Take Two: Nick Foles vs Eli Manning
October 18, 2013 | Joe Siniscalchi
As we near the halfway mark to the fantasy season, we’ve seen the stock of quarterbacks go all over the place. In addition to the events I highlighted last week, this week we see Case Keenum take the reigns for an injured Matt Schaub in Houston. He has a brutal matchup against Kansas City this week, so don’t even look to play him unless you’re absolutely desperate.
In week six, the Henne hype machine got stomped out by Denver’s defense. Chad Henne threw for 300 yards, but the game was a lot closer than many expected it to be. Henne didn’t even manage to toss a single touchdown. Joe Flacco, on the other hand, was able to somehow throw for 342 yards and a pair of scores with Torrey Smith well covered for the entire game.
JS: My Candidate For Week Seven: Nick Foles (vs Dal)
For those who haven’t noticed, Nick Foles has quietly thrown for nearly 500 yards and has five touchdowns in the last one and a half games of relief for Michael Vick (and a 3 for 4, 49 yards and 1 TD stint in week five). Foles has played well against the Giants and rebuilt Buccaneers defenses, and has yet to turn the ball over. This week, Foles plays against a struggling Dallas defense, which has allowed the third most yards in the air.
Foles has been able to orchestrate Chip Kelly’s lightning offense (although hasn’t been able to run like Vick), and has been hitting receivers with pinpoint accuracy, garnering a healthy 67.2 completion percentage. What Vick gave owners on the ground Foles should be able to compensate for with his arm, especially with an array of solid, yet unspectacular options. This offense is all about allowing players to get the ball and make plays in space, setting up the occasional deep bomb. DeSean Jackson is having a career year, and has clocked well with Foles thus far, and the emerging Zach Ertz seems emerging into be a nice moveable chess piece for Foles to work with.
Dallas has been flat out awful against the pass, and is tied for the most passing touchdowns allowed in the NFL with 14. They are giving up over 300 yards a game in the air, and are struggling to adjust to Monte Kiffin’s new defensive scheme. Look for Foles to continue to pile it on this week as the Cowboys look to focus on stopping LeSean McCoy, the NFL rushing leader. DeMarcus Ware will also be a game-time decision, but even if he plays, he won’t be anywhere near close to 100%. Foles should barely see any pressure in the pocket to deliver those quick strikes to move the offense.
I think this will be a close game simply because the Eagles defense is so bad, and there is some shootout potential here. I expect Foles to put up a similar stat line to last game, posting 300 yards and two to three total scores..
AO: My Candidate For Week 7: Eli Manning (vs Min)
While many football fans were surprised by how close the Denver-Jacksonville game was hopefully nobody was surprised that the Broncos didn’t manage to cover that ridiculous spread. Laughing stock or not, these are still professional athletes were talking about here. Chad Henne managed 302 yards but he never found the end zone. Joe Flacco wasn’t spectacular but he got the job done, throwing for 342 yards and a pair of scores. Chalk it up as a win.
After six miserable weeks (and one incorrect prediction by yours truly) I’m still going with Eli Manning against the Vikings this week,maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker, maybe it’s because I’m naïve, or maybe it’s because from Matt Stafford in Week 1 to Cam Newton in Week 6 (and everyone in between) quarterbacks have been good when facing Minnesota.
Through their first five games the Vikings have given up an average of 319 yards passing and 2.4 passing touchdowns each week, while also averaging 1.4 interceptions. That comes out to 20.96 points per week for opposing quarterbacks, and possibly even more depending on your scoring system. That makes them the 6th worst in the league in terms of fantasy points per game, that also makes them a Bottom Three team in yards per game. Even with the season Manning is having he is still averaging 286.8 yards per game, which is nothing to scoff at.
The key to this game will of course be limiting his turnovers. Eli has been awful at that all season, throwing a league leading 15 picks so far this year. I’m still not worried. All season Eli has had to play from behind, this week will be different. Even with Adrian Peterson the Vikings offense isn’t very intimidating. With Josh Freeman having been signed so recently he hasn’t been able to learn the whole playbook yet. This is in no way a statement against Freeman, he has been thrust into the starting role so quickly that it’d be impossible to expect him to have mastered a complex NFL offense this fast. Operating on a limited playbook should simplify things for the Giants defense as well. Expect a lot of Peterson, and a lot of simple reads for Freeman. If the Giants secondary can defend against the deep ball the Vikings should have trouble scoring. This in turn will lead to Eli and the offense being able to play with less pressure on them and hopefully allow them to excel.
Finally the Giants running game continues to be depleted. Brandon Jacobs is coming off of a big game but he’s still well past his prime. The recently signed Peyton Hillis won’t add much to the offense. The Giants will have to lean on Eli, but like I said it will be a different type of leaning on him than in weeks past. He won’t have to deal with his defense giving up 30-something points.
I said it last time I picked Eli and I was wrong, this time I won’t be, the Giants will finally get their first win of the season. On the way they’ll use a heavy dose of Eli Manning resulting in another 300+ yard day. I expect three touchdowns and (just) one interception as well. That’s 23 points, and it’s more than enough.
JS: Another week, the same story with Eli. While the matchup looks good on paper, the Giants have simply been a trainwreck all season. I’ll be the first to admit this can be the first win for the Giants, especially if Eli has a strong game, but it’s always the same story with Eli: turnovers. The Vikings are not good against the pass, but are ninth in rushing defense. With the tractor Brandon Jacobs and one year wonder Peyton Hillis expected to lead the rushing attack, look for the Giants to have a tough time moving the ball on the ground. This will force more emphasis on Eli to throw, which will cause him to make more of his boneheaded throws. Whether it’s avoiding a sack, trying to force a ball in, or simply making an incomprehensible throw, Eli will always be a turnover machine.
The Vikings have only compiled 10 sacks on the season, but look for that to change this week. The defensive line is licking their chops at this weeks matchup, as Eli has been sacked 16 times on the year and has rarely had a clean pocket to throw from. Manning will have his fair share of big plays, but again, he will be forced to throw, increasing his chances of turning the ball over. Jared Allen and the recently extended Brian Robison should look to put the once feared Vikings pass rush back on the map this week, and Eli should have to look to extend plays in order to keep drives alive.
Manning will have his touchdowns, but three turnovers has been the norm for him as well. Owners who start Eli will have to take the good with the bad, and this week should be no different. Eli could come close to 300 passing yards, but a line of 260/2/3 seems more reasonable.
AO: It isn’t easy to argue against Foles this week. He’s going up against the Cowboys, who have already allowed three 400+ yard games to quarterbacks this season. Their other three games have resulted in the defense holding the opposing QB to less than 250 yards. It’s all a matter of which defense will show up this week.
What scares me the most is what I said above. The Cowboys defense has been terrible at times, at other times they’ve fared pretty well. I’d just rather take the matchup where the opposing defense has always been terrible at stopping the pass, not just sometimes.
On top of that Foles won’t be the focal point of the offense. LeSean McCoy will be. He’s too good not to be. So far he’s averaging a shade over 20 rushing attempts per game, don’t expect that number to take a dip this week. With all those touches going to McCoy you should only expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 pass attempts from Foles. When choosing my second quarterback I rate passing volume at the top of my list. More passes means more yards. I expect the Cowboys defense to show up this week and limit Foles to just 250 yards along with a pair of touchdowns. Add in that he’s not a threat to run the ball, and that he’s due for a pick, he just doesn’t come out as a must-start for me. Eli does.