Archive for October, 2009

Trendspotting: Bernard Berrian

Vikings Saints FootballBack in the saddle despite plague (ok, a cold), freezing conditions (well, to a California guy maybe) and rain (yesterday) with this week’s edition of Trendspotting and this week we take a look at what some folks thought woudl be the Big Dude in the Wide Receiver corps, Bernard Berrian.

Where oh where has Bernard Berrian gone?

Where oh where has Bernard Berrian gone?

Berrian has been marginally productive in the past few seasons but this year he has completely tumbled off the map. So much so that he almost became the poster boy for the inaugeral ‘Milk Box’ article here at the Blurb.

Rather than merely write him off, I decided that it might be worth looking more closely at his descent into obscurity and in that way, also look at the Vikings offense as it stands now.

After flirting with 1000 yards for two seasons, Berrian certainly looks to fall short again.

One thing that certainly isn’t helping is the drop in targets. In 2007, Berrian was top on the team with 54. This year he is behind Sidney Rice (48 total) with just 41 targets.

You don’t lose 13 targets without it hurting your production. Adding in rookie Percy Harvin and his 39 targets hurts as well.

Then you still have Chester Taylor and Visanthe Shiancoe getting their targets in.

Frankly, it’s crowded and Berrian went from being pretty much the only option to being one of many.

On top of it, while Berrian has as many red zone targets as Rice (both have seven) Rice’s are more consistent with one nearly every game whereas Berrian’s mostly came in weeks two (three targets) and five (two targets).

Which just goes to point that Favre is looking towards the younger wideout more often when it counts.

Of course, this is still Adrian Peterson’s team and he gets far more red zone looks than anyone.

So the simple fact is – Berrian is getting less targets and those targets he does get are not often in the red zone.

Will this change?

Well with the Vikings winning mopre often than not, with the Favre-to-Rice connection working very well, not to mention the lesser traveled but still viable Favre-to-Harvin and Favre-to-Shiancoe routes, it’s hard to imagine Childress (or Favre for that matter) rocking the boat.

Berrian still has ability – when he gets targets he can make things happen. But Rice has finally flourished and has a very solid connection to Favre.

While Berrian will occasionally have a decent game, he cannot be counted on as more than a WR4 in most formats – and if his reception total continues to stay low, in a PPR he may not even be that.

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Trendspotting: Maurice Jones-Drew

I’ll be the first to admit that I had a bunch of concerns about Maurice Jones-Drew coming into this season. Most of those concerns – regarding his size, weight and their impact on his durability as well as the fact that he has never carried the ball as many times as the Jaguars want him to – are things which take a whole season to play out.
MJD is the Top Fantasy RB in many leagues

MJD is the Top Fantasy RB in many leagues

 
I felt he was still a top ten back. Six weeks in, he’s not only that but a top two back. He’s even the #1 back in many leagues.
 
However, while his overall numbers are very good his week to week numbers have fallen flat a few times.
 
A quick look at his overall games (credit to footballguys.com for supplying the stats) shows a few games where his owners might have struggled.
 
WK   OPP RSH YD TD TARG REC YD TD FPT  
1   IND 21 97 1 8 5 26 0 18.3  
2   ARI 13 66 0 7 4 17 0 8.3  
3   HOU 23 119 3 7 4 28 0 32.7  
4   TEN 6 14 1 3 3 26 0 10.0  
5   SEA 12 34 0 5 5 23 0 5.7  
6   STL 33 133 3 7 5 45 0 35.8  
TOT     108 463 8 37 26 165 0 110.8
 
Looking at the numbers I was struck by how inconsistent the production has been. His big games are big – very few backs have had games like that this season, much less more than one.
On the other hand, he’s had a few subpar games to alternate with those huge games.
 
What is going on with Jones-Drew? Is there a cause for concern? What is causing the yo-yoing production?
 
In this week’s Trendspotting, we look at the diminutive back and examine whether his owners need to sell high – or if the rest of us need to buy.
 
While I was working on the research for this, I did something a little different and threw out a post in the Footballguys forums to take the temperature of his owners and see what people felt might be going on if anything. You can check out response here, but I found very little worry for his prospects and some thoughts on the up and down production which mirrored what I was already thinking.
 
A few people are selling high(ish) and a few are looking to buy but overall his owners are patient and calm.
 
Good stuff there though and I encourage you to check it out.
 
And why shouldn’t his owners be patient. The overall picture in fantasy right now is one of struggling first round running backs.
 
Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Steve Slaton – all are players taken in the first who have had issues in the first six weeks. We could add folks like Tom Brady and Randy Moss (Week 6 fireworks notwithstanding) as well. 
 
So it isn’t a reach to say that Jones-Drew has more than been worth his pick, along with the other survivor of the first round, Adrian Peterson. 
 
I took a look at the many leagues I am in (mostly PPR leagues, but some not) and Jones-Drew is the top back in many of them. You can’t be upset when so many other studs have fallen flat.
 
What about those down games? Well, first consider that in the above graph from FBG’s player page, eight and ten points are not tragic totals (and do not include PPR points). Disappointing? Perhaps. 
 
Looking closer though, Jones-Drew ran into things that may have shut down the production for many of the backs in the same situation.
 
As Sigmund Bloom points out in the thread, both the Arizona and Seattle games he was hamstrung by an early deficit. Looking at those two games, Jones-Drew got his usual amount of catches as well – between four and five which is right at his average so far. Against Arizona he still compiled a nice 83 yards total. 
 
While the Seattle game didn’t even have that going for it, there hasn’t been a back this year who didn’t put up lackluster points once.
 
Still, that game highlights one problem with Jones-Drew – or rather his situation. For whatever reason, the line has not been able to create enough room for him to run. It could be starting two rookies on the line, it could be an echo of the adversity the squad faced last season.
 
Is MJD dissmissing critics like he does these Bills?

Is MJD dismissing critics like he does these Bills?

Luckily, Jones-Drew has proven himself to be that special breed of back who can overcome weakness around him. In the tradition of LaDainian Tomlinson, Barry Sanders and Steven Jackson, Jones-Drew is a back who transcends situation. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns (which we’ll touch on in a minute) but it does say that regardless of his team he will make positive yards most of the time.

 
One thing owners have to love is the propensity of the Jaguars to give him the rock in the red zone.
 
A quick look at the numbers show Jones-Drew has gotten more looks than ANYONE else on the team and by a huge margin. In fact, of 71 total red zone looks, Jones-Drew has been ‘the man’ on 30 of them. The next closest is quarterback David Garrard with 21. After that it is a huge dip to the surprising Mike Sims-Walker who has seven.
 
Of his eight touchdowns, all but one are short yardage/goal line scores. He can still break a long one on occasion (as evidenced by his 61 yards touchdown against the Texans in Week 3) but you know that the team will nearly always give him the rock in the red.
 
Mind you, so does the opposition. That’s true of many stud backs though, so really you’re looking for opportunity and Jones-Drew gets plenty of it.
 
You also have to like some of his upcoming schedule. The Titans aren’t scaring anyone, Kansas City, Buffalo, Texans and Colts can all be run on. The Jets are reeling – we’ll see how they are in a few weeks but they aren’t an immovable object, especially without NT Kris Jenkins.
 
They aren’t all easy match-ups but it’s not an awful schedule.
 
The only concern I have with Jones-Drew is no different than what I was worried about in August: can he hold up to the workload?
 
As much as he hasn’t carried the ball 30 times every game, he has already racked up 108 carries. His first three years the total number of carries were 197 (2008), 167 (2007) and 166 (2006). 
 
He’s already more than halfway to the most carries he has ever had in his NFL career. I’m not even adding the catches, which he should easily eclipse as well this season. 
 
Jones-Drew has never carried the ball as often as he will this season (barring injury). So my biggest concern remains, will he be able to keep it up all season.
 
The team is not forcing either Greg Jones or Rashard Jennings into the mix with great frequency. This is Jones-Drew’s team, it is not a running back by committee nor does it show any signs of becoming one.
 
It is a hard – and honestly very dicey – to try a predict injury. Many people do – I’m not one of them. But we have seen backs fade as a season goes. If Jones-Drew had carried the ball 250+ times at least once in college (as other slight backs have – most notably Barry Sanders who for some reason people love to point out to me was a smaller back who never had injury issues) I’d be less concerned.
 
He hasn’t though and any owner or analyst should at least be a little concerned as the season progresses if he continues on a pace to pass 300 carries (and probably 350 touches total including catches). He’s never done it before – that doesn’t mean he can’t and there is a first time for everything. There aren’t many things more season killing though than to have a stud back wear out as you hit the Fantasy Playoffs.
 
Am I saying sell high? Am I guaranteeing an injury or dip in production?
 
No, not at all. I wouldn’t sell Jones-Drew and if I ran across an owner who was looking to part ways, I would see what I could do to acquire him.
 
