DFS advice for Thursday's Jets-Bills game
It was an interesting game last Thursday, as we found out quite a bit about the fantasy football players on both the Broncos and the Panthers. C.J. Anderson turned out to be well worth his DFS salary, while Kelvin Benjamin surprised all of us who expected him to be on a snap count against one of the NFL’s best secondaries.
Each week there is a different story. For this week’s Jets-Bills game, we’ve already learned that the Bills will be without their starting left tackle, Cordy Glenn. This is just a piece of a much larger puzzle. Just as we did last week, we’ll be taking a journey through the Thursday night game, and whether you should be playing anyone in Thursday night DFS.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills (DraftKings $6,300, FanDuel $6,900, Yahoo $27)
It was a nightmare for all Taylor supporters in Week 1, as he fell flat on his face against a Ravens defense who was extremely fantasy-friendly last year. So what happened? It didn’t help that Sammy Watkins was experiencing some severe discomfort in his foot, and actually thought he re-broke it. Still, that’s a small piece of the puzzle that led to Taylor finishing with just 111 yards passing and 11 yards rushing.
Looking at the matchup in Week 2, it gets even worse for him. As mentioned in the opening, he’ll be without his starting Glenn, and against a Jets defense that managed seven sacks last week despite missing one of their stars, Sheldon Richardson. Richardson is back this week and figures to only increase the pressure put on Taylor. He’ll be running for his life in this game, and while it appears Watkins is going to give it a go, you should be fading Taylor in Week 2 and force him to show you something first.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets (DraftKings $6,100, FanDuel $7,100, Yahoo $31)
As expected, Fitzpatrick didn’t quite pick up where he left off last year, when he threw 15 touchdowns over the final six games of 2015. His 5.4 yards per attempt against the Bengals was lower than all but two of his games in 2015, though he did throw two touchdowns. Playing against a Bills team that’s missing plenty of starters is a treat, however. For those who keep track of narrative, this is also a team Fitzpatrick used to play for.
Contrary to popular belief, the Bills weren’t that bad against the pass last year, allowing just three signal callers to top 300 yards. The issue was the touchdowns, as they allowed multiple scores in 11 of their 16 games. This matches up well with what Fitzpatrick and the Jets do, throwing inside of the red zone quite often, while running in between the 20s. It shouldn’t shock anyone to see Fitzpatrick throw for 220 yards and two touchdowns in this game, though his ceiling is limited by lack of competition. He’s a better play on DraftKings than on FanDuel or especially Yahoo.
LeSean McCoy, Bills (DraftKings $6,500, FanDuel $6,800, Yahoo $26)
It wasn’t the start to the season that McCoy had hoped for, finishing with just 70 yards against the Ravens on 20 touches. On top of that, he graded out as our No. 51 of 52 running backs who played more than 25 percent of snaps in Week 1. We need to just chalk that game up as a bad one for the entire Bills offense. The problem is finding out when the drought will end, as they face an even tougher test in Week 2.
The Jets allowed just 56 yards rushing to the Bengals duo in Week 1, and that was without Richardson, one of the main cogs in the middle of the machine. We talked about how much pressure Taylor will be under in Week 1, and this bodes well for McCoy as a receiver. In DraftKings, the price of $6,500 may be worth it, as the Bills are running out of options in the passing game. Watkins isn’t going to be playing at 100 percent and Robert Woods isn’t going to be targeted 10 times. It’s hard to imagine McCoy having success against a defense that allowed just 3.35 yards per carry last year, but there is definitely a scenario in which he catches five or more passes out of necessity. He’s just a low-end RB2 in this matchup.
Matt Forte, Jets (DraftKings $6,600, FanDuel $6,800, Yahoo $25)
It’s somewhat shocking to see Forte priced below McCoy on Yahoo, as they typically have the most competitive pricing. Forte was every bit of the workhorse that we’ve seen for years in Week 1, as he totaled a massive 27 touches against the Bengals, compared to just six for his teammate Bilal Powell. Even those who said Forte was undervalued in drafts couldn’t have suspected this weighted of a timeshare.
Forte isn’t a world-beater on the ground, as he’s failed to average over 4.1 yards per carry the last two seasons. Where Forte often does his damage is in the passing game, and it’s fair to wonder how much he’ll be needed in this game. The Bills had allowed 110 or more rushing yards in six straight games entering Week 1 against the Ravens, where Justin Forsett and Terrance West failed to live up to the trend. Opposing running backs averaged just 4.9 targets per game against the Bills, the lowest in the NFL. Forte is a volume play this week, though his ceiling is capped due to him not being needed in the passing game.
Brandon Marshall (DraftKings $7,500, FanDuel $7,600, Yahoo $33) and Eric Decker (DraftKings $6,500, FanDuel $7,000, Yahoo $27), Jets
It’s rare that you have two wide receivers on a team who give you as much production as these two did last year. Neither of them had a single week where they failed to score at least 10.7 PPR points last year, but in Week 1 of this season, Marshall finished with just 6.2 while Decker eked out 11.7 because of a touchdown. It wasn’t the greatest sign of things to come, but it’s also just one week.
In this game, they’ll have their hands full once again, though, as Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby are arguably the best duo of perimeter cornerbacks in the league. While Decker used to play almost exclusively in the slot last year, he didn’t occupy it all the time in Week 1. Quincy Enunwa did, and he proceeded to post 7 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. This week will be telling, because if Decker stays outside in three-wide sets, this could easily be an Enunwa game, as he’d be matchup up against slot cornerback Nickell Robey, who graded as our No. 96 cornerback of 118 graded in 2015. Marshall should see enough targets to live up to WR2 status, while Decker may offer more upside if he does return to the slot, as it seems he always scores a touchdown there.
Sammy Watkins, Bills (DraftKings $7,300, Yahoo $27)
(Note: FanDuel accidentally left Watkins out of the player pool for Week 2.)
Let’s just cut to the chase here. There is only one way that you’re going to use Watkins this week, and that is if you’re going full contrarian in a tournament lineup. He had one of the premier matchups last week against Jimmy Smith, and he turned that into four catches for 43 yards. The 10.8 yards per catch was his lowest total since Week 10 of last year against… the Jets.
The Bills had trouble targeting him in that game for some reason, and it was not long after where things changed for Watkins. The concern is how long/how well he’ll play with his foot giving him problems. It’s eerily similar to what we saw with Dez Bryant last year, where he played at less than 100 percent and ultimately decided to shut it down for the season. You should be rooting for Watkins to succeed because he’s an amazing talent on the football field, and this matchup against Darrelle Revis is not quite as daunting as it used to be. He’s another player you should be taking the wait-and-see approach with.
Charles Clay, Bills (DraftKings $3,300, FanDuel $5,100, Yahoo $14)
Clay has been extremely inconsistent in fantasy for quite some time, but if you’re looking for a punt-play at tight end, you can definitely do worse than Clay. There’ve been eight games since the start of 2015 where Clay has seen at least five targets, and in those games he’s averaged 5.4 receptions for 56.1 yards, and 13.2 PPR points. Compare that to the games where he’s seen less than five, and he averages just 1.7 receptions for 19.8 yards, and 3.7 PPR points.
When trying to predict the game script for Thursday night’s game, it’s easy to see a scenario where Taylor has to throw the ball 30-plus times, and with a less-than-100-percent Watkins, Clay is the third-best option in the passing game, behind McCoy. Just don’t expect a touchdown, as the Jets have allowed just two of them to tight ends over the last 17 games played. At near the minimum price on all the sites, you could definitely do worse.