Last updated: September 12th at 6:30pm
Team Totals: Browns 24, Jets 21.5
Even after an embarrassingly sloppy opener – Freddie Kitchens’ team was flagged an unruly eighteen times, costing Cleveland nearly 200 yards against the Titans – the Browns visit The Meadowlands in favorable position as nearly three-point road favorites with Gang Green missing its starting quarterback. The massive downgrade from Sam Darnold to Trevor Siemian increases the likelihood Cleveland controls this game, which would bode especially well for Nick Chubb. Chubb logged 20 Week 1 touches and played 70% of the snaps, but was unluckily vultured from four yards out in the first quarter by Dontrell Hilliard, who was later concussed and may not play on Monday night. Also in danger of missing are critical Jets run stoppers ILB C.J. Mosley (groin) and DT Quinnen Williams (ankle). Expect another heavy workload with improved efficiency from Chubb as a locked-in RB1 at New York. … Especially behind the Browns’ leaky offensive line, Baker Mayfield must speed up his internal time clock to ward off Jets DC Gregg Williams’ incessant blitzing after holding onto the ball too long in Week 1. Bills wide receivers were open all day long against the Jets in their opener, and Cleveland’s pass-catcher corps is far more talented than Buffalo’s. I’m considering Mayfield a boom-bust QB1 option on Monday night.
Mayfield’s Week 1 target distribution: Odell Beckham 11; Jarvis Landry 7; David Njoku 6; Chubb 4; Rashard Higgins 3; Hilliard, D’Ernest Johnson, and Damion Ratley 2; Demetrius Harris 1. … The biggest reason to stay optimistic about Mayfield is that virtually all of his weapons are in plum spots. Jets “top” CB Trumaine Johnson didn’t have a prayer covering John Brown (7/123/1) last week, and OBJ is even more dynamic. All told, Jets first-team CBs Johnson and Darryl Roberts were obliterated for 12 catches, 187 yards, and a touchdown on 15 Josh Allen targets. … Landry is popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model as Week 2’s No. 4 buy-low receiver, putting Landry firmly in play as a WR3/flex and one-game DFS start. Jets nickel CB Brian Poole is a thoroughly unimposing foe for Landry in the slot. … Higgins gained 46 yards on the Browns’ opening Week 1 drive, getting tackled at the four-yard line at the end of a big gain to set up Hilliard’s TD. Unfortunately, Higgins suffered a knee/ankle injury and wound up playing just 44% of Cleveland’s offensive snaps. He was limited in practice this week. Higgins’ matchup is excellent on paper, but his health isn’t entirely clear. … Njoku’s Week 1 playing time (92%) and target share (16%) were TE1 caliber against the Titans, and he accounted for Cleveland’s lone passing-game score following a 23-yard completion to Landry inside the five. Jets DC Gregg Williams’ tendency to play a safety in punt-returner alignment is historically highly beneficial for tight ends.
All Jets skill players get huge downgrades with short-area checkdown specialist Siemian taking over for Darnold (mononucleosis), whose absence appears likely to extend past Gang Green’s Week 4 bye. (Darnold can be dropped in season-long leagues.) … Le’Veon Bell and PPR-specific slot man Jamison Crowder are the Jets’ only two legitimate Week 2 plays. Bell underwent a late-week shoulder MRI that checked out okay after playing 100% of New York’s Week 1 snaps and logging 92 yards with a score on 23 touches. Volume keeps Le’Veon in RB1 range – he looked explosive and ran with outstanding balance last week – but Browns DC Steve Wilks would be foolish not to sell out to stop him. Ty Montgomery RB5/6 stashers should continue to hold tight. … Robby Anderson’s value was always tied to his deep-game ability and rapport with Darnold. Jets vertical passing will evaporate so much with Siemian that Anderson is worth dropping in 12-team leagues. … Longtime Adam Gase pal Demaryius Thomas will likely slot immediately in for Quincy Enunwa (neck, I.R.) as the Jets’ third receiver. Thomas tore his ACL late last season, and wizardly Bill Belichick traded him to a division rival. I’m not expecting much. … TE Ryan Griffin is a contrarian option on one-game DFS slates after playing every Week 1 Jets snap and leading all NFL tight ends in routes run. Griffin had a touchdown called back due to penalty in last week’s loss to Buffalo. Delanie Walker was an elite TE1 (5/55/2) against this same Browns defense in Week 1.
Score Prediction: Browns 23, Jets 17