What I am saying is, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you own
Will MJD put the facepalm to his critics?

Will MJD put the facepalm to his critics?

Jones-Drew, make sure you have back-ups you would be comfortable rolling with into the playoffs. It’s not ground-breaking advice and further, it applies to just about any stud back.
 
With his lack of history though, it’s more critical than doing so for a guy like Peterson.
 
Otherwise though, if you’re an owner of Maurice Jones-Drew, it may be a slightly bumpy ride but it’s also one that could help you towards a championship.    

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Braylon Edwards to Jets – Impact

Next to the news that Michael Crabtree is set to be a 49er, the Jets acquiring Braylon ‘AH THE BALL SCARES ME’ Edwards for Wide Receiver Chansi Stuckey, Linebacker Jason Trusnik and two picks (thought to be a 3rd and 5th-round pick) was the most surprising news of the morning.

Braylon Edwards Hopes to Regain His Game in NY

Braylon Edwards Hopes to Regain His Game in NY

Rumor has it the 3rd can become a 2nd if Edwards hits certain escalators. Rumor also has it those escalators are ridiculously high.

Frankly, this is something GM Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson have wanted for a long time. To me, this wasn’t necessary. Sure, the Jets could use a WR to pair with Jerricho Cotchery.

Right now though, the Jets have offensive line issues not wide receiver issues. Maybe Edwards will pull defenses off the offensive line. He wasn’t doing it in Cleveland, but maybe it will be different in the Big Apple.

While this is a ‘Win Now’ move for the Jets, I honestly think it was one that was far from critical. Add to it the fact that theoretically the Jets could lose him in 2010 and now you’re renting a cement-handed wide receiver with attitude.

How is that an improvement?

More than likely 2010 will be an uncapped year and the Jets will keep him for a relative song. You can expect Edwards to chirp all off season if that’s the case.

They can’t give Edwards any more money before they deal with Leon Washington’s requests. Washington has done everything they wanted – and quietly – without a new contract.

Edwards won’t care, but Jet management should.

Suffice to say, I am leery of this trade. The Jets may not have given up much but there is a lot more at stake than two players and a pair of draft picks.

What about the players themselves? What is the impact on them?  Let’s take a look.

Braylon Edwards

Well aside from having to be more careful in NYC picking fights than he was in Cleveland, Edwards has a chance at turning his faltering career around.

Edwards had one fantastic season in 2007, but has been unable to recapture his numbers (80 catches, 1,289 yards, 16 TDs). That’s partly on the offense but Edwards shares a huge chunk of that blame.

Sure Edwards has ability – but he’s dropped so many passes at this point, how much do you trust him?

Add to it that he is going to an offense that is supposed to run the ball early and often, despite struggling to do so of late. This is not a ‘bring it and fling it’ offense where he will log a ton of targets, especially not with Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller there.

Edwards has a chance at redemption but limit your expectations. He has to learn a new offense, one that is not receiver focused and overcome his dropped pass issue.

I think Edwards  remains  a WR3 on a fantasy team, with the hope he can crawl up to WR2 status.

Jerricho Cotchery

The upside is, Cotchery has someone across from him who will attract some attention from defenses in a way nobody – save perhaps Keller – does right now. This could help free him up for some better opportunities down the line.

However, we are still talking about an offense which right now is throwing only 50% of the time (110 pass attempts vs 112 rushing attempts), a stat I expect will change to favor the run more as the season progresses.

Fact is, when the Jets get the run going, they will ride it. We just saw what happens when Sanchez needs to throw too often.

So Cotchery, while he may be open more, will be sharing targets with one more legitimate receiver.

I think the quality of his catches may go up (more yards after catch, better percentage of targets caught) but the quantity may suffer.

He should remain a solid WR2 – even as Edwards learns the offense Cotchery will remain a reliable choice for Sanchez.

Leon Washington and Thomas Jones

Add Shonn Greene in here if you’d like, but however you look at it the run game is a shambles.

Now the offensive line has struggled mightily, as I talked about in my Trendspotting Article last week, and part of that is just bad play on their part.

However with a rookie quarterback at the helm, they have been facing  many stacked fronts. A defense will sell out to stop the run and make the rookie beat them through the air.

Sanchez has looked very good at times, but he isn’t scaring defenses. So opposing defenses continue to stack the line.

And wouldn’t you know it, the run game struggles.

