Fri Sep 17 3:14pm ET
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs downfield with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New York Giants kicker Graham Gano (5) kicks a field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Terry McLaurin against the New York Giants during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Two games into the season, the New York Giants are in the same unenviable spot as they have been the past four seasons.
They are winless. They are making costly mistakes, and they have a coach - this time Joe Judge - saying the weekly goal is to get better. The assumption is everything will turn around.
History says otherwise. The Giants have not made the playoffs since 2016. They have had four straight losing seasons, and counting the current 0-2 start they have a combined record of 18-48.
It sets up a bleak forecast for the Giants in 2021 with 15 games left in the regular season after Thursday night's crushing 30-29 loss to Washington.
This was a brutal defeat. After missing wide right from 48 yards, Dustin Hopkins got a second chance because of an offside penalty by Dexter Lawrence and kicked a 43-yard field goal on an untimed play to steal the game.
The offside was the last of a number of mistakes that killed the Giants.
New York lost a long Daniel Jones TD run in the second quarter on an iffy downfield holding call. A wide-open Darius Slayton, who caught a TD earlier, could not catch a 43-yard Jones pass in the end zone that would have given New York a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes to play. The Giants had to settle for Graham Gano's fifth field goal after James Bradberry's interception and return gave them the ball at the Washington 20 with 2:16 to play and down a point. The offense used 16 seconds and gave Washington a final shot - or two as it turned out.
That's 11 points lost in a one-point game, eight for the Giants and three for Washington.
''Nobody in the locker has lost any steam, lost any desire or hunger,'' Slayton said Friday. ''I think ultimately, things in life don't always show immediate return, but I definitely think that going forward, that stuff will start to show up in wins, and games, and us getting the job done going forward.''
It's an attitude the players are embracing.
Speaking to the media for the first time since his penalty, Lawrence initially indicated he felt he was not offside. He later accepted responsibility.
''I can't make that mistake,'' he said. ''I don't want to let my brothers down and let my family down. It's just unfortunate turn of events. So, I mean, the frustration is there on myself, not because of the call or anything like that. I have to be better in that situation.''
Gano might be the best placekicker in the league right now. He finished last season making 31 of 32 field goals, including his last 30. He added field goals of 23, 47, 52, 55 and 35 in the loss, pushing his streak to 35 and extending his team record.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass rush. The Giants have three sacks, two by rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari, and eight quarterback hits in two games.
Teddy Bridgewater and Taylor Heinicke have combined to hit 62 of 82 passes for 575 yards and four touchdowns. In both games, they had wide-open receivers and a lot of time to throw in hitting almost 76% of their throws.
Jones. Danny Dimes completed 22 of 32 passes for 249 yards and ran for 95 yards, a team record for a quarterback in the Super Bowl era. He threw a touchdown and probably should have had another on the slightly overthrown pass to Slayton. He also ran for one and should have had another the same way. He showed guts on a night he was sacked four times and hit seven times. No turnovers, too.
For the second week in a row, defensive coordinator Pat Graham is taking the hit. His group was supposed to carry the Giants.
So far, opponents are averaging 28.5 points and none of the points has been cheap. New York's offense only has turned the ball over once and that was in red zone against Denver last Sunday.
Too many opposing receivers are wide open. There is no pressure on the quarterbacks. Here's the worst statistic: After failing to score on its first two possessions, Washington tallied on six of its last nine, including three of four in the fourth quarter.
C-G Nick Gates, who was just elected a captain for the first time, is almost certainly out for the season. He sustained a gruesome broken left leg in the first quarter, playing left guard. Judge said Gates had surgery Friday morning.
The recent time off should allow tight end Evan Engram (calf) to play for the first time when New York plays on Sept. 26.
163 - yards the Giants gained rushing. Jones had the big chunk. Saquon Barkley added 57 yards on 13 carries, including a 41-yard dash, that showed a flash of him before the ACL injury. Despite losing Gates early, the O-line played well with Billy Price at center and Ben Bredeson replacing Gates at left guard.
The Giants get roughly nine-plus day to fix things before taking on Atlanta on the 26th, a day the team plans to retire the No. 10 jersey of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. The schedule gets tougher after that with games against the Saints, Cowboys and Rams. It has the potential to be another long season.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has struggled with turnovers this season, but he will draw a favorable matchup versus the Tennessee Titans defense in Week 7. For the season, Mahomes has passed for 1,887 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has scored one touchdown on the ground. Despite the uptick in interceptions this season, Mahomes faces a Titans defense that is allowing close to 292 yards through the air per game and 12 touchdowns versus four interceptions on the season to QBs. This matchup is projected to be an offensive battle, and there should be plenty of opportunities for Mahomes to put up big numbers. Fantasy managers should continue to roll with Mahomes as a QB1 on Sunday.
