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Week 15 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 34, New York Giants 29


What you need to know

Philadelphia Eagles

Everyone was wondering how the Eagles would respond after losing Carson Wentz and despite the end result, there are still a lot of questions in Philadelphia. Nick Foles looked good in his return to starting action and Jay Ajayi was finally given the chance to be the lead back. However, the Eagles defense allowed Eli Manning to throw for 434 yards and gave him a chance for the game-winning touchdown from the 11-yard line with less than a minute left. The defense really needed to step up this week to support the offense, but they were unable to deliver. With games against the Raiders and Cowboys to close out the season, the Eagles will have to play better on defense if they want to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

New York Giants

The Giants shock everyone with an explosive performance offensively in this game. Manning played at a high level, though he was fortunate more of his passes were not picked off. This performance seems unlikely to be repeated based on the track record of this season but perhaps the offense can improve under Steve Spagnuolo. Shepard's value took a big increase as he was targeted heavily in this game, a solid play going forward. Engram remains a must play at tight end.

Darkwa has been trending downwards in recent times and Gallman is the stronger play, despite Darkwa managing to get into the endzone from time to time. Neither play is reccomended however as the Giants have not run the ball well this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Nick Foles, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 38 - 237 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0
There were a lot of questions about how Foles would be able to fill in for Carson Wentz and he simply responded by throwing 4 touchdowns and not turning the ball over in a close game. Foles did not do anything overly spectacular, but he did find the open receiver and was comfortable checking the ball down when needed. The first touchdown came on a 3-yard post to Alshon Jeffery where he cut back across the field and tiptoed across the back line. The play was reviewed and upheld. The second touchdown was a 10-yard strike up the seam to Zach Ertz. Ertz had missed the previous week under concussion protocol and made his presence felt this week. Foles third touchdown came on a 13-yard pass to back up tight end Trey Burton, and his final was a beautiful slant route to Nelson Agholor. Foles did not try and push the ball down the field or do too much this week and it worked out in his favor. It will be interesting to see how he responds when they are down, and he needs to make the big play to come back. In the meantime, Foles did enough this week to calm the Philadelphia fans down for another week.

RB Jay Ajayi, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 49 - 0, Rec: 2 - 40 - 0 (2 targets)
Since trading for Ajayi, the Eagles have been very noncommittal with their backfield. Blount has not exactly panned out like they expected but is still getting the bulk of the goal line carries. Corey Clement has shown flashes of brilliance and deserves touches as well. This is the first week that Ajayi has had more touches than any other back and he did just enough with them to be deserving of more. He also chipped in a 32-yard reception that is outside of his usual skill set. Ajayi did not find the end zone this week but is slowly working his way to the top of the running back depth chart.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0
Blount was only given 7 carries this week and was unable to do much of anything with them. He averaged 3 yards per carry and none of the work came on the goal line this week. Ajayi has slowly taken touches away from Blount and he now looks to be the expendable piece for the Eagles this offseason. With Kenjon Barner and Corey Clement starting to make noise behind him, Blount is going to continue to lose touches as the season wraps up.

RB Corey Clement, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
Clement was only given 5 touches this week but did everything he could to make the best of them. He tallied 10 of his 17 rushing yards on a single carry and was largely ineffective with the other 3. The most important play came on his 1-yard touchdown reception. This is usually Blount territory and it is interesting to see the Eagles go to Clement in the air rather than their high priced free agent. Clement may see more work to close out the season as he seems the better counter to Ajayi and his power running style.

WR Nelson Agholor, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 59 - 1 (9 targets)
There was no receiver that really ran away with it this week. Agholor lead a receiving core where no one topped 60 yards, but he did rank second in targets with 9 this week. Agholor's touchdown came on a back-shoulder fade where he jumps over and takes the ball away from Darryl Morris. This would be reminiscent of the catches Randy Moss used to make. Agholor also added a 16-yard first down catch to help set up another Eagles touchdown. In a game where no one really stood out, Agholor lead the way for all receivers.

WR Alshon Jeffery, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 1 (10 targets)
Jeffrey had a very tough game despite his touchdown reception. The number one receiver was targeted 10 times but only hauled in 4 of those chances. There seemed to be some miscommunication between Jeffrey and Foles and the timing was clearly off. Jeffrey ran several option routes where the receiver and quarterback were just not on the same page. However, his touchdown catch was beautiful. Jeffrey ran a post across the middle of the field, noticed Foles scrambling in the pocket and worked his way back to the sideline. Foles hit Jeffrey in stride in the back of the end zone and the former Bear receiver was able to tiptoe the back line for a touchdown. For all of the miscues between the two, this play showed they will be a force to reckon with as they work together more.

TE Zach Ertz, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 56 - 1 (9 targets)
There were a lot of questions as to whether or not Ertz was going to play this week. He was still limited in practice the majority of the week, but he managed to clear protocol and suited up for the Eagles. Ertz tied for second on the team with 9 targets and pulled in a 10-yard touchdown grab directly up the seam. Foles laid the ball just behind the linebacker and in front of the closing in safety where only Ertz could make a play on the ball. Foles looked very comfortable throwing to both Ertz and Burton as many of his throws were check downs and short passes. If he can stay healthy, Ertz is going to play a big role in the Eagles offense for the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs.

TE Trey Burton, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 1 (2 targets)
Burton had a touchdown last week filling in for Zach Ertz and decided that he liked it so much that he wanted to do it again this week. His 13-yard touchdown came on a blown coverage where his cover man jumped the route by Alshon Jeffrey and there was no safety help to pick him up. Burton celebrated the easy touchdown with a spinning ball campfire celebration with Jeffrey who had pulled his man off his coverage.