Both Jones and Washington (who is sent up the gut like he’s Jones way too often) are being met in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage often.

If Edwards can become a credible threat while helping Cotchery get open, then defenses will have to ease up on he stacked fronts.

Jones and Washington could find their running lanes a little less cluttered which will help them be more productive.

Cleveland

It’s hard to really have much of an effect on something that is already not worth most fantasy owners notice.

But there is some value here and taking Edwards away will affect it both negatively and positively.

Rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi has emerged as a legitimate #1 in Cleveland. The big question here is, will he find himself open as much with Edwards gone?

Certainly his targets will go up. If you had him as a WR4, he will probably stay there though since the overall offense is lackluster at best and he has nobody to pull coverage off him.

Jerome Harrison played very well subbing for Jamal Lewis and will probably keep the majority of the carries. Without Edwards there, he may see some more stacked fronts but really, can it get worse?

No team is waltzing out to meet Cleveland, shuddering in fear of the awesomeness of their wide receivers anyway.

Harrison probably won’t suffer too much for Edwards’ absence though again, you’re talking about a player whose offense is not very good. Harrison is a great bye week filler in the right match-up and an OK RB3 at times.

That won’t change.

Something to watch might be what happens behind Mohamed Massaquoi. Someone may emerge to fill the void left by Edwards.

Will it be Josh Cribbs? Rookie Brian Robiskie? Journeyman Mike Furrey?

Looking at the overall stats, Furrey has been more – and more consistently – than any other Cleveland wide receiver.

Massaquoi may be the defacto WR1, but don’t be surprised if Furrey emerges as the WR2 in that offense.

It may not be worth more than a bench spot on your Fantasy Roster, but it’s something to track.

Even from the worst situations, sometimes value will emerge.

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Trendspotting: Thomas Jones & Leon Washington

NFL_new_york_jets_1[1]Before Brett Favre came to town in 2008, the New York Jets had built their offense to be one that would center on – though not exclusively – the ground game.
 
However, the moment Favre arrived, the Jets morphed into a more evenly balanced attack. Yet despite that, Thomas Jones had his fourth straight 1,000 yard season and his first with double digit touchdowns (Jones had 13 on the ground and a pair receiving).
 
Meanwhile, if you look at his partner in the backfield, most onlookers felt that Leon Washington was criminally underused by the former head coach, Eric Mangini. 
 
Ryan has brought a new attitude to Gang Green

Ryan has brought a new attitude to Gang Green

When new Head Coach Rex Ryan came on board he promised to utilize the offensive line to run block, as it was designed to do. He promised more Leon Washington (so much so that Peter King predicted 300 touches) and drafted a rookie quarterback who would need an effective ground game to keep him from having to win with his arm. 

 
In fact, since Ryan came from the Baltimore Ravens – who had just shepherded their own rookie, quarterback Joe Flacco – confidence was high that this could be a very good season for he Jets rushing attack.
 
After three weeks, what do we have? The Jets are tied for the tenth ranked rushing offense, though that’s largely skewed by game one. Leon Washington has barely topped 40 carries in three games and only has seven receptions. Thomas Jones has had only seven more carries than Washington and only 17 more yards.
 
Both Jets fans and fantasy owners are left wondering what is happening and how much longer it will last.
 
For today’s Trendspotting, let’s take a stab at answering these questions.
 
First let’s look at some hard facts.
 
As ineffective as the Jets run game has seemed, they’ve actually run a ton. They’ve run the ball 104 times versus the 83 times they have passed, a percentage of 56% of the time. A bit more balanced than we anticipated but still not a minuscule amount.
 
In fact, their 104 attempts put them second behind fellow New York team, the Giants. While neither team is totalling extreme numbers, the Jets rank 11th in total ground yards (The GMen are 8th).
 
Where the Jets are struggling is in yards per carry. They are at 3.8 ypc, ranking 22nd in the league. While you might throw the 3.8 out with a mere ‘it’s too early to count it yet’, with the exception of the Giants all the other teams with over 100+ carries are significantly better per carry.
 

TEAM

ATTEMPTS

YARDS PER ATTEMPT

DENVER BRONCOS

102

4.7

MIAMI DOLPHINS

102

4.7

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

102

5.0

BALTIMORE RAVENS

101

4.7

 
Now of course, it’s just three weeks and there are teams who came close to 100 carries like the Detroit Lions (90) with similar YPC (in Detroit’s case, 3.5).
 
Putting aside the small sample size, that’s a significant drop off from the 4.7 that three other 100+ carry teams have the the Jets’ 3.8.
 
