Packers vs. Giants: Fantasy Predictions for Marquee NFC Matchup
The battle between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants on Sunday Night Football may be one for NFC supremacy to some, but many more around the country will be focusing on the cavalcade of fantasy football implications.
Lineup stalwarts like Aaron Rodgers, Victor Cruz, Randall Cobb and more will all take the field Sunday night. Those players being in action will undoubtedly leave fantasy matchups across the world hinging on the performance of top-scoring stars.
Luckily, a quick look at the matchups strongly indicate which players will shine and which ones will have flat performances.
With that in mind, here is a complete fantasy breakdown of Sunday night's game between the Packers and Giants.
Fantasy Stud: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
After causing some widespread panic with an early-season swoon, Rodgers has been nothing short of sensational over the past seven weeks.
The 2011 NFL MVP has reentered this year's discussion with 24 touchdown passes against just four interceptions in that span. It also comes as no shock that Green Bay has won six of those contests, including five straight coming into Sunday.
Even more impressive is the fact that Rodgers has ascended despite frustrating injuries to his top receivers, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings.
However, both guys could possibly be back in the lineup on Sunday night, giving Rodgers perhaps the deepest stable of receivers in the NFL. Randall Cobb was a breakout star in Jennings' absence, and there is little reason to think he and Rodgers won't continue their secondary-ravaging ways.
The Giants come into Week 12 giving up 257.8 passing yards per game, which is good for 25th in the NFL. Look for Rodgers to come through with another brilliant performance (say, 300 yards and three touchdowns) on Sunday.
Fantasy Dud: Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw
On paper, Bradshaw's stats look completely worthy of being considered a No. 2 running back. His 675 rushing yards rank 15th in the NFL and his four rushing touchdowns are shocking right in the middle of the pack as well.
However, as most Bradshaw owners already know, his value is extremely inflated from a two-game outburst in Weeks 5 and 6. Facing off against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers, the Giants back ran for 316 yards and two touchdowns, both in dominating victories for New York.
Those games represent 46.8 percent of Bradshaw's yardage value and account for half of his touchdowns on the season. In the other eight games of the season, the 26-year-old running back averaged just 44.9 rushing yards per game.
Struggles of that level alone should cause owners hesitation about starting Bradshaw. Couple that with Green Bay ranking No. 10 in the NFL against the run and Sunday has all the makings of another dud.
Circumstance may force Bradshaw into your lineup, but avoid starting him if at all possible.
Fantasy Sleeper: Giants WR Hakeem Nicks
OK, maybe it's a bit of a cop-out to have someone of Nicks' caliber as a sleeper for Sunday. However, considering the frustrating season the Giants receiver has had thus far, it's not exactly a stretch to say some owners have moved on from starting him.
For his career, Nicks has been an absolute marvel against the Packers' secondary. In two regular-season contests, he's combined for 11 receptions 181 yards and three touchdowns—and we're not even counting his nine catches, 165 yards and two touchdowns from last season's playoff matchup.
Even more importantly, Nicks looked healthy against the Bengals in Week 9. With a week off to rest his ailing knee, the Giants wideout should be as close to 100 percent as we'll see him all season.
A healthy Nicks should return to top-shelf WR2 or low-end WR1 status on Sunday, assuming Eli Manning performs as expected, of course.
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