New York Giants' wide receiver Mario Manningham was expected to blossom this season with the departure of Steve Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles. Anytime that Manningham had started in the past, he put up close to elite numbers.
Victor Cruz has stolen his thunder throughout much of 2011, however. Manningham didn't catch his first touchdown pass of the season until last week.
The team's No. 1 receiver, Hakeem Nicks, is likely going to miss this week's contest against the New England Patriots, meaning Manningham won't have to compete for snaps. He has a chance for a breakout week against a porous pass defense.
Manningham is a recommended fantasy play in Week 9 and has a chance to solidify himself as a strong every-week option for the rest of the season with a good performance. New England is ranked last in the league in pass defense, so his owners are hoping for a huge week.
Giants' quarterback Eli Manning is playing some of the best football of his career as well, adding to Manningham's potential. He's really limited his turnovers this season and has been making good decisions.
Manning's strong play combined with the recent foot injury to running back Ahmed Bradshaw should mean the Giants will be pass-heavy this week against New England. More good news for Manningham, as he figures to hit the double-digit mark in targets.
It's also important to note that the Giants' receiver is a momentum player, as shown by finishing 2010 with three straight 100-yard games and four touchdowns. He's had at least 50 yards the last three weeks, but last week's touchdown grab should raise his production even higher in the coming weeks.
Look for Manningham to hit the 100-yard mark for the first time this year and also reach the endzone at least once. If you own him, plug him into your starting lineup and enjoy.