Darius Slayton will still lead NFL rookies in TD catches at the end of Week 15.
John Schmeelk: Fact: As of now, Slayton and Baltimore's Marquise Brown have seven touchdowns, which is one more than A.J. Brown, Mecole Hardman and Terry McLaurin. A.J. Brown gets a chance against a struggling Texans secondary and he could score a touchdown. Hardman goes against the Broncos. The Redskins have the Eagles, who have been known to give up big plays to opposing wide receivers. I feel good about Slayton scoring a touchdown this week against a struggling Dolphins secondary, so even if one of his contemporaries scores two he will still be, at worst, tied for the most receiving touchdowns.
Lance Medow: Fact:Darius Slayton entered Week 15 with seven receiving touchdowns, one more than Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown. Those two are now tied for the lead after Brown reached the end zone against the Jets on Thursday Night Football. That means even if Slayton doesn't have a touchdown Sunday, he'll stay even with Brown. The next closest rookies are Chiefs wideout Mecole Hardman (6), Tennessee's A.J. Brown (6), Washington's Terry McLaurin (6) and Seattle's D.K. Metcalf (5). I'll say there's a very good chance, at worst, Slayton is tied for the lead after Week 15.
Saquon Barkley finds the end zone on Sunday.
Schmeelk: Fact: The Giants should have no problem moving the ball up and down the field against the Miami defense and giving Barkley a number of opportunities to score a touchdown from the red zone. The loss of Kevin Zeitler will hurt, but it could also be a game where Barkley gets a long touchdown reception. Because of the Dolphins' penchant for playing so much man to man defense, the Giants should be able to get Barkley into mismatch situations against linebackers in space down the field. I think it is a good bet that Barkley has his best game since Week 2.
Medow: Fiction: Saquon Barkley has just three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) this season and hasn't reached the end zone in the last five games. The Dolphins have surrendered 11 rushing touchdowns this year but just six to opposing top running backs and none in five of the last six contests. Miami is struggling to stop the run as it's tied for 30th in the NFL by allowing 141 rushing yards per game, so it's a very attractive matchup for Barkley but that doesn't mean his chances of scoring a touchdown are that much higher. While Barkley can still score through the air and the Dolphins have surrendered the second most passing touchdowns in the league (31), I think that favors the Giants' receiving corps more so than Saquon.
The Giants will force multiple turnovers vs. Miami.
Schmeelk: Fact: Two words: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is the ultimate boom or bust quarterback. On one play he can put a ball into a small area for an unbelievable big play, and the next he can throw it right to a defensive player for an interception. He throws with so much confidence and anticipation, it sometimes looks reckless. He puts the ball up and trusts his receivers to make a play. Sometimes, it is the defense that makes a play. Giants defenders should have the chance for interceptions this week.
Medow: Fiction:This is a unique matchup because the Giants and Dolphins have the two worst turnover differentials in the NFL. Miami is dead last at -14 and the Giants are right ahead of them at -13, so both of these teams have had issues protecting the ball. The Dolphins have 24 giveaways, fourth most in the NFL, but the Giants have only collected multiple takeaways in five of their 13 games and just once in the last four contests. While Ryan Fitzpatrick has had issues with interceptions throughout his career, he's been picked off at least two times in a game just three times this season. It's easy to think a game like this will be full of turnovers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's the complete opposite.
Oshane Ximines is the X-factor on defense this week.
Schmeelk: Fiction: There are two places I'm looking for x-factors on defense. The first is the interior pass rush. The Dolphins have struggled at pass protecting inside this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Fitzpatrick has been pressured in under two seconds on 79 snaps this season, which leads the league despite the fact he only started 10 games this year. Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence could have monster games. I also like Julian Love and Antoine Bethea to have potential game changing performances if they can anticipate some of those Fitzpatrick throws and grab interceptions.
Medow: Fact: The reason I'm going fact here is because I think the entire linebacker corps is the X-factor on defense this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick is an underrated runner and the Giants will have to be well disciplined with respect to their gaps and assignments because Fitzpatrick doesn't hesitate taking off and running to pick up the first down. Case in point, last Sunday against the Jets he ran seven times for 65 yards and he's second on the team in rushing on the season. He can certainly beat you with his arm as well, but the Giants will need the linebackers to deliver, especially en route to rushing the quarterback.
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