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Other Week 16 Game Recaps

Week 16 Game Recap: New York Giants 0, Arizona Cardinals 23

What you need to know

New York Giants

The Giants returned to form this week after last Sundays offensive explosion with a miserable performance against the Cardinals. The pass protection was poor, Manning did not play well with his turnovers and the running game was non existent. The end of the season cannot come fast enough for this team. Gallman is a low end but somewhat respectable play in PPR leagues, Sheppard remains risky however. No other plays can really be reccomended if Engram is forced to miss the game due to injury.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals finally notched a shutout, their first since 1992, breaking the longest streak in the NFL. It is certainly a nice feeling for a defense that most frequently struggles with finishing and in the process saw some strong flashes from young players who will be counted on as primary contributors going forward. That and Fitzgerald’s otherworldly day are the positives. On the downside, the Cardinals have once again blown their way towards a top draft spot, a seemingly yearly tradition for this franchise, and will likely miss out on their next franchise quarterback. Again.

New York Giants

QB Eli Manning, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 45 - 263 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0
Eli Manning did not play well on Sunday and his turnovers killed the Giants chances at being competitive against the Cardinals. The pass protection and running game was as poor as ever this season but Manning did not help himself with his play. He threw a lot of passes off his back foot to evade a sack and many of these were ill advised throws. Manning's accuracy was scattershot and he missed several short throws with just bad ball placement. A lot of his passes were overthrown and there were a few occasions where he did not look to be on the same page as the receiver. Manning tried to connect with Engram deep on a fade but the overthrown pass was picked off by the safety. He had a lot of dropped passes by his depleted receiving corps and had an excellent 4th down conversion on a deep out to Ellison but his positive plays were simply outdone by the negative ones. He threw late off his backfoot down the field and was picked off again by the safety. Manning displayed really poor pocket awareness as he was stripped from behind and gave up a defensive score, trying to do too much. A chunk of his yards/completions came in garbage time towards the end and this game was never competitive. The Giants were rarely in the redzone and it was a tough watch for any fantasy owners.

RB Wayne Gallman, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 18 - 0, Rec: 6 - 44 - 0 (8 targets)
Wayne Gallman was the main man in the Giants backfield again this week but struggled to accomplish much in a poor offense. He was catching a lot of passes out of the backfield and did an excellent job of making the first man miss for extra yards. Gallman also ran strong and typically fell forward when met with contact at the line of scrimmage. He was also a safety valve for Manning and caught a lot of checkdowns, which helped his value a lot in PPR leagues. The Giants like to use Gallman in the screen game and gave him several attempts but the blocking was so-so. Redzone touches were almost non existent in this game and Gallman never got a crack at the goal line unfortunately. The Giants offense is in a very poor state currently so exact evaluation on Gallman is tough but he is certainly playing better than Perkins/Darkwa were before him. A low ceiling but not terrible play in PPR leagues next week.

WR Sterling Shepard, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (8 targets)
Sterling Shepard was typically involved in the offense on a regular basis throughout this game but came up with modest production. The passing game was inept, mostly due to inadequate pass protection/ turnover prone QB play and no running game. Sheppard got involved as he typically does with crosser/slant/curl routes and kept the Giants moving whenever he could. He was tackled immediately on most of his plays after he made the reception so yards after the catch was hard to come by. Sheppard was open on a corner route down the field but Manning's accuracy was off in this game and he overthrew this pass. A risky play in fantasy next week with the offense playing very poor, PPR leagues only.

WR Roger Lewis, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (11 targets)
Roger Lewis jr. did not play particularly well on Sunday but did have an incredible one handed grab along the sideline at least. Lewis reached back inside to control the ball with one hand and secured his feet in bounds, making a spectacular grab. Apart from this moment of magic, he had several dropped passes and did not look to be on the same page as Manning for many other targets. Lewis ran short routes throughout and picked up a few first downs but couldn't break free for a big gain. He did break up a potential interception on a poor pass deep from Manning, though he had to draw offensive pass interference in doing so. Lewis is not worth owning in any league currently.

