Strategy session: Five-pack of fantasy insight from Standig, Atkins
1) Outside of Victor Cruz, which Giants are you starting this week in standard, 12-team leagues against the Eagles?
Ben Standig: In a league where my other quarterbacks are Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler, I'm starting Eli Manning. In a league where Le'veon Bell is on a bye and I don't trust Maurice Jones-Drew's that much after the Jaguars traded away their best offensive lineman, I'm going with David Wilson. I don't own Hakeem Nicks in any of my leagues, but he'd at least be a WR3/Flex play if I did. Heck, in this week's Pickups article I made a case for those in need looking at Rueben Randle (two touchdowns against Philly last season). Yes, the Giants' offense has been B-R-U-T-A-L, but they haven't faced the Eagles' 32nd ranked defense yet.
Scott Atkins: In leagues that require you to start three wide Receivers, I'm not giving up on Hakeem Nicks. That's primarily due to lack of better options in my lineup, but the fact remains that he's still a potential big time target in an offensive shootout. In leagues that only require you to start two wide receivers, this is still a week to consider all your Giants. If they don't do it now, then I'm ready to cut and run.
2. Contender/Pretender: Danny Woodhead
Standig: Contender simply because the overall RB position is so dismal this season that any player putting up some points is worth some love. In PPR formats over the last three weeks he's picked up 8, 7 and 5 points just on receptions with at least 64 total yards in each contest. Ryan Mathews is hoarding the carries, but he is averaging only 3.5 ypc. In other words, Woodhead's workload won't get any less, but it could go the other way. Flex option with RB2 potential especially in PPR leagues.
Atkins: Contender. Philip Rivers rise in production shouldn't come as a big surprise. The change in offensive philosophy and the fact that Rivers is a flat out gamer are the main reasons for this offensive explosion. Danny Woodhead will remain a high volume guy in this offense. He fits it like a glove and as strange as it sounds, we could be talking about little Danny Woodhead on championship fantasy lineups this season.
3. Week 5 decision: Maurice Jones-Drew or Daryl Richardson*?
Standig: If only we knew which of the Rams' possible four running backs would start or receive the majority of touches this week. That player would be no less than a Flex option against Jacksonville's 32nd ranked run defense. Alas, Richardson let it out of the bag that he's not the starter, yet wouldn't let us know who is. Therefore, by default that means the answer is MJD, though there is hope since the Rams are 30th against the run. Help comes now that Justin Blackmon returns from a four-game suspension. With the dearth of RB options this week, MJD is actually a top-20 play.
Atkins*: Ugg. Both backs are horrendous this year so far, each averaging less than 3 yards per carry. I want nothing to do with Daryl Richardson. Although PPR leagues may be rewarded with 3-4 catches a game, I've never seen him as anything more than a change of pace back. As for Maurice Jones Drew, he's certainly in the twilight years of his career at this point, due to the heavy workload of carries he received early on. He's still going to touch the ball 15-20 times a game. Blaine Gabbert is a mess, but in comes Justin Blackmon, so there's reason for mild optimism.
(*) The question was posed and Scott answered this before buzz surfaced about the Rams going with a RBBC approach.