|What to watch for: NYG had one of the top rushing offenses in ’08, but it has struggled to a 3.5 YPC mark through two games. TB has struggled at stopping both the run and pass, 2nd-most total yards allowed (450 YPG), and the NYG has proven that there is more potency in the passing game, thanks to WRs Steve Smith and Mario Manningham(notes), than most anyone expected. That said, I expect NYG really has a desire to try to get the running game well this week. TB has allowed 5.7 YPC and, after watching QB Eli Manning(notes) shred the DAL secondary in Week 2, TB cannot simply decide to sell out to stop the run for fear of a repeat of the field day DAL QB Tony Romo(notes) had against them in Week 1. All of this is to say, RB Brandon Jacobs(notes) gets 20+ carries for the first time in ’09 this week. And sure-handed middleman WR Steve Smith likely gets another 6-8 receptions. Because I think the NYG play it a bit more conservative this week, and because he’s been the preferred red-zone target, I like Smith a little bit more than Manningham this week, but both are viable options. Heck, all Giants starters are viable options.
Few, if anyone, predicted that the NYG would be the second-worst rush defense (6.7 YPC) after two weeks. DAL shredded a Justin Tuck(notes)-less defensive front in the second half this past Sunday night, rushing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, Tuck’s Week 3 availability, shoulder injury, will dictate a bit of how TB attacks the Giants. Certainly, TB would like to get the ground game going again after BUF shut it down (57 rushing yards, 3.0 YPC) in Week 2. It would afford them the best chance to stay close early, something the team has struggled with – it fell behind 20-7 to DAL in Week 1 and 17-0 to BUF in Week 2. As a team that wants to run the ball, but has been forced to have QB Byron Leftwich(notes) hoist it 91 times in the first two weeks, this is a tough group to figure out from a fantasy standpoint. TE Kellen Winslow(notes), with 9+ targets in each game, seems the safest option. Everyone else is running under at least a caution flag.