New York Giants

QB Eli Manning, 88 offensive snaps, Pass: 37 - 57 - 434 - 3 TD / 1 INT
Eli Manning had a highly productive game on Sunday against the Eagles. He played well for most of the game but got lucky in many situations and the defense dropped several passes that should have been intercepted. Manning was accurate and decisive early on as he kept the Giants moving down the found. He showed excellent touch on a sideline ball to Lewis down the sideline. Manning was also successful at drawing the Eagles offsides, getting two "free" plays that he was able to take advantage of. He looked down the field for big plays whenever he was afforded time in the pocket and the slant play was available to him throughout. King got wide open on a slant n go route in the redzone and Manning had an easy touchdown pass. Manning didn't see the linebacker in coverage on the subsequent drive and was picked off as he fired a ball to the outside. He was fortunate that a defender dropped a ball that was thrown in his direction. Manning missed a few passes deep, just overthrowing his intended receiver by inches but made up for it. His second touchdown was a simple breakaway play form Shepard on a short drag route, running away from the defense that made several poor attempts to tackle him. Manning found King again on a deep pass down the sideline, who was able to extend just over the goal line for the third touchdown. Manning should have been picked again with another dropped interception and ultimately fell just short of a fourth touchdown at the goal line but got very little help from his defense.

RB Wayne Gallman, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 39 - 0, Rec: 6 - 40 - 0 (7 targets)
Wayne Gallman has become the lead back in the Giants backfield and looks the most threatening of NYG running backs when rushing the ball. He was active in the passing game as a screen pass target and very productive on the ground, despite a low workload in this game. The Giants were forced to pass a lot as the woeful defense surrendered too many points to the Eagles. This clearly decreased Gallman's touches and hurt his production as a fantasy play for this week. He showed terrific quickness making a man miss in the hole and picking up the first down despite the defender having the advantage early on. Gallman showed excellent vision in his runs, picking the right holes and getting maximum value out of every carry. He showed good power to knock back defenders also. A decent but somewhat risky play in PPR leagues as a low end # 3 RB going forward.

RB Orleans Darkwa, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 7 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)
Orleans Darkwa got very few touches in this game as the Giants had to pass a lot in this game. Darkwa has been outproduced by Gallman in the running game in recent times and should not be played in fantasy. His only saving grave is his use as a goal line back. Darkwa did manage to get into the endzone on a goal line carry, the blocking was excellent up front on the play and created an easy path into the endzone. Darkwa was almost never targeted in the passing game however and never got anything going on the ground. He can be dropped in most fantasy leagues as the trend towards Gallman as the lead back will likely continue.

WR Sterling Shepard, 85 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 139 - 1 (16 targets)
Sterling Shepard had a very strong game on Sunday and really was a thorn in the Eagles side throughout this game. Shepard moved the chains for the Giants on numerous occasions and accounted for a high proportion of this passing attack. He took advantage of man to man coverage with slant plays over the middle and Manning looked often to the young receiver on third down. He showed excellent speed getting wide open on a seam route and hauling in the pass. Shepard did have several drops however, and could have had an even bigger game. His concentration was not on point at times, not securing the ball before turning upfield. Shepard more than made up for it on his touchdown run however. He took a short drag route all the way to the endzone down the sideline, evading Eagle defenders and turning on his speed once he got free. Shepard was open again down the sideline late in the game but Manning overthrew him by just a yard. He was more often then not a strong, dependable target for Manning that produced in the clutch when a conversion was needed. This is a good comeback game for Shepard who has been very inconsistent this season, a decent play going forward for the rest of the season.

WR Roger Lewis, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (10 targets)
Roger Lewis jr. never got into the endzone but made some key catches in this game to keep the Giants alive. Lewis also had a slant play negated by an offensive holding by a lineman which slightly dampered his night. He was open against the sideline and hauled in a nice touch pass from Manning early on to scare the Eagle defense. Lewis then ran slants/in breaking routes to take advantage of soft coverage in the secondary for first downs. He got open again on a corner route and secured the play in bounds. Lewis had one more shot at another deep pass but it was slightly overthrown, he was unable to control it with one hand. Lewis was quite productive by his standards but the Giants were forced to pass a lot in this game. He cannot compete for many touches with Shepard/Engram on the field at the same time so he must remain in the waiver wire unfortunately.

WR Tavarres King, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 70 - 2 (3 targets)
Tavarres King only managed two catches in this game but he made them count as they both went for touchdowns. King used his quickness and excellent route running to get wide open on a slant n' go route in the redzone. He faked inside perfectly before breaking to the corner and easily scoring in bounds. King later took a seam route all the way down the field, making a terrific catch with a nearby defender before burning the Eagle secondary and extending just enough to secure the touchdown. King has always been a boom/bust player and not reliable as a fantasy player. He has incredible raw talent down the field but his targets are usually few and far between. This level of production is his ceiling, his floor is usually much lower however.

TE Evan Engram, 74 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 14 - 0, Rec: 8 - 87 - 0 (13 targets)
Evan Engram was highly involved in the offense in this game as he tends to be. He was targeted heavily from Manning and his production was crucial. Engram did not manage to score, though he did receive several targets in the endzone. Engram worked the short/intermediate of the field very well, beating linebackers in coverage and boxing out defensive backs when possible. He made a terrific grab on a curl route to the outside that could have been picked off as the coverage was very tight. Engram got wide open down the seam and made a big play, getting down the field quickly while carrying defenders upon first contact. Manning missed him in the endzone on a jump ball, just placing the pass too high. Engram even had 14 yard gain on an end-around rush which further showed his athleticism as a tight end. A solid play every week, Engram remains a strong tight end in PPR/non leagues.