In this Nov. 24, 2019, file photo, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is shown before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, in Chicago. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was kept out of practice Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, with a high right ankle sprain, and coach Pat Shurmur says Eli Manning very likely will start Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Shurmur adds that Manning could very well be the starter for the rest of the season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) All the Philadelphia Eagles have to do to stop a three-game losing streak is beat a quarterback who hasn't played in three months and hasn't defeated them in three years.
It's not that easy in the NFL.
The Eagles (5-7) will face a familiar opponent when they host the New York Giants (2-10) on Monday night. Eli Manning is expected to make his first start since Week 2 because rookie Daniel Jones has a high ankle sprain.
Manning, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, is 10-20 against Philadelphia. His last win over the Eagles was on Nov. 6, 2016. He's now a $23 million backup who could be auditioning for his next team in 2020.
''I'm not worried about that,'' Manning said. ''I'm trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team. The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we're putting in.''
Facing Manning instead of Jones is a different challenge for Philadelphia's defense, which was picked apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. Jones ran zone-read plays and was a threat to scramble. Manning isn't mobile but he has a quicker release.
''Jones had been holding the ball a little bit in the pocket,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. ''We know Eli is not going to hold it. The ball is going to come out pretty quick. Their playmakers stay the same. They have good playmakers and a good running back. It's going to be important to cover quick and get to the quarterback quick and knock their timing off of their passing game when Eli is back there, because he's such a timing quarterback.''
The Giants have lost eight in a row but could spoil Philadelphia's playoff hopes with a victory. Despite their poor record, the Eagles would win the NFC East by winning their last four games.
Saquon Barkley is back on track after missing three games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain. He had his best game last week, rushing for 83 yards on 19 carries against the Packers. He has not had a 100-yard game since the first two weeks of the season against Dallas and Buffalo. Barkley was hurt in the first half against the Tampa Bay in Week 3. The second-year pro had plenty of success against Philadelphia last year. He had 130 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the first meeting and added 101 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the second one. The TD runs were 50 and 51 yards. He also caught 16 passes for 140 yards and a score.
Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders followed Barkley at Penn State and the second-round pick is having an impressive first season in Philadelphia. Sanders has 879 scrimmage yards, third-most by a rookie in franchise history. He has 520 yards rushing, 118 away from breaking LeSean McCoy's rookie record set in 2009.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery nine times for 137 yards and a touchdown against Miami. It was the best game for an Eagles wide receiver since Week 1, when DeSean Jackson had eight catches for 154 yards and a pair of TDs of 50-plus yards.
The Eagles also released another wide receiver this week. Mack Hollins was cut after not making a catch in the past eight games despite playing 204 snaps in that span. Jordan Matthews was let go a week ago after leading the receivers in snaps in his last game.
After holding opponents to 17 points or less in four straight games and allowing fewer than 225 yards passing in five consecutive games, the Eagles were embarrassed by the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick had 365 yards passing, three TDs and led five straight scoring drives to erase a 14-point deficit in the second half.
''That game is 100 percent on the defense,'' Schwartz said. ''We always feel if you give us 20 points we should win the game, and we certainly got more than 20. We didn't do our jobs in that game, and as a result we got a loss.''
Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas had missed either a field goal or an extra point in five straight games before getting back in the groove against the Packers. He made field goals of 27 and 45 yards and an extra point in snowy conditions. Rosas made 32 of 33 field goal attempts last season to make the Pro Bowl. He is 10 of 14 this season. The Giants had a new long snapper last weekend. Colin Holba was signed off the practice squad, replacing Zak DeOssie, who went on injured reserve with ankle and knee problems.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed a 49-yard field goal last week, snapping a streak of 20 in a row.
The Green Bay Packers Defense faces a tough task this weekend in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. In their regular-season meeting, the Packers gave up 37 points and only dropped Jimmy Garoppolo only three times. They also failed to generate any turnovers. Green Bay's defense may need to lend their offense a helping hand by creating a turnover or two to swing the field position game. If Za-Darius and Preston Smith can ramp up the pressure, the Packers will have a good chance of generating a turnover or two and winning the game. It certainly won't be easy, considering how formidable the 49ers offense has been this season.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Graham has back-to-back 49-year receiving performances, but those games came against teams that struggle to defend the tight end position. The 49ers are not one of those teams. They allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends all season and were the league's stingiest pass defense. Maybe Graham makes a play in the red zone. Still, he's a cheaper DFS play but by no means a comfortable one.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (illness) is trending in the right direction to play in the NFC Championship game this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if available, Allison isn't an option in any fantasy format. The 25-year-old hasn't caught more than four passes in a game this season. It sure doesn't seem like he'll eclipse that mark against the league's best defense with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (ankle) is currently questionable for the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. There's certainly a risk for injury, considering he re-aggravated the ankle in last week's playoff game. Still, it's hard to ignore the two-game stretch Lazard had to end the season, where he saw 17 targets. That alone makes him worth a gamble, particularly in a must-win game for a Packers team in desperate need of another threat at receiver. Just beware, the matchup isn't ideal. The 49ers allowed only 172 passing yards to the Vikings last week.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Adams produced only 43 receiving yards and a score against San Francisco in the regular season but still had 12 targets. The star receiver has seen double-digit targets in nine of 13 games played this year. There's not many receivers that you can virtually pencil in for double-digit targets- but Adams is one of them. If fellow receivers Geronimo Allison (illness) and Allen Lazard (ankle) suit up, they may be limited. Adams could be looking at more work than usual, even in a matchup this difficult.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense enter Championship weekend as the highest-priced fantasy defense. The Niners face the Green Bay Packers, who they demolished 37-8 in Week 12. In that previous contest, the Niners relentlessly harassed future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, dropping him five times and forcing a fumble. The Packers were a meager one for 15 on third down conversions. The 49ers will need to follow that blueprint again in the critical NFC Championship to emerge victorious. With a higher-intensity contest expected, it could be difficult to splurge on a defense in fantasy compared to other addressable positions.