TE Rhett Ellison, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (7 targets)
Rhett Ellison was the man to replace Engram once he left the game in the first half. Ellison made several chunk plays down the field for the Giants and actually looked like the most dangerous player, though the Giants set the bar low in this game. He got several big first downs when the Giants needed them and made some terrific catches in traffic, showing off dependable hands. Ellison secured a nice seam route down the field, turning his head around just in time to seamlessly grab the ball. Ellison is a low end fantasy play at tight end next week, assuming that Engram will not play. Only if you are completely desperate in deep leagues.

TE Evan Engram, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Evan Engram only had one catch before he was forced out of the game due to injury. Engram had an excellent grab on a deep out, catching the ball in traffic and securing it in bounds. Manning tried to hit him deep along the sideline on a fade but the overthrown pass was picked off by the Arizona secondary. Engram left the game after this point and never returned. The star tight end will likely be treated with caution for week 17 and fantasy owners should keep an eye on his practice reports.

Arizona Cardinals

QB Drew Stanton, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 34 - 209 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0
After the season started off to a putter of poor play and devastating injuries, many Cardinals fans and followers clamored for Blaine Gabbert, with the misguided hope of evaluating him ability for the future. Stanton’s injury allowed for that opportunity, with Gabbert starting five games and making the return of Drew Stanton on Sunday a welcome sight. Stanton, by simply being his average self, was leaps and bounds better than Gabbert. Throwing two touchdowns and successfully exploiting the intermediate levels of the field, Stanton succeeded at two areas which Gabbert struggled the most. He targeted Fitzgerald early and often, including in the red zone, another shortcoming of Gabbert’s. In the end, Stanton was still himself, throwing two interceptions, narrowly avoiding several more turnovers, and missing key throws. Stanton is a stable, solid veteran who can keep you afloat, which is both admirable and valuable, but it is troublesome when that is viewed as an upgrade over the previous player.

RB Kerwynn Williams, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 51 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets)
Williams and the run game did little more than provide a sense of balance for the Cardinals offense on Sunday. Collectively falling well short of 100 rushing yards as a team, Williams’ 51 yards alone comprised the vast majority of the team’s rushing total on Sunday, and even that was primarily accomplished through a 21-yard run, the team’s long of the day. Neither offense, and specifically neither offense’s run game did much on Sunday, a credit to both team’s atrophied offensive and active defensive lines. What Williams did most impressively on Sunday was absorb hits and continue to move forward. It is not a trait often associated with Williams, nor is it apparent in his box score, but the Cardinals offense is one that needs every inch of grass and momentum to see success, and on Sunday Williams managed to provide both when the team needed it.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 21 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 9 - 119 - 1 (15 targets)
espite agreeing to a 2018 extension, it is possible Fitzgerald played his last home game on Sunday. Whether or not that becomes true, Cardinals fans will certainly remember this as one of Fitzgerald’s most dominant in the latter part of his career. 15 of the team’s 32 targets, 119 of the 230 receiving yards (with his own 21-yard toss to Jaron Brown included in that number), and one of the team’s two scores, Fitzgerald simply was the offense on Sunday. It is impossible to say with confidence which way Fitzgerald will go. Sunday felt like a “last hurrah” game, especially seeing him get his first career passing completion, but week 17 last season had a similar feeling as well. It will not be for ability or skill if Fitzgerald walks away, but likely the beating the body takes and the understanding that a Super Bowl likely is not in reach.

WR John Brown, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (4 targets)
It feels like it has been forever since John Brown both played in a game and positively influenced it. Maybe that is why Larry Fitzgerald erupted in such jubilation when Brown scored a touchdown early in the 3rd quarter, his first since October. Brown’s impact beyond the touchdown was minimal; he finished with the second most receiving yards and tied for second in receptions and targets, but those figures were paltry compared to Fitzgerald’s. In truth, the memory of Brown’s explosive ability is still firmly etched in the minds of many Cardinals fans, and even the smallest glimpses of what he used to be have us as excited as Fitzgerald, despite knowing it is not sign of what is to come.