Kickoff Sunday, Dec 22nd 1:00pm Eastern

Giants (
21.5) at

Commanders (
20.5)

Over/Under 42.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Giants Run D
29th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Commanders Run O
21st DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
17th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Commanders Pass O
21st DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Commanders Run D
10th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
29th DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Commanders Pass D
28th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
31st DVOA/31st Yards per pass

Concentrated production is one of the most important elements for us to hunt out on our DFS rosters, and this is part of the reason we’ve been tracking (and exploring) Notable Stat Lines this year. Teams that allow concentrated production tend to continue to allow concentrated production, while teams that force opponents to spread out their action across a broader number of players tend to force opponents to spread out their action across a broader number of players. There can be a variety of factors behind these patterns (and if you dive into the Notable Stat Line lists whenever they’re posted in a writeup, you’ve probably noticed the trends that you can spot :: for example, teams that force action to the middle of the field tend to have given up multiple stat lines to interior receivers; or teams with one elite corner sometimes have multiple notable stat lines allowed to Number Two wide receivers; etc.), but even just the length of a list can tell us plenty about a team. So the Bucs — who, by all per-pass metrics, are more “mediocre” vs the pass than they are awful — have a lengthy list of notable stat lines allowed, which points to the elements “beyond the numbers” that we explore in that matchup each week (the elevated passing volume against the Bucs, and how we can use this to our advantage in a given setup); and a team like Washington, which is 3-11, and is presumed by the entire DFS universe to be universally awful, has allowed fewer notable stat lines than all but six other teams (among them: the Patriots, Bills, 49ers, and Steelers). The Redskins rank 28th in pace, prefer to keep the ball on the ground, and are solidly average on defense — ranking 20th in DVOA, 21st in yards, and 22nd in points — which has ultimately led to a below-average environment for stacked-up production materializing against them, with the best paths to such production being A) a team that filters large amounts of work to a single player, or B) a player who can do a lot on low volume. To sum all that up another way: the Redskins generally limit opportunity, and don’t provide a major matchup boost to the volume that remains, which means the players with the best shot at producing against them will be either guys who A) just see a big share of their team’s offensive work no matter what, or B) can break through for big plays.

On a healthy Giants team that no longer has “concentrated volume” as a locked-in guarantee (with Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard both healthy, and with Kaden Smith largely soaking up the volume that was previously going to Evan Engram (swapped out for Rhett Ellison if he’s healthy this week)), “players who can do a lot on low volume” are the best place to turn our attention.

>> Saquon Barkley has seen recent carry counts of 17 // 19 // 17 // 24 (with target totals in that stretch of 3 // 7 // 4 // 5), and has looked healthier the last couple weeks, making his signature jump-cuts in open space and shaking off tacklers in tight quarters. The overall game environment is a slight ding to expectations that have already proven to be dented this year by the poor offense in which Saquon plays, but he does still fit inside the “can do a lot with a little” box, keeping him in the tourney mix.

>> Darius Slayton has seen recent target counts of 7 // 9 // 8 // 3 — with the 8 // 3 both coming with Eli. (Daniel Jones is expected to be under center this week.) With everyone healthy, Slayton’s volume is less secure — but when we talk about “the types of players who can win you a tourney,” Slayton is squarely on the list, as proven by his eight touchdowns and his two games of 120+ yards. Washington has allowed 19+ yards per catch to both DeSean Jackson and Stefon Diggs this year, and they got hit for a 6-75-3 game by Taylor Gabriel. Slayton carries risk, but there is “reward” potential with his speed and big-play ability.

>> Sterling Shepard saw nine targets last week, but it’s premature to call that his guaranteed range with everyone healthy. Shep is a valid play, but it wouldn’t be surprising if volume were to swing somewhere else this week. If that were to happen, Tate would be a candidate to climb up the target totem pole. His role is almost exclusively short-area, but he does still have enough burst to break off a long gain or pick up yardage on a scramble play. “Giants tight end” is also an “uninspiring, but valid” option here: yet another guy on the Giants whose likeliest range is “a little below what you’d like at their price,” but who has slim paths to a not-particularly-predictable solid game.

Washington — it is fun to note — is favored in this spot (currently by 2.5 points), and they’ll be looking to control this game at home by leaning on the run and limiting pass attempts for Dwayne Haskins (recent attempt totals of 29 // 25 // 27 // 28). Volume among pass catchers on the Redskins has been drained by this conservative approach, though there have been a couple instances in this stretch of volume condensing on a single player, with Terry McLaurin seeing 12 targets against the Lions in Week 12 (4 // 7 // 5 in his next three games), and with Steven Sims seeing 11 targets last week (2 // 4 // 7 in his previous three games). Sims is a short-area piece who will need to break through on a busted play or score a touchdown to provide serious value. McLaurin, of course, can score from anywhere on the field, and he has 57+ yards in four of his last five games. He doesn’t exactly come at a discount, and his chances of producing a price-considered tourney winner are low in this sluggish offense; but most weeks when he misses, he doesn’t hurt you too badly, and his ceiling when he hits is certainly high enough to matter. His chances of reaching ceiling are elevated against a Giants defense that ranks 30th in DVOA against the pass and has allowed the sixth most yards per pass attempt and the fourth most yards to wide receivers. McLaurin is an “embrace some risk to access a solid raw ceiling” option. The Giants have allowed a lengthy list of notable stat lines to wideouts this year:

7-158-0 Gallup
6-106-1 Amari
8-190-3 Evans
7-130-2 Thielen
9-113-0 Edelman
6-123-2 Golladay
6-131-1 A-Rob
3-103-1 Lazard

8-95-0 Amendola
6-84-0 Demaryius
5-81-1 Crowder
6-64-2 Davante
4-74-2 DeVante

The Giants have been much better against the run, ranking eighth in DVOA while holding running backs to a semi-respectable 4.04 per carry. This is a no-drawback, but non-matchup-boosting spot for Adrian Peterson, who has a clear path to 16 to 22 touches with Derrius Guice sidelined. It will be surprising if Peterson falls shy of around 65 rushing yards, and it will be a surprise if he goes over 100, making him fairly dependent on touchdowns, where he will try to run his streak to four straight games with a score.

JM’s Interpretation ::

My thoughts don’t tilt too heavily toward this game, with the Giants having neither concentrated volume nor a matchup boost, and with Washington’s identity (in a game they are likeliest to control) tilting overwhelmingly conservative. With that said, I won’t be surprised if I end up with a bit of action from this game, as Saquon, Slayton, and McLaurin all have clear (if moderately slim) paths toward difference-making production. The likeliest range for all three of these guys has them falling shy of what you’re ultimately hunting for at their respective price tags; but all three are also solid bets for at least decent production, and all three have visible upside — keeping each in the fringe mix for my thoughts at this point in the week.