What a game it was for the New York Giants as an entire unit. Everything was working for them, their offense put up 36 points, their defense forced 3 Cam Newton interceptions and even their special teams got into the action with 2 forced fumbles. While the team performed well as a whole, it was 2 players who put in serious work in fantasy this week.
I will start with the player that may have actually found himself in fantasy lineups on Thursday, and that is RB Andre Brown who was dazzling. Brown emerged as the top waiver wire target after Ahmad Bradshaw went down in Week 2 with a neck injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brown stepped up in a big way carrying the ball 13 times for 71 yards a rushing touchdown, and 2 receptions for 19 yards. After the strong performance and with the injury to Bradshaw, Andre Brown went from being owned in just .1% of leagues to 42% in a span of 3 days.Heading into Week 3, Brown had passed David Wilson on the depth chart, and with Bradshaw out against the Carolina Panthers, was going to get the majority of the carries on Thursday. While fantasy football expectations for Brown were fairly high going against the Panthers 28th ranked run defense, not only did he pass expectations, he blew them out of the water. Brown was sensational on Thursday, running for 113 yards on just 20 carries, and finding the end zone twice. What makes this game even more incredible is how Brown already had over 90 yards before halftime, and could have been for an even bigger game if not for the Giants commanding lead. After what Brown did tonight, his ownership will sky rocket even more next week, and could approach the 90% mark. This has already been an incredible season for a player who before Week 2 was cut 6 times in his career and had a grand total of -1 rushing yards, this has been one of the feel good stories of the NFL. While the future for Brown is uncertain, he appears to be the lead back until Bradshaw returns from his neck injury, and until then can be relied upon as a Top 15 RB.
Going into Sunday you would be hard pressed to find any fantasy owner who had Ramses Barden on their team, let alone was starting him. Owned in 0.2% of leagues entering the week (a .2% increase from last week), expectations were low for Barden. While Hakeem Nicks was ruled out for the Giants game earlier in the week, many expected rookie Reuben Randle would be the man to step in as the Giants No.2 WR. It wasn’t until early in the day we found out Barden would be starting opposite Victor Cruz, and even then the uncertainty surrounding Barden was there. Expectations for Barden were at floor level before this game, and he took those expectations and took them to the top of the empire state building. In a Victor Cruz like breakout, Barden torched the Panthers secondary catching 9 passes for 138 yards. While Barden didn’t find the end zone, he got open play after play picking up first down yardage and helping move the ball down the field to put the Giants in position to score. Barden was targeted 10 times in this game and caught all but one, while Cruz attracted double teams for most of the game. There is no doubt this outburst will catapult Bardens’ fantasy value, but is this a sign of Victor Cruz 2.0 or is he just a one game wonder. While Hakeem Nicks is expected back next week, I still love the potential of Barden as the Giants No.3 WR. Eli Manning threw the ball 35 times in this game, and easily could have aired it out more if the Panthers even resembled a challenge. Because the Giants like to pass the ball so much, I think Barden is a worthy add even as their 3rd option he could turn into a nice bye week play down the road.
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