Last updated: September 7th at 2:22am ET.
Team Totals: Jets 21.5, Bills 18.5
Bills-Jets carries Week 1’s second-lowest total (40) but has been bet up by a point and a half since open and offers at least one compelling DFS-tournament stack in Josh Allen to John Brown versus the Jets’ no-name cornerbacks. Fantasy’s overall QB1 last Weeks 12-17, Allen attempted 20-plus-yard downfield throws at a league-high 19.7% rate, while 4.34 burner Brown’s 16.1-yard aDOT ranked fifth highest among players with 40-plus targets. Per Next Gen Stats, Jets “top” CB Trumaine Johnson forced a tight window on just 10.9% of his targeted passes last season, third lowest among 64 qualified corners. New DC Gregg Williams’ extreme blitzing sacrifices coverage players for pass rushers, while Gang Green is imposingly stout up front with Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams, Henry Anderson, and Steve McLendon on the line, and $85 million ILB C.J. Mosley behind them, creating pass-funnel possibilities. … Correspondingly, Buffalo’s backfield looks like a full fantasy fade based on matchup and expected committee usage. The Bills lack offensive-line continuity after playing musical chairs in the front five throughout August due to C Mitch Morse’s fourth-career concussion, second-round T/G Cody Ford’s inability to nail down a surefire starting role, and LG Quinton Spain’s ankle sprain. Even with LeSean McCoy jettisoned, touches remain up for grabs between rookie Devin Singletary, timeless Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon. Let’s look elsewhere for Week 1 running back sleepers.
Buffalo’s three-receiver set is rounded out by Zay Jones and Cole Beasley with Robert Foster in the No. 4/situational deep threat role. One may produce a fantasy-viable game considering Buffalo’s pass-defense-deficient opponent, but it’s anyone’s guess who it’ll be. Jones has cleared 70 yards twice in 31 NFL games. Beasley is a low-ceiling, low-efficiency slot player on a run-first team whose quarterback struggles with accuracy to all levels and tends to put too much mustard on short throws. Foster runs 4.41 and led all rookies in PFF’s predictive yards-per-route run metric last year but will play limited snaps. … Bills tight ends are safe to avoid with Tyler Kroft (foot) sidelined, Jason Croom (hand) on I.R., and rookies Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney as top passing-game candidates while Lee Smith blocks.
Fresh off a sparkling preseason where he completed 17-of-25 passes (68%) for 211 yards (8.4 YPA), two touchdowns, and no picks in Adam Gase’s no-huddle offense, Sam Darnold’s Week 1 matchup is unfortunately among Opening Day’s toughest against a well-coached Buffalo secondary under Sean McDermott that returns 4-of-5 starters after finishing No. 2 in pass-defense DVOA. Last year’s Bills allowed 300-plus passing yards in just 1-of-16 games and the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks by a whopping 1.5-PPG margin. Gang Green’s pass-defense schedule won’t soften for awhile; after Buffalo, the Jets draw Cleveland, New England, Philly, Dallas, New England again, and Jacksonville all in a row. Despite Darnold’s August progress, I’m not betting on QB1 fireworks out of the gate. It doesn’t help that playmaking TE Chris Herndon is ineligible until Week 6. … After not playing a single preseason snap, some beat writers have suggested Le’Veon Bell will share time with Gase-favorite Ty Montgomery early in the year, or at least until Bell shakes off rust. Bell’s patience-based running style requires chemistry with his offensive line, and he hasn’t played live football in 20 months. LG Kelechi Osemele (pectoral), RG Brian Winters (shoulder), and RT Brandon Shell (knee) all missed practice time during training camp, while C Ryan Kalil signed on August 1. As Bell averaged 3.6 missed games per year over his first five NFL seasons, Montgomery should be stashed in all season-long leagues as an RB5/6.
Robby Anderson figures to command Tre’Davious White’s shadow coverage, although Gang Green’s 4.41 speedster won their battle last Week 14 by dusting White for most of Anderson’s 4/76/1 receiving line. Camp reports had Gase scheming more short and intermediate targets to Anderson, which would raise the floor for New York’s historically boom-bust receiver. Anderson’s tough matchup and late-camp calf injury still render him a fringe WR3 play. … From JuJu Smith-Schuster and Deontay Burnett at USC to Quincy Enunwa early last season and Jermaine Kearse late, Darnold has long peppered slot receivers with passes, while Gase’s Dolphins heavily featured Jarvis Landry. All of this should bode well for Jamison Crowder, a sneaky bet to pace the Jets in 2019 targets. Week 1 doesn’t present an ideal matchup – Bills second-year slot CB Taron Johnson was stingy when healthy as a rookie, and Buffalo’s secondary is stout all around – but Crowder should be rostered in PPR season-long leagues as a WR4/5 with WR3 upside. Crowder’s target share should benefit from Herndon’s absence; both operate in the middle of the field. … Signed to a four-year, $36 million extension by Gang Green’s pre-Gase regime, Enunwa’s usage is to be determined as the Jets’ No. 4 pass option. Last year, Enunwa averaged 1.75 yards per route run in the slot but only 1.07 YPPR on perimeter plays. … Texans castoff Ryan Griffin is expected to fill in at tight end until Herndon returns in Week 6.
Score Prediction: Bills 21, Jets 20