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Two of the better defenses in the league square up on Monday night. Does this mean there won’t be fantasy relevant players in this one? Scroll down and find out for yourself.

  • New York Giants

    Through 3 games, the Vikings defense has looked like it may be the best defensive unit in the NFL. This is a young, extremely talented unit that has made life exceptionally difficult for opposing offenses. Running backs in particular have been awful against the Vikes. They are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry on the ground, making no Giants running backs worth playing.

    Start your Studs against the Vikings, but don’t expect anyone to explode for 150+ yards or multiple scores. Odell Beckham is a start as usual, but be careful with Sterling Shepard and Eli Manning. Shepard will be followed around by Captain Munnerlyn this week. The rookie from Oklahoma has looked like anything but a rookie in the young season, and is actually rated better as a receiver than Munnerlyn is as a corner according to PFF. Unfortunately for Shep owners, he is likely relegated to a low-end WR3 this week, because of all the duress Manning will have to deal with. Manning should be avoided in all formats.

    The Vikings have produced 15 sacks and 10 turnovers in 2 games to go along with 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns. Even Aaron Rodgers struggled against this defense. Approach with caution.

    The Big Blue tight ends Will Tye and Larry Donnell have been splitting time, and should both be avoided. They have equal target and catch numbers, (11 targets, 8 catches each) and unless one gets injured or one emerges, neither should be on your fantasy squad.

    Considering how weak the Vikings running game has been, and the lack of dangerous offensive weapons outside of Stefon Diggs, the Giants D/ST is worth a streaming look this week. The Vikings offense is only averaging 14 points per game when you factor out the defensive and special teams points. This shouldn’t be a high-scoring affair.

    Players to start for the Giants:

    • Odell Beckham Jr.
    • Sterling Shepard (low-end WR3)
    • Giants D/ST

    Players to sit for the Giants:

    • All Giants running backs
    • Eli Manning
    • All Giants tight ends
    • Victor Cruz

    Big Questions:

    • With defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd out for a few weeks, will the run defense become vulnerable?
    • Is there any exploitable weakness on this defense?
  • Minnesota Vikings

    The Giants are a team that went out in free agency and spent big on defense. Thus far, the additions seem to be paying dividends. The Giants defensive Line has been outstanding thus far. The G-Men rank in the top 5 in rushing yards against despite facing two of the league’s better running backs and offensive lines. (Dallas, New Orleans) Matt Asiata is only a goal-line back at this point, and should be avoided in most formats. Jerick McKinnon is only really a flex play despite what should be a heavy workload. The Giants are only allowing 77.3 yards per game on the ground. (good for 5th best in the NFL) He can be flexed out in PPR formats if you don’t have better options.

    New cornerback Janoris Jenkins had done a very solid job locking up the opposing team’s best receiver through 2 weeks before having trouble with the talented Redskins receivers. He has faced talents like Dez Bryant and Brandin Cooks through the first 2 weeks. Be wary of starting Stefon Diggs against him as he was minimized last week against Carolina, though Diggs does move around the formation and can get favorable matchups against the other Giants corners. He is a WR2 this week.

    The weakness of this team is the linebackers and safeties. 2nd year strong safety Landon Collins should be much improved upon his rookie year, but his strength is run-support not coverage. The middle of the field can be exploited by tight ends and quality linebackers. Jason Witten led the Cowboys with 9 catches against the Giants. Expect teams to continue attacking the middle of the field. Start Kyle Rudolph this week if you have him.

    The Vikings defense is worth playing this week, but the Giants do have the firepower to limit the overall potential of their day. Considering how hot they have been, it is worth the gamble to leave them in your lineups.

    Players to start for the Vikings:

    • Kyle Rudolph
    • Stefon Diggs (WR2)
    • Jerick Mckinnon (low-end PPR flex)
    • Vikings D/ST

    Players to sit for the Vikings:

    • Sam Bradford
    • Matt Asiata
    • Adam Theilen

    Big Questions:

    • Can Jerick Mckinnon start living up to the hype?

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