So while they are running the ball often, they aren’t doing it effectively.
 
Individually, the yards per carry actually look fine for both backs. Thomas Jones has a 3.77 while Leon Washington has a 4.00 yards per carry.
 
Respectable, right?
 
Well here’s a closer look which tells you things may not be what the appear.
 
 
Watching Thomas Jones the first two weeks didn’t excite me much. Frankly, he looked slow and plodding. He didn’t seem to hit the holes when they were there. 
 
Even in Week 1, when he totalled 107 yards and two touchdowns (his only two thus far this season) Jones looked bad for much of the game. He broke two big runs – one 39 yard touchdown road and a second 39 yard run where he cut back across the defense, who had over-pursued too far to one side of the field.
 
I hate to play ‘taking away run X’ but in order to get a sense of what Jones is doing, you really have to. Because looking at the game as a whole, Jones didn’t look good at all and his yards per carry was awful for most of the game. Same with Week 2. 
 
The majority of runs for Jones are for one or two yards. Occasionally he gets an eight or ten yard run – even more rarely he gets a big gain like the 39 yard runs from Week 1. 
 
Raye's departure could be hurting Jones

Raye's departure could be hurting Jones

For sure, part of this is due to the departure of running back coach Jimmy Raye, who left to be the Offensive Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Under Raye, Jones had two of his most productive years ever. When a coach like that leaves, it certainly can have an affect on a player.

 
Of course, another part of this is could be Jones.
 
I’ll give this to Jones – he is not mailing it in. He may look a little slower than in the past, but he’s fighting hard.
 
Jones’ biggest issue might be – and here’s a shock – the offensive line.
 
As I said earlier, watching him on television for two weeks left me less than enthused. I got even more concerned when I saw Jones in person against the Titans in Week 3 but it wasn’t just because he looked a little slow.
 
Granted the Titans are a great team against the run even at 0-3. Record aside, they are ranked second in the NFL against the rush and they found ways to meet Jones at the line all day. The Jets line really struggled with the inside stunts the Tennessee unit threw at them. 
 
What makes it more difficult for Jones is that he can’t really attack the edge. He doesn’t have that speed and ability to turn that outside corner and when the Jets try that with him, he gets caught. So the Jets have to keep him pounding the middle even when he’s ramming into a wall of defenders.
 
The offensive line play hasn't been as good as expected

The offensive line play hasn't been as good as expected

During the Titans game the Jets’ offensive line didn’t get enough initial push – something that was the case against the Patriots in Week 2 as well. Sure, Jones has lost a step and yeah maybe he’s not all that happy with his contract but those are not affecting his overall work. On Sunday he recovered a fumble, sold the heck out of a play-fake and did some great pass-blocking.
 
Jones is giving effort, he’s just not getting enough help from his line. While I wasn’t in love with his play in Week 1, I’m more concerned with the line’s play in Weeks 2 & 3.
 
I think Jones can still have a very nice season and as Coach Rex Ryan has publicly stated he isn’t planning on putting Shonn Greene in more, he will continue to have opportunity. He’ll turn it around, and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, we have to look over the other half of the rushing attack.
 
Big numbers have eluded Washington so far this year

Big numbers have eluded Washington so far this year

Leon Washington
Ryan promised to use more of Washington in 2009. After an almost criminal under-utilization of Washington last year, fans and owners alike were ecstatic.
 
Washington is certainly getting more snaps, averaging 13.67 a game. He can run between the tackles, though he runs into the same problem Jones does in terms of no push from the offensive line.
 
What I am not seeing enough of, certainly considering what we expected, is a ton of pass targets.
 
In the first game, Washington had six targets, four of which he hauled in for a total of 24 yards. But the last two games he’s seen just five. He’s caught three of them and totaled in two games what he got in Week 1 – 24 yards.
 
Washington is very dangerous out in space and when catching a screen pass yet he hasn’t been used in that manner very often the last few games. Part of that is that teams now what he can do and guard against it. Yet it also comes down to play-calling.
 
Why aren’t Ryan and Offensive Coordinator utilizing him in the pass game more? Perhaps it has just been that in game planning for the last two match-ups, they were concerned both defenses might be waiting for it. That’s the problem early in the season – not a ton of empirical evidence to look over.
 
It could be Washington isn’t in as often on third downs as Jones is, as Jones has been a very good pass-blocker and may have an easier time doing that due to his heavier weight.
 
