Fantasy owners are salivating at the prospects of Monday night's game between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, with some lesser-known players likely stepping up in ways we didn't think possible.
One of the key players to keep an eye on is running back David Wilson. The Giants have not been a dominating rushing team as a whole—they rank 15th in the NFL with 114.6 yards per game—but the parts are a lot better than the sum they add up to.
Ahmad Bradshaw has been incredibly consistent, even though he isn't putting up big yards week after week. He has gotten 10 carries in each of the last two games, running for 57 and 58 yards, respectively, with a touchdown last week against Green Bay.
And backup running back Andre Brown was a breakout fantasy star earlier this season after he ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Carolina. He scored at least one touchdown in five straight games, but a broken fibula suffered last week landed him on Injured Reserve.
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With Brown out for the time being, Wilson should get his first extended look in the Giants' running back rotation. He has put together a solid season, albeit in very limited action, with 102 yards and a touchdown on just 24 carries.
Don't let those numbers scare you, because Wilson is going to start to emerge as a viable fantasy option.
The Redskins are a team that has, surprisingly, excelled at defending the run. They are third in the league in yards allowed per game, but there are a few warning signs that make them vulnerable.
First, despite allowing just 89.2 yards per game, they are giving up 4.1 yards per carry. That is a respectable average, but it is 11th in the league. The Redskins need to get out to an early lead, forcing their opponents to throw the ball to prevent the running game from finding any traction.
Second, the Redskins are 31st in the NFL in pass defense. That means Eli Manning should have plenty of opportunities to find receivers down the field and make big plays.
Since the Redskins will have to sell out, either with extra defensive backs or blitzing more linebackers, there should be gaps beyond the line of scrimmage that give the Giants a shot to make big plays in the running game.
Wilson will finally get an opportunity to showcase the skills that made him one of the most sought-after running backs in the 2012 NFL draft. Fantasy owners will end up reaping the rewards—at least in this one game.