First and foremost, please don’t misconstrue me saying Eli Manning is a good play as Eli Manning is a good fantasy football quarterback. Sure, he’ll always have a place in our hearts for twice slaying the Patriots demons, but that was a long time ago. The Giants are collapsing around Manning, and he and Benjamin McAdoo combine to create a feckless leadership style that does little to stem the tide. This week, however, they take on a 49ers squad that is nearly as pathetic as they are. Will that be enough for Eli Manning to take advantage of whatever coverage is sent his way on Sunday?
First, let’s look at Eli this season. It’s been a rough go for him, as he’s lost his two top wide receivers for the year (Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham, Jr.). With both players, he was fine. Without them? It’s been an unmitigated disaster. He’s not the type of player who can overcome a lack of weaponry around him. That’s no knock on Eli, it’s just admitting that he is not among the elites. Here’s the skinny on Manning’s ineffectiveness: in four games that Marshall finished, Eli had 278 yards per game, with six touchdowns and two picks while completing over 69% of his passes. In the four he didn’t finish, Manning has six touchdowns, two picks and just 177 passing yards per game while completing fewer than 55% of his passes. The touchdowns and interceptions stayed the same, but his yardage and completion percentage dropped dramatically. He just isn’t tasked with doing much without Marshall and OBJ and has seemingly gotten a bit lucky with his touchdowns.
Fortunately for Manning and the G-Men, that won’t matter Sunday against the 49ers. They have literally an entire nickel package on IR, and have you, the reader, slotted in at dime corner this week. That’s only a slight exaggeration, as the Niners have just three reserve CBs and an overwhelming propensity towards injury this season. Even when they weren’t hurt, they weren’t good. The 49ers have given up 19 touchdowns to quarterbacks this season, and have just six interceptions. They’ve held their last three opponents to an average of 215.33 yards passing, but the last three games running backs average just under 160 yards rushing. The Giants don’t have a rushing attack, so that means lots of Eli Manning, lots of Sterling Shepard, and especially lots of Evan Engram.
Eli Manning hasn’t played all that well this year without his top two weapons. You can’t really blame him in that regard, it’s hard to overcome the loss of ODB no matter who else you lose. He hit a rhythm last week with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, and that should continue this week. Manning is a great cheap DFS play against the Niners and is a good streaming start if your QB is on a Bye or if you are a Jameis Winston or Kirk Cousins owner.