New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills, 8:25 PM
Ralph Wilson Stadium – Orchard Park, NY
Weather Forecast: Sunny/Clear
Gametime Temperature: 54°F
Probability of Precipitation: 0%
Wind Impact: LIGHT – E at 6 MPH
New York Jets
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Week 1 performance wasn’t anything like what we saw most of 2015, as the veteran QB only connected on 54 percent of his passes for 189 yards. The consolation was two touchdowns passes, but the vertical game and red zone efficiency were both poor. Fitzpatrick only completed three passes over 20 yards and the Jets (who were third in the NFL in the red zone) scored just two touchdowns in five trips.
It doesn’t appear things will get any better this Thursday as the Jets face division rival Buffalo. In his career against Rex Ryan defenses, Fitzpatrick has completed only 47 percent of his passes for an average of 166 yards per game. He is 1-8 in starts and even though he threw four touchdowns in the two meetings with the Bills last year, he also threw five interceptions.
Fitzpatrick is off to a slow start, and the Jets will be too unless things change quickly. Sit Fitzpatrick for Week 2. He is a QB3 in a bad matchup on the road with a short week.
RB Matt Forte
If you drafted Matt Forte with the hope he would be the Jets workhorse, you weren’t disappointed in Week 1. The former Bear rushed 22 times for 96 yards and caught five passes for 59 yards. The only downside was he didn’t get into the end zone. It was good to see Forte targeted seven times, which was third-best of NFL running backs in Week 1.
It won’t be easy Thursday night on the road in Buffalo, however. Although the Bills weren’t a great at stopping the run last season and were average last week, the whole situation stacks the deck against the Jets on offense this week – division game, short week and ineffective red zone efficiency.
Start Forte for Week 2 in all leagues and formats, but only as a solid RB2. Hopefully, he can have more success with a similar amount of touches.
WR Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall was one of the Week 1 busts with just three catches for 32 yards. If you go back to last season, it would have been his second-worst performance with the other being in Week 10 vs Buffalo (3 catches for 23 yards). The frustrating part for Marshall owners is the Jets had two touchdowns thrown to wide receivers (Decker, Enunwa), but none to No. 15. Don’t get too down after just one game. We expect this to be the low point of Marshall’s fantasy season.
As we said, the worst performance last year was against the Bills, but in Week 17, Marshall caught eight passes for 126 yards and touchdown in Buffalo. So, there is a good chance he can repeat that performance.
Buffalo has not been great against wide receivers, so the advantage is in Marshall’s favor for Thursday night. The Jets will find a way to get the ball to their No. 1 guy, so start Marshall in all leagues and formats as a solid WR1.
WR Eric Decker
It was an off day for the Jets receivers against a pretty good Bengals defense in Week 1, and Eric Decker only managed two catches for 37 yards. He did score one of the two Jets touchdowns, so it wasn’t a total bust of a day. Last season in the two meetings with the Bills, Decker was serviceable, combining for 11 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown in each game.
Buffalo doesn’t have a shutdown pass defense, so there will be more opportunities for Decker (although a short week and a division road game are some negatives). Still, start Decker as a low-end WR2 for Week 2, and expect similar numbers to last season.
QB Tyrod Taylor
It wasn’t a great start for the Buffalo offense last week, and Tyrod Taylor’s numbers showed that. Taylor did complete 68 percent of his passes, but for just 111 yards and zero touchdowns. He also only rushed for 11 yards, which was a major part of his fantasy value last season.
The Bills had an NFL Week 1 low of 160 yards of total offense, and the offense managed just 7 points in the loss to Baltimore. They had trouble moving the ball, and the lack of weapons could be a problem in 2016.
Last year, Taylor struggled against the Jets. In two meetings, he finished with less than 350 yards passing and 63 yards rushing combine. New York struggled with Andy Dalton last week, but the Bengals offense is considered a potent one, so it wasn’t surprising.
Taylor is not a good play this week, and if Buffalo’s offense continues to struggle, it could be a long season for the Bills skill players. Sit Taylor Thursday night as a low-end QB2.
RB LeSean McCoy
Although it’s not saying much, LeSean McCoy had the best fantasy day of any Buffalo player last Sunday. He had 20 touches for 70 yards and the Bills only touchdown. Even with the Buffalo offense struggling, McCoy will be the main offensive weapon and has even more value in the PPR leagues (4 catches in Week 1).
The Jets run defense was very good on Sunday, allowing just 57 yards, and they now rank 2nd in aFPA to running backs after one week. However, despite the Bills offensive struggles, we expect McCoy to get a minimum of 20 carries again this week. In his only meeting with New York last year, he rushed for 112 yards.
There is no doubt, he will be the focus of Buffalo’s offense, so start him. But he’s only a high-end RB2 on Thursday, as the Bills have to prove Week 1 was a fluke.
WR Sammy Watkins
Just like in 2015, Sammy Watkins is off to a slow start. In the opener, he caught four passes for 43 yards. Yes, we know Watkins can be streaky, but the second half of last season seemed to be an awakening. So, maybe the entire Bills offense was the problem in Week 1?
The biggest concern for Watkins owners is his health. Early in the week, there were reports surfacing that Watkins could be out for a prolonged amount of time with his lingering foot injury, but he confirmed he will play on Thursday and coach Rex Ryan didn’t disagree.
However, Watkins only rates as a WR3 for Thursday night due to his injury and the matchup. He definitely should be in your lineup in some capacity, but don’t expect a big night from him.
TE Charles Clay
Charles Clay had the biggest play of the game against Cincinnati with a 33-yard reception last Sunday. Unfortunately, he only had one other catch and ended up with just 40 yards. The Bills paid Clay a big contract last year, so you would expect Buffalo to get him more involved. That hasn’t happened enough to where you can count on him from a fantasy standpoint, however.
The Jets have done a good job against tight ends (including last week), so Clay only rates a low-end TE for Thursday night due to the matchup and the Bills struggling offense.
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