TNF Preview: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills -0.5[the_ad id=”63198″]This week’s matchup doesn’t pack as much of a marquee punch as the week prior but if there is one thing that this matchup will not lack it is bravado. It will be a battle of AFC East foes as the rough and tough New York Jets head to Buffalo to take on their former head coach Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills.
This week two matchup will be a bit of a revenge game for the Jets as their playoff hopes were crushed last season when they lost to the Bills in the season finale. Just in case you were looking for another reason to watch, both teams will be hungry and looking for their first win of the season.
The Buffalo Bills are coming off of an ugly week one performance as they were no other team in the leagues besides the Rams to not score less than double digit points. They are led by Tyrod Taylor who will look to get the offense back on track after a 13-7 loss to the Ravens in week 1. He will have to do so while their star wideout continues to deal with a nagging foot. It was a murky preseason for Sammy Watkins whose foot was the source of injury concern throughout the summer months. Those concerns are now bleeding into the regular season as Watkins vows to play verse the Jets but will surely play while being hindered by his surgically repaired foot. Regardless of what Watkins can contribute, Tyrod Taylor will need to become more proficient than the 111 yards of passing he had this past Sunday. In his two starts against the Jets in 2015, Taylor completed thirty-five of fifty pass attempts for 340 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. As one would suspect, he made a contribution on the ground as well with 63 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Tyrod Taylor won’t have to go alone though with LeSean McCoy lining up in the backfield. McCoy has been a major player among running backs since his time in Philadelphia and will need to continue to do so if the Bills plan to do some damage this season. In this past Sundays season opener, McCoy was able to cash in a goal line carry for but ultimately ended up with just 70 yards of total offense. He will need to improve upon those numbers to help the Bills this week but much like Taylor, McCoy will have to deal with a supporting cast member injured as well. The Bills starting left tackle Cordy Glenn suffered an injury to his ankle against the Ravens this past week and as of Wednesday morning had been ruled out for this weeks matchup. Regardless of where the Bills lean on, from an offensive standpoint, the defense will need to step up to contain Fitzpatrick. Despite finishing 31st in sacks last season, the Bills defense registered the third most sacks (4) among defenses in week 1. They’ll look to do so against a Jets offensive line that only gave up one sack verse the Bengals.
In the years past, the Jets had been predominantly known as a ground and a proud sort of team but nowadays they have flipped the script. It is now the air attack that will keep the Jets dangerous in 2016 and that is behind the strong arm of former Buffalo Bill, Ryan Fitzpatrick. This past Sunday, however, wasn’t exactly a seamless transition from his 2015 numbers as he finished with just 189 yards passing. Last season he finished only three game with less than his Sunday output and will need to pick up the pace to keep the Bills down. When the quarterback play is subpar the pass catchers tend to suffer and that was the case on Sunday as both Decker and Marshall combined to finish with just 5 receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. One spot Fitzpatrick may want to take notice of is the slant route out of the slot position as the Bills were gashed over the middle with a 66-yard touchdown strike from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace. No matter where Fitzpatrick decides to throw the ball the Jets success will be predicated on the production of their passing game.[the_ad id=”65749″]
With all of this talk about the passing game, it is only fair to provide a bit of insight on the Jets ground attack. In his team debut at home, Matt Forte finished with 96 yards rushing on 22 attempts. They will continue to need him to help move the chains much like in week one he was responsible for five first downs off of handoffs. Those who know Forte from his days in the windy city, know he is more than capable of being an asset in the passing game. He continued to prove that point against the Bengals further as he averaged 11.8 yards per completion (5). The defense, which is usually an asset for the Jets was one of the main factors in their heartbreaking 23-22 loss to the Bengals. They had surrendered 366 yards through the air including three pass plays of 40 yards or more to three different receivers. It wasn’t all bad for the Jets defense on Sunday as they held the Bengals to only 57 yards rushing. Keeping the rushing game at bay this Thursday night could force the Bills to work out their passing game kinks on the fly. Both games between these two teams ended with final scores of 22-17, and I do not think that this Thursday’s contest will be that far off.
My prediction: Jets 27 Bills 17
Thursday Night Football Fantasy Tips:[the_ad id=”58837″]Although these two teams had less than desirable season openers, I think this matchup still has some fantasy football appeal to it. As for as the Buffalo Bills are concerned I would say that if you own LeSean McCoy you are most definitely starting him. I reckon that with Watkins foot being what it is the Bills will need to rely on the run game to stay in this one. In a week 10 matchup last season, McCoy finished the game with 112 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving. If he manages those sorts of stats while finding the end zone, I think he could be a productive start for you. If you’re looking to start one of these two quarterbacks in week 2, I would say you could do a lot worse than Fitzpatrick and a lot better than Taylor. I think ultimately Taylor trying to overcome Watkins foot issues will prove to be too difficult. I think you’re going to see one more week with Taylor giving less than a stellar return. I personally would want to wait this week out to see if Taylor could show me something and if you have a quarterback with a better matchup this weekend I would look to start him instead.
With all of that mind, I would also look to start the Jets defense in this game as I feel this matchup has bounced back written all over it. As far as the Jets offense is concerned I would be looking to start some of their major players. Those players being Fitzpatrick, Marshall, and Decker. Although Forte was universally thought to be overvalued in drafts, I still like him within this offensive scheme. Having a pass catching back as capable as Forte should help limit some of the extra attention that Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker could potentially receive. I especially like Marshall to bounce back on Thursday with the thought that it is difficult to keep a good wide receiver down in consecutive weeks and I like to him to get into the endzone . If I own Matt Forte I would give him RB2 or flex consideration but I would also keep my eye on what the Jets do in the red zone. Fitzpatrick had 73 red zone passing attempts in 2015 and that could ultimately skew Forte’s value. I say that starting some Jets this Thursday could put you in a good mood on Friday morning while starting some Bills could potentially have you singing the blues by the water cooler.
Mike is a hardcore fantasy football fan. He has been doing serious writing for a couple of years now and loves finding the next big sleeper that no one is talking about. He also isn’t afraid to go against the grain and predict the next big bust. The fantasy community is as strong as ever and Mike is ready to help you win a title!