While Washington has been getting half the carries in the run game and plenty of touches overall, he may not be getting the right touches currently. Just having him run between the tackles – something I saw a bunch on Sunday against the Titans – seems to be a waste of his abilities.
 
 
Sanchez has won Rookie of the Week 3 Weeks in a Row - but that's not helping the run game

Sanchez has won Rookie of the Week 3 Weeks in a Row - but that's not helping the run game

Mark Sanchez
Wait a minute. Why is the rookie Quarterback in this edition of Trendspotting? We’re talking RUNNING BACKS.
 
Well, next to the oline, nobody on the field will impact the not-so-dynamic-duo as much as the ‘Sanchize’.
 
Sanchez – while now a three time Offensive Rookie of the Week and according to the media the ‘front-runner’ after three whole weeks for Rookie of the Year – isn’t perfect.
 
Listen, he’s cool in the pocket, brave to the point of insanity (ever hear several thousand Jets fans shriek ‘SLIDE MARK SLIDE’? I have.) and has been playing pretty contained football so far during this young season.
 
Yet he has forced throws, been baited into bad decisions and at times looked like what he is – a rookie quarterback. The thought prior to the season is that the team would protect him with a solid run game and that might up Jones and Washington’s numbers as it would increase their carries.
 
Of course, there was some discussion about how a rookie quarterback makes it hard on the run game. Defenses decide most of the time to make the rookie beat them and stack or attack the run. They don’t give up on the pass defense entirely, but a rookie quarterback has to earn their respect.
 
This seemed to get lost in some of the conversation about the Jets rushing attack just before the season.
 
As much as opposing teams respect what Sanchez brings to the table and as much as he has shown flashes of the ability to burn them long, he doesn’t do it consistently enough for them to lay off the run. 
 
OC Schottenheimer keeps things simple for rookie QB Sanchez

OC Schottenheimer keeps things simple for rookie QB Sanchez

Further, Schottenheimer and Ryan are keeping things pretty simple for the rookie. They don’t want to risk overwhelming him with too many schemes and choices. Keeping things a little plain allows the defenses playing against the Jets to focus on fewer potential looks and scenarios.

 
Given the large amount of carries, we know the team is protecting Sanchez with the run. But the vanilla plays they often run (with the exception of the occasional WildCat or razzle dazzle) allow the defense to concentrate on stopping that run.
 
Sanchez needs to get better and make a few more plays downfield if the Jets are to pull the dogs off Jones and Washington at the line. It wouldn’t hurt to see a few more screens to Washington either.
 
What To Do?
 
Both of these players are worth hanging on to. When it comes to Thomas Jones, if you have him and are not hemorrhaging points at the RB2 or Flex spot, hold him.
 
As for Washington, like Jones, he isn’t playing as well as we’d hoped. You probably drafted him much later than Jones, so he may not be hurting you as much. I believe he will continue to get his half of the carries and I believe that as Mark Sanchez continues to improve he will be able to move defenses off the line of scrimmage more.
 
Finally, you have to like the Jets schedule as it stands.
 
There are some tough teams, especially at first glance.
 
Looking over the whole of it though, the Jets have some match-ups which should make their backs salivate. Carolina (29th vs run), Oakland (28th), Tampa Bay (31), Atlanta (24th) and perennial good RB match-up Indianapolis (21st) all should be good days for the Jets tandem. Some of them will improve as the season goes and some of their stats are skewed due to small sample size (three weeks folks). 
 
Still they mark some good potential games for the Jets down the road.
 
Also, some of the tough match-ups aren’t necessarily all they appear. 
 
Sure, Miami (3rd vs the run), Jacksonville (14th) and Cincinnati (11th) seem tough against the run – until you look at their pass defense. Miami (26th), Jacksonville (32nd) and Cincinnati (19th) all struggle against the pass. So that’s what teams do – they pass against these shaky secondaries.
 
It doesn’t mean they aren’t decent run defenses or won’t improve. It does mean that a bad pass defense may be inflating what appears to be a good run defensive ranking. 
 
Many of the best match-ups come late in the Fantasy Season – in fact, Indianapolis is there for many owners Championship Week in Week 16. Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta are all late season match-ups as well.
 
In both cases, these are players worth hanging on to. As I believe they will trend upwards over the next month or so, I would also recommend seeing if you can buy low on them. Point out the offensive line woes and the low total yards past week 1.
 
Looking forward I think this is a rushing attack that will improve as the season gets older.

 

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