The New York Giants and Chicago Bears kick off Week 6 on Thursday. Both teams are coming off brutal losses last week. The Bears were defeated by the New Orleans Saints 26-18 while the Giants were handed their fifth consecutive loss by the Philadelphia Eagles.
There aren’t many players fantasy owners have to worry about starting in this game as it can be very one-sided. The Bears have three legitimate starters, four if you’re in a deeper league. The Giants, on the other hand, have maybe one or two fantasy starters. Here are my projections for Thursday night’s game.
Jay Cutler has had a nice season so far. He’s thrown for 1,368 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s averaging 16.4 fantasy points per game, good for 12th in the league.
This week, Cutler will face a poor Giants defense. They’ve only had five sacks all season and allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Expect a lot of scoring from Cutler. I wouldn’t start him over guys like Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but he could start ahead of Tom Brady.
Prediction: 20-of-41, 285 yards, three TDs (23 points)
On the other side of the ball, Eli Manning has been on a downward spiral. Excluding his 28-point game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, Manning has not scored over 15 fantasy points, including two single-digit games.
He has thrown at least one interception in each game and three games with at least three. The Bears’ secondary can be thrown on, which could give Manning a lot of yards. However, there is the possibility of multiple turnovers, negating any positive scoring for Manning owners.
Prediction: 18-of-35, 310 yards, one TD, two INTs (12 points)
Drafted as a No. 2 back for most teams, Matt Forte is currently the fourth-best fantasy running back. Despite seeing a drop in carries (20 in Week 2 to 14 in Week 4), he has at least 50 rushing yards per game. He is also an integral part of the Bears’ passing game, with at least four receptions in each game.
On Thursday, Forte should have another good game. The Giants are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Michael Bush isn’t as much of a factor as he was last season, so Bush will get the goal-line carries as well. And if for some reason he can’t get it going on the ground, expect him to gain some yards through the air.
Prediction: 18 carries, 96 rushing yards, one TD, 42 receiving yards (19 points)
The Giants’ backfield is a mess right now. David Wilson has been ruled out for this game, forcing them to re-sign Da’Rel Scott. Scott and Brandon Jacobs will split the carries, but don’t expect a lot of production from either player. Jacobs looks slow and not very explosive. He had 11 carries for 37 yards and a fumble last week. Scott could get more carries, but the offensive line troubles won’t help him break free.
Prediction: Jacobs — eight carries, 22 yards (two points); Scott — 10 carries, 28 yards (two points)
For two straight weeks, Brandon Marshall has been outscored by Alshon Jeffery. He has 11 receptions to Jeffery’s 15 in those two games. If you own Marshall, just keep tabs on his foot issue, but it shouldn’t be a problem. He’ll be back to his high-scoring ways on Thursday.
Speaking of Jeffery, he had a breakout game in Week 4, racking up 107 yards and a score. Who would have thought he would have a stat line better than that in Week 5? 10 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown resulted in him being one of the most added players. Don’t expect another game like last week, but Jeffery could put up 100 yards and score once in a while.
Prediction: Marshall — eight receptions, 91 yards, one TD (15 points); Jeffery — seven receptions, 106 yards, one TD (16 points)
Despite Manning’s struggles, Victor Cruz is the third-best fantasy receiver so far. He has 68 fantasy points, but most of that came from his three-touchdown game in Week 1. He has posted two games with less than five fantasy points, though. Hakeem Nicks and Ruben Randle have taken some targets away from Cruz as well.
Manning and Nicks have revived their connection over the last couple of weeks. Nicks has 21 targets in the last two games. The Bears’ defense have been beaten by opposing wide receivers this year, and it could happen again Thursday, so start Nicks and Cruz.
Prediction: Cruz — nine receptions, 80 yards, one TD (14 points); Nicks — seven receptions, 102 yards (10 points)