San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders both offer solid fantasy value in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Both players were limited to under 45 yards apiece in last weekends Divisional Round blowout but were featured early on when the game was still in question. The rookie Samuel has emerged as a consistent dual threat in the latter half of 2019 and is likelier the safer floor. Sanders, the savvy vet has proven himself as a reliable chain-mover with big-play potential. Against the Packers 10th-best pass defense by DVOA, either option seem primed to pop in Sundays winner-take-all battle.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams will face off with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Williams has been playing second fiddle to Aaron Jones quite a lot recently, as he hasn't seen double-digit carries since Week 13 against the Giants. It's worth noting that Williams played a large role in the regular-season game against the 49ers, which saw him rack up 18 touches. Green Bay very well could utilize Williams in spurts to keep San Francisco guessing, though his recent downtrend in usage makes him hard to trust.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a reasonable DFS bet for Sundays NFC Championship matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Priced as the third-best quarterback, Jimmy G squares off against a strong Packers defensive line that ranked 12th-best in adjusted sack rate during the regular season. Garoppolo was not pressed into service in the Divisional Round blowout win, but will likely be tasked with a tougher test on Sunday. While the Niners have mostly ridden its dominant running game throughout the year, Garoppolo has answered the bell in multiple occasions with three four-touchdown games. With dangerous weapons surrounding him, Garoppolo shouldnt be ruled out in the biggest game of his career to-date.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. The 49ers Defense held Jones to just 38 rushing yards in their regular-season meeting. However, the star back has been playing some seriously good football in his last five games, with 501 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He's also had 20-plus carries in three straight contests. Expect Green Bay to utilize Jones early and often in screens and runs to combat the 49ers mighty pass rush. Even if Jones doesn't pile up over 100 yards, his propensity to find the end zone and role in the passing game make him a safer play this weekend.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The 49ers Defense held Rodgers to just 104 passing yards and one touchdown in their regular-season meeting. However, there are a couple things that are different ahead of this matchup. First, tackle Bryan Bulaga will play in this game after being injured in the first quarter against the 49ers previously. Rodgers should have better protection than he had when these teams met. Secondly, Rodgers himself is playing better football than he was during the regular season before this matchup. He has 566 passing yards and four touchdowns in his last two contests. There is also the added motivation of denying a Super Bowl berth to the team that could have drafted him. Play Rodgers on Sunday, despite the tough matchup.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is worth a gamble for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Bourne scored the only receiving touchdown for the Niners in the Divisional Round, adding to his 2019 resume as a legitimate red-zone threat. The third-year pro has just 33 catches this year, including the playoffs, but collected six scores. Despite his risks as a zero-floor fantasy option, Bourne has emerged as a trustworthy target in clutch situations.
San Francisco 49ers running backs Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert are both bankable DFS options in Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. The two backs combined for 163 rushing yards in the Divisional Round, with Coleman riding a hot hand to two touchdowns. Considered a backup for the latter half of the regular season, Coleman played 46 percent of snaps last Sunday compared to Mosterts 34 percent. While the touch forecast for either back is cloudy, the Niners draw one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. The Packers ranked 23rd in rushing DVOA during the regular season with the second-worst defensive line in the league, yielding 4.96 adjusted yards per carry. With a likely floor of 10 touches for each Coleman and Mostert, both runners have great opportunities to make a splash.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle) was a full participant in Thursdays practice and should be fine for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Kittle scared Niner Nation with soreness on the left ankle he chipped earlier this year, but confirms he feels fabulous. Kittle factored more as a blocker in last Sundays Divisional Round blowout but the Niners passed just 19 times. The All-Pro is an integral piece in all facets of the offense so is worth his premium TE1 price in DFS on Sunday.
Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he's a 'prime candidate' to be re-signed, in the opinion of The Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.
Free-agent WR Antonio Callaway (Browns) signed with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL Thursday, Jan. 16.
Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (illness) remained out of practice Thursday, Jan. 16.
Fantasy Spin: McCoy played just one offensive snap in last week's Divisional Round game against the Houston Texans. He's clearly behind RB Damien Williams and is no longer worth starting.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Moore (illness) and DT Chris Jones (calf) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. DT Khalen Saunders (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), CB Kendall Fuller (knee), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (neck), C Austin Reiter (wrist) and G Andrew Wylie (ankle) practiced in full.
Green Bay Packers DL Kenny Clark (back), TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury), LB Preston Smith (ankle), FB Danny Vitale (knee) and CB Tramon Williams (non-injury) were limited participants in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. S Adrian Amos (chest), OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), WR Ryan Grant (non-injury), LB Blake Martinez (hand) and OL Billy Turner (ankle) practiced in full.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) remained limited at practice Thursday, Jan. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Kelce earned a light practice week while catching 10 of 12 targets for 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. He's the week's top tight end option once against this week so long as he takes the field.