off with one of the biggest mismatches I have ever seen, as the Giants travel to take on the Patriots. The game has an over/under of 42 points, with the Pats projected for almost 30 and the Giants for 12.75. I’m not even sure how to write this up, but here we go.
Let’s start with the Patriots. The run game is likely to be a three-headed beast in some form. James White and Sony Michel are the headliners and are both strong plays, with Rex Burkhead as the wildcard. Burkhead played in Week 3 and led the backfield in touches with James White missing the game, then “played” in Week 4 with a foot injury and only saw 18% of the snaps and one touch. He missed Week 5 entirely, so now even if he’s active we can’t really be sure what his status is actually going to be. Keep an eye on beat writers for this one and watch for reports of if he’s active or just “active.” Of course, if he misses, it’s the Michel and White show. White should lead in targets while Michel is a lock for at least 15+ carries as a massive home favorite. Michel has the lower floor, but a very feasible multi-touchdown ceiling. It’s also worth noting that after hardly ever being used in the pass game, Michel caught 3 of 3 targets last week (Note from JM: at least one of these targets was completely schemed — i.e., the Patriots designed a look to specifically get the ball to Michel through the air). We don’t really know if that’s because Burkhead was out or because the Pats actually want to get Michel more involved in the passing game…I’m likely to bet the former, but it could certainly be the latter. Any way you slice it, the run game is a whole lot more attractive without Burkhead, and a fair bit messier if he plays.
The pass game is, as always for the Pats, focused on Julian Edelman and the running backs. There just isn’t a need for Tom Brady to take a lot of deeper shots to the perimeter wideouts. That said, the matchup is completely nonthreatening against a barely-there Giants pass rush, and Josh Gordon can break a slate open on just a few catches. Opposite Gordon it looks like Philip Dorsett is at significant risk of missing this game (and of course the Patriots have no real incentive to rush either him or Burkhead back). If Dorsett is active he’s awfully cheap at just $5,600, while if he misses, Jakobi Meyers should step into his role. Meyers played 48% of the snaps last week but only drew two targets, and at $4,800 he doesn’t give much of a discount from Dorsett’s price. I’d be much more inclined to play Dorsett if active than Meyers if Dorsett misses, but any Patriot is viable in this matchup if you’re throwing darts. Finally, at tight end, Ryan Izzo got two catches and a touchdown last week while Matt LaCosse struggled with one catch on 4 targets. LaCosse, however, played 94% of the snaps with Izzo only in for 26%, so LaCosse seems like the surer bet. The overall tight end snap count for the Pats was way up in Week 5 as they went with more 12 personnel after Dorsett left with an injury, so the viability of both tight ends is tied to Dorsett’s availability.
New England’s defense and kicker are both smash plays as well and both might be better than any play on the Giants.
The Giants are looking likely to be without Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram, which means the only starting NFL-caliber skill position player they have is Golden Tate, who is fresh off suspension and looked, frankly, terrible last week. This is going to be a slaughter. Jon Hilliman seems likely to start at running back, though is both A) terrible and B) not a skilled receiver, so as the Giants fall behind, he’s unlikely to see much work unless New York just decides to run out the clock with run plays to put themselves out of their misery. Elijhaa Penny is probably the more skilled back and not a bad option if you’re looking for a reasonable-floor play on the Giants.
In the pass game…well, good luck picking a Giants receiver on the road against the NFL’s best secondary. Golden Tate should have the highest floor as an actual NFL caliber talent running out of the slot. Darius Slayton is a nice deep threat in more reasonable matchups and carries theoretical ceiling, though he has to beat New England’s corners to come down with anything. He should see some decent volume in this one and makes for a boom/bust option. Finally, Cody Latimer is only $800 and should be thrust back into a starting role, as will Rhett Ellison at tight end for just $200. Both are complete punt options that will at least be on the field a fair bit in a matchup in which the Giants should be throwing a lot.
The way this game is most likely to play out is a complete curb stomp with the Patriots dominating from start to finish. Brady, Edelman, White, Michel, the Pats D, and Nugent are all premium plays, with White and Michel both losing a modest bit of luster if Burkhead is active and healthy. There are no good plays on the Giants, so have fun with that.
Other ways the game could play out:
- Ownership is going to be massively skewed to the Patriots, but realistically, the Giants could still score 2 touchdowns here. All it takes is a broken play, or a New England turnover setting up a short field. Let’s say a Giants running back has a line of something like 60 yards and a touchdown on the road with two catches for 10 yards through the air — that’s 15 points. And then a receiver has three catches for 90 yards and a touchdown for 18 points. Those aren’t massive scores, but if we also envision that all of the Patriots touchdowns end up going to just one or two guys, those 15 and 18 point Giant scores could be enough to be in the optimal lineup. Last weekend when the Pats took on the Redskins in a similarly one-sided beatdown, the total ownership on ALL Redskins players was just 159%, which means the average lineup had about 1.6 Redskins and 4.4 Patriots. Having a lineup with three Giants and three Patriots is going to be highly contrarian in this contest while still having at least a non-astronomical chance of being successful.
The strongest captain choices are Patriots. The worst captain choices are Giants. I mean, why would you do that?
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- At most 1 Giant (lol)
- No Giants in captain spots (this one is actually more serious — it’s just so hard to imagine a Giant being the top scorer in this game)
- At most 2 Patriots running backs
- At most 1 of LaCosse and Izzo
Cash game thoughts: play 5 Patriots. Seriously — there are a bunch of ways to do it. If you aren’t playing 5 Patriots in cash in a matchup like this, I’m pretty certain you’re doing it wrong.
— Xandamere’s Advanced Showdown Course is now available through OWS :: Marketplace! This is his tournament course for Showdowns; and given the tangible edge in this contest type, it should pay itself off pretty quickly(!).
(Note from JM :: Xandamere is currently in FIRST place through four slates in the King of the Showdown tournament. Two slates remain!)
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