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Thursday Night Football Preview: What to Expect Fantasy-Wise from Giants at Washington

Previewing the fantasy football matchups in the Thursday Night Football game between the New York Giants and Washington Football Team.

Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season starts with Thursday Night Football as the Washington Football Team play host to the New York Giants. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits for Thursday night action.

New York Giants

QB Daniel Jones was asked to throw on just 49% of first-half early-downs (FH/ED), T-4th lowest in the NFL, which predictably led to a 33% success rate for Jones on third-down. Jones is a terrible QB option for Week 2, even in 2QB/Superflex leagues, as the G-Men square off against the NFL’s best defense.

As predicted last week, slot WR Sterling Shepard was the biggest beneficiary of TE Evan Engram’s absence (calf). The Giants have already ruled Engram out for Thursday night’s game. Inside/outside receivers Keenan Allen and Jalen Guyton both had productive weeks against WAS last week, and while Shepard is nowhere near Allen’s talent, the fact that Guyton made a little noise is the box score bodes well for Shepard’s flex viability this week.

WR Kenny Golladay will do battle with the WFT’s stingy perimeter coverage this week. He’s a low-ceiling flex play.

The Los Angeles Chargers were able to cook up a few long balls against WAS in Week 1 but none longer than 23 yards. WR Darius Slayton, NYG’s designated wind-sprinter, is unlikely to return flex value this week.

The Chargers’ TE had a decent day on Sunday but the ancient, lead-legged TE Kyle Rudolph is not a good bet to continue success at the position against the Team. He is bad.

RB Saquon Barkley looked healthy in his much anticipated debut but NYG’s coaching staff made good on their promise to ease him into things. His 29 snaps led the team at the RB position but the underwhelming Devontae Booker was hot on his tail with 24. Neither back made much of their work though.  Barkley took his 10 carries for just 26 yards and caught one of his three targets for a lone yard. Booker did nothing to convince the coaching staff that he deserves more work, turning his 5 touches into just 13 total yards. Unfortunately, on such a reduced workload, in such a bad match-up, Barkley is merely a flex play this week. Expect the talented back to erupt in Week 3 against Atlanta though. He’s a trade target this week. Booker is irrelevant.

Washington Football Team

With starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick placed on Injured Reserve (and expected to miss six to eight weeks) QB Taylor Heinicke is up in Washington. The team’s new starter, has the short area scrambler speed to enter the QB2/Superflex conversation in the right match-up. A date with the Giants’ defense isn’t like to be that matchup though. Heinicke also figures to have a stunted passing tree as the limited signal caller has typically just locked on to the safety blanket options; one running back and one or two short area pass catchers, running quick hitting routes. While playing for Carolina in 2018, Heinicke locked onto Christian McCaffrey and slot receiver Curtis Samuel, targeting both 13 times. The subpar passer later made the move to Washington, where he subbed in for Dwayne Haskins in the fourth quarter of Washington’s Week 16 game against Carolina. Heinicke looked mostly to slot receiver Steven Sims and TE Logan Thomas before finding RB J.D. McKissic for a 29-yard score with two minutes left.

The outlook is unfortunately bleak for WR Terry McLaurin this week. He’s likely to be shadowed by CB James Bradberry and Heinicke isn’t going to force anything his way. He’s only fantasy relevant in multi-flex leagues, as a WR4.

As outlined above, TE Logan Thomas was a 2020 Heinicke-favorite and that connection stayed strong when the latter entered the game on Sunday as Thomas was the lone recipient of a Heinicke touchdown pass. The big-bodied slot route maven is a good bet to be the most targeted member of the Football Team on Thursday. He’s a locked-in TE1.

WRs Dyami Brown & Adam Humphries rotated between the slot and the perimeter last week. Neither one makes for a good fantasy option.

RB Antonio Gibson saw promising usage last week, racking up touches both on the ground and through the air, with the pesky pass catching back J.D. McKissic relegated to riding the pine. Gibson may have suffered a slight AC joint sprain but was able to return to the game and finish strong. The injury is unlikely to be an issue and no ill effects were reported regarding his lingering toe issue. He’s a top-15 option against the G-Men this week. McKissic is a DFS contrarian DFS candidate.