Thursday Night Football
Buffalo @ NY Jets
Bills-Jets has a sluggish 43-point Vegas total with New York favored by 2.5. Gang Green's team total is just below 23. ... The primary weakness of Rex Ryan's defense has been on the ground, where Buffalo ranks 26th in Football Outsiders' run-defense DVOA and has coughed up a combined 67-314-4 (4.69 YPC) rushing line to Dolphins, Jaguars, and Bengals running backs over its last three games. Although Chris Ivory has been struggling mightily in terms of rushing efficiency, he is now catching a sub-par run defense on a short week while getting back C Nick Mangold (neck) against a Bills team still missing run-stuffing DT Kyle Williams (PCL). Averaging 21.7 touches per game, Ivory is a high-end RB2 play in Week 10. ... From Tom Brady to Eli Manning to Andy Dalton, Rex's defense has been vulnerable to quarterbacks who get rid of the football quickly. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been above average in that category, ranking eighth among 29 qualified passers in Pro Football Focus' "Time to Attempt" metric with an average of 2.38 seconds before releasing the ball. My guess is Fitzpatrick will have a solid-not-spectacular Thursday night showing. He's a high-end QB2 fantasy option and a passable streamer.
Fitzpatrick's target distribution since the Jets' Week 5 bye: Eric Decker 27; Brandon Marshall 26; Jeremy Kerley 9; Ivory and Jeff Cumberland 8; Zac Stacy 6; Kenbrell Thompkins 4. ... Not only has Decker out-targeted Marshall with Fitzpatrick under center recently, but Decker has the top Thursday night matchup in New York's pass-catcher corps. Aligning at slot receiver on nearly 70% of his pass routes, 6-foot-3, 217-pound Decker will spend much of this game in 5-foot-7, 169-pound Bills slot corner Nickell Robey's coverage. Diminutive Robey has been hemorrhaging catches all season. Decker has scored a touchdown and/or topped 90 yards in each of his seven games played. ... Marshall will do more work against boundary CBs Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby, both top-20 corners among 111 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' grades. Although Marshall's matchup is challenging on paper, he has earned every-week WR1 treatment in season-long leagues by ranking eighth among wideouts in fantasy points through nine weeks. ... Kerley and Thompkins figure to serve as the Jets' Nos. 3 and 4 receivers against the Bills. Kerley played only 48% of New York's snaps in last week's win over the Jaguars and caught 2-of-3 targets for 22 yards. Thompkins played 41% and caught all four of his targets for 45 yards.
As 2.5-point road dogs on Thursday night, the Bills' team total is a shade above 20 against the Jets. ... Tyrod Taylor has made six starts this season, in them finishing as the overall QB16, QB2, QB4, QB19, QB7, and QB19 in fantasy. Taylor's weekly finishes suggest he's something of a boom-bust play, albeit with plenty of upside. Jets coach Todd Bowles' defense has not faced a true dual-threat quarterback this season, and his man-coverage scheme frequently had trouble slowing down Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick when Bowles was the defensive coordinator in Arizona. Kaepernick finished as the weekly QB12 and QB4 in last year's two meetings with Bowles' defense, while Wilson came in as the QB9 and QB1. ... The outlook is more bleak for Buffalo's ground game, taking on a Jets team that ranks No. 1 in run-defense DVOA while holding opposing running backs to 3.43 yards per carry and just one rushing touchdown through eight games. LeSean McCoy is expected to play on Thursday night, but not at full health after twice injuring his shoulder in Sunday's win over Miami. He's a high-risk RB2 play against the Jets. Change-up back Karlos Williams has demonstrated tremendous big-play ability (6.59 YPC), but his touch counts with McCoy active are 6, 6, 12, and 9. Williams would become a much stronger fantasy option on the off chance Shady were declared inactive before Thursday's game.
Taylor's target distribution in his four games played with Sammy Watkins this season: Watkins 21; Charles Clay 17; McCoy 13; Robert Woods 11; Chris Hogan 5; Williams 3. ... Watkins turned in a heroic Week 9 performance (8-168-1) on his balky ankle -- relentlessly torching Brent Grimes -- but will now face Darrelle Revis on a short week after being seen with a "noticeable" limp at Monday's walkthrough. Watkins has mostly struggled against elite cornerback play early in his career, goose egging on three targets in Week 1 versus Vontae Davis and managing receiving lines of 2-27-0 and 3-57-0 in last year's two dates with Revis on the Patriots. Watkins is just a WR3 option in New York. ... Clay has drawn target counts of 1, 7, 5, and 4 with Watkins in the lineup this season. The Jets are 23rd in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. ... No. 2 wideout Woods' target totals are 1, 5, 3, and 2 with Watkins active. Woods does get an attractive Week 10 matchup with Watkins sure to be followed by Revis, and No. 2 corner Antonio Cromartie (thigh) in danger of missing Thursday night's game. Woods is worth a look for deep-league fantasy owners in need of a dart-throw WR3/flex. Complementary receiver stats against the Jets include 5-122-1 (Allen Hurns), 7-102-1 (Michael Crabtree), 8-86-1 (Danny Amendola), 4-40 (Jamison Crowder), 7-122-1 (Donte Moncrief), and 5-81-1 (Kenny Stills).
Score Prediction: Jets 21, Bills 20