Two months ago, you would’ve laughed at this Thursday night matchup and made other plans. At that time, both of these teams due to their offseason moves were seen to be tanking, and looking towards the future of their franchises. Now, the Bills at 5-2 were buyers at the trade deadline as they make a playoff push, and the Jets with three wins have exceeded the expectations of many. For most, this could be their first time watching either team for the season so it will be intriguing to see which players standout.
Despite the Bills not asking Tyrod Taylor to air it out frequently, he has stepped up so far in 2017 with a completion percentage that would be a career best, and throwing just two interceptions on 196 attempts. While the lack of passing game volume isn’t what fantasy owners want to hear, Taylor is certainly worth a start this week. As six teams are on bye, Taylor goes against a Jets pass defense that for the most part has struggled against the pass and has allowed the fourth most rushing yards to quarterbacks. In a week like this, that makes Taylor a fantasy starter with a high floor.
Between his volume and finding the end zone in recent weeks, LeSean McCoy will be locked in for all fantasy players. What I’m most interested in seeing today is his usage in the passing game which could be the difference. For the season the Jets have allowed over 400 receiving yards to opposing running backs and McCoy who already has 38 receptions for the year, figures to add to that total.
The Bills pass catching situation for fantasy purposes is shaky to say the least for fantasy purposes. While newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin might play in the game, odds are there won’t be many snaps for him outside of redzone packages. Zay Jones has seen over 30 targets to this point, but has just ten catches to show for them. Jordan Matthews has only seen seven targets since the bye, but Andre Holmes is a player to watch. While the targets haven’t been there, Holmes has shown through his career that he is capable of producing big plays.
Josh McCown to the surprise of many has played admirably to this point for the Jets given the circumstances. The good news for him is the Bills have allowed over 300 passing yards each of the past three weeks. The bad news is they’ve allowed just seven passing touchdowns all season. Against this Bill defense, McCown’s floor from a fantasy standpoint is solid but the lack of touchdowns allowed makes for a risky play.
For the ground game, Bilal Powell and Matt Forte have seen a similar amount of snaps of late but Powell has seen more touches. While both could see double digit touches, Powell due to passing game involvement could be a safer bet in fantasy formats. In four of his last six games, Robby Anderson has either recorded 75 plus yards or scored a touchdown. Despite that, he is still a riskier fantasy play as rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White has certainly impressed so far. Anderson remains a boom or bust receiver play this week. Jermaine Kearse got off to a hot start with his new team, but has had just one game with 50+ yards since week two so unless you’re in a very deep league he’s worth keeping on the bench. The best matchup of the night could belong to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. McCown has shown he’ll target him often, and the Bills have struggled covering tight ends of late. The man known as ASJ should be locked into all lineups.
With the Bills now in the playoff mix, some may think this game could be a blowout. The Jets though have fought hard all year, and against a divisional opponent at home in primetime I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a relatively close contest. My prediction is Bills 24 Jets (+3.5) 20.