New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith has been a dud basically all season long. In fact, Smith has 16 receptions through the first six games of the regular season. Over the last two contests, Smith has three total receptions. Fellow tight end Hunter Henry is getting a majority of the red zone chances right now. Although, Smith does have a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Sadly, it's tough for fantasy managers to believe he'll actually be trustworthy. He'll be a desperation option for this week and should be avoided in most formats right now.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed for 62 yards with a pair of touchdowns in his first start of the season in Week 6 and will look to carry that momentum into a Week 7 matchup versus the Tennessee Titans. Williams played 72% of the backfield snaps last week with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) on injured reserve. The Titans defense has allowed around 88 yards per game on the ground to opposing running backs this season and given up five touchdowns on the year. Williams should remain the workhorse for the Chiefs backfield and should have some opportunities in the red zone with this matchup looking like an offensive shootout on Sunday. Managers should feel confident with Williams as their RB2.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quadriceps) hasn't practiced this week with a quad injury, but he also sat out of practice several times before Week 6 and suited up and had nine receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Hill has proven that he doesn't need to practice to play on Sundays, and fantasy managers shouldn't have much fear at the moment of his upcoming status. As long as Hill is in uniform, he will be one of the top options at wide receiver this week against a vulnerable Titans defense. The Titans are allowing 236 yards per game to opposing wide receivers, and Hill should be able to take advantage against a weak secondary for a big day on Sunday. Both the Chiefs and Titans have had poor play from their defenses, and Hill should have plenty of opportunities to do damage in Week 7. If Hill were to miss the contest, wide receivers Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson and Josh Gordon would all see an uptick in playing time, but tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Mecole Hardman would be the top options in the passing game.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has quietly carved out a nice role as the No. 2 wide receiver for the team and faces a juicy matchup in Week 7 versus the Tennessee Titans. The speedster will face a Titans pass defense that is allowing 236 yards per game to wide receivers this season and that should allow Hardman to have plenty of opportunities to make an impact on Sunday. For the season, Hardman has been serviceable with 26 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown. Star wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quad) has missed practice all week and if he were to miss Sunday's contest, Hardman's stock would rise significantly. Even with Hill on the field, Hardman should be considered a WR3 with upside in Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (neck) has been a limited participant in practice this week, but is fully expected to suit up for Sunday's matchup versus the Tennessee Titans. The Titans defense has been dismal as a whole this year, but their lone bright spot has been defending the tight end position. Defending against the tight end position, the Titans have only allowed 17 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns through six weeks. Despite their success against the position, Kelce is a different animal and managers should expect another TE1 performance. The Titans defense as a whole is allowing just under 300 yards per game through the air and Kelce should play a big role in what should be one of the higher scoring contests in Week 7.
Washington Football Team wide receivers Curtis Samuel (groin) and Cam Sims (hamstring) have been ruled out for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. Right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) will also miss another game. Samuel has been dealing with the same groin issue since June. He made his season debut in Week 4 but aggravated the injury in Week 5 and will now miss his second straight game. Fantasy managers were expecting Samuel to have a big role in Washington's offense in his first year in D.C., but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy. Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries should continue to serve as the team's top two receivers, with rookie Dyami Brown and DeAndre Carter battling for targets as the No. 3 against Green Bay.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry is finally coming around and putting together some successful games. He has found the end zone in three straight games heading into this favorable matchup against the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Henry isn't the most reliable option, but is certainly trending in the right direction. Fantasy managers should consider Henry on the low-end TE1 radar for this Week 7 matchup.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has seen 52 targets over the first six games of the season. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones appears to have found a favorite target in Meyers. Thus far, Meyers has hauled in at least four receptions in every game this season. He'll head into a plus matchup against the New York Jets defense in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. The targets should be there, so Meyers should be a high-end WR3 for this game.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin) is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers on the final injury report. Gibson missed Wednesday's practice but has gotten in work the last two days, making it likely that he suits up as Washington's primary running back this Sunday. However, it's understandable to be skeptical about his workload after he carried the ball a season-low 10 times for 44 yards in the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 23-year-old should be considered more of an RB2 this weekend, with pass-catching back J.D. McKissic potentially seeing a healthy amount of touches to spell Gibson in a game where Washington could be forced to play catch-up.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne salvaged his fantasy value last week with a 75-yard touchdown. Sadly, fantasy managers cannot expect Bourne to do this on weekly basis. His fantasy value has been inconsistent this season and that's unlikely to change. Luckily for him, Bourne heads into a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to contain anyone this season. Fantasy managers shouldn't get too excited as Bourne is a boom-or-bust deep league option for this contest.
Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (ankle) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (thigh) didn't practice again on Friday and are unlikely to be available in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Watkins is set to miss his second straight game. With Murray likely sidelined, the Ravens will likely split the running back touches between veterans Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell, with Ty'Son Williams serving as the No. 3. Freeman and Bell both found the end zone last week, but they will be low-ceiling RB3/flex options in deeper leagues against Cincy. First-round rookie receiver Rashod Bateman caught four of six targets for 29 yards in his season debut in Week 6 and should slowly see his role increase behind Marquise Brown, especially now that Watkins is injured.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor has struggled to do much damage since the season opener. In fact, Agholor has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. He'll get a Jets defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. Despite a favorable matchup, it's unlikely that Agholor succeeds here. He was expected to be the deep threat for this offense, but quarterback Mac Jones rarely takes deep shots. Agholor should be on the bench for this game even with a plus matchup.
The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain expects Chicago Bears rookie running back Khalil Herbert, not Damien Williams, to be the first one off the bench to spell David Montgomery (knee) when he returns from his injury. Herbert has been great in the last two games and has shown plenty of versatility in the backfield. Williams, who remains on the COVID-19 list, could play more of a niche role as a pass-catcher on third downs once this backfield is completely healthy. With both Montgomery and Williams out in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers, Herbert had 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 15 yards. There's a chance Williams won't be cleared by Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would make Herbert at least an RB3/flex option for fantasy managers again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (lung, ribs) are out for the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears. Neither player has practiced all week. The Bucs will also be without linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring). With Brown out, Mike Davis and Chris Godwin will have higher ceilings against Chicago, with Tyler Johnson likely stepping into the No. 3 receiver role for quarterback Tom Brady. Gronk will miss his fourth straight game. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will continue to split the tight end snaps in his absence. Howard had six catches for 49 yards and his first touchdown in Week 6 and is the better touchdown-dependent TE2 bye-week filler this weekend.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf), who missed practice on Thursday, will return to practice on Friday, according to head coach Joe Judge. Engram apparently suffered a setback on Thursday, but it doesn't appear to be too serious, and he should have a decent chance at playing on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The 27-year-old has only 14 catches on 21 targets for 127 yards and no touchdowns through four games this year, but he could be one of the top targets against Carolina with wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) likely out and with Sterling Shepard (hamstring) suffering a setback on Thursday. With bye weeks hitting fantasy managers hard in Week 8, Engram has low-end TE1 appeal as a streamer if he's active.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson has seen an increased role in the offense over the last two weeks. The loss of James White (hip) has opened up more chances for Stevenson. Sadly, he hasn't seen much success on the ground with only 23 yards in each of the last two games. Luckily for Stevenson, he'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to stop any back all season long. There isn't much upside here because Damien Harris is healthy and should get a bulk of the carries. Stevenson should be viewed as a deep league desperation option here.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has only produced two multi-touchdown games through the first six games of the season. The rookie quarterback has not exceeded 275 passing yards in a single game since the season opener. Despite that, Jones will get an excellent matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. There isn't a ton of fantasy value here, but Jones could have some streaming appeal for QB needy fantasy managers in Week 7.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (illness) said on his Twitter account that his body continues to reject any food he eats as he tries to get past a bout of food poisoning that had him questionable to play last Monday night in Week 6. Brown didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and could draw another questionable tag in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's been a rough week for the 24-year-old, and he looked to be under the weather in the first half of Monday's game before exploding for seven catches on nine targets for 91 yards in the second half. We ultimately expect him to play this Sunday in an excellent matchup against the Chiefs. As long as Brown is active, he needs to remain in all fantasy lineups.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris is coming off his best rushing performance of the season. Last week, Harris rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone for the second straight week. The hope is that he'll be able to carry that momentum into the Week 7 matchup with the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Fantasy managers should feel comfortable with Harris as a RB2 for this week.