Welcome to the first annual Rex Ryan Bowl.
Week 10 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night when the Buffalo Bills travel to MetLife Stadium to take on Ryan’s former team, the New York Jets, in an AFC East rivalry showdown.
There are plenty of storylines off the field, but Ryan’s bulletin board material to shouldn’t concern you as you set your fantasy lineup. So who should you start and sit for “Thursday Night Football”? We broke it down by position below.
Quarterback: If you’re an opposing QB, the Jets are the team you want to face. New York has allowed at least 330 passing yards in each of its last three games, surrendering eight passing touchdowns over that span.
That said, Tyrod Taylor isn’t going to chuck the ball all over the yard in this run-oriented offense. A healthy Sammy Watkins boosts his stock, but Taylor looks like a low-end QB1 for Thursday night. Start him if you need to, but look for other options.
Running Backs: What to do with Buffalo’s running backs? LeSean McCoy is probable with a shoulder injury, but will Karlos Williams poach some of his touches?
Both players topped 100 yards rushing last week, but a repeat will be tough to pull off against a Jets defense that’s surrendered just 80.6 rushing yards per game, the lowest total in the NFL. McCoy is a solid RB2 and Williams is a fringe RB2/3, but we’re not crazy about either option.
Wide Receivers: This one’s pretty straightforward: Sammy Watkins is the only Bills wideout you should have on your roster, and you should start him.
Watkins should see a lot of top Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, but New York has been vulnerable against the pass of late, and you can’t bench Watkins after his 168-yard performance last week.
Tight End: Charles Clay has garnered just four catches on six targets over his last two games, and the Jets haven’t been too friendly to opposing tight ends, surrendering a total of two touchdowns to TEs through eight games. Look elsewhere for your tight end this week.
Defense/Special Teams: The Bills’ D/ST has bounced back a bit after some rough performances, tallying 18 points in standard-scoring leagues over its last two games. This projects to be a low-scoring affair, so Buffalo is a solid mid-level option