Cover Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After flirting with a potential return for the last couple of weeks, New York Giants pass-rusher extraordinaire Olivier Vernon will finally make his long-awaited season debut Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

When healthy, Vernon transforms this Giants defense from a middle-of-the-road maybe to a cusp starter in fantasy leagues. His combination of speed, strength, and athleticism makes him a perfect fit within the Giants' new 3-4 defensive scheme. Although Vernon will spend most of his time rushing the passer, since the Giants have struggled in that area this year, he will be able to do it from various positions -- not only from the end of the defensive line.

The Giants defense is the 28th-ranked fantasy defense thus far and rank dead last in sacks, with six total on the year. Vernon's return should change that.

While many owners might wait a week to let Vernon shake off the rust, starting the Giants defense tonight isn't a bad idea. Thursday Night Football games favor the home team and are often low scoring as is evident by the 43.5 over/under.

​it would be wise to monitor this Giants defense week to week as they could see big improvements, becoming fantasy relevant over the latter half of the year (see weeks 8, 10 and 11 with matchups against the Redskins, 49ers and Bucs, respectively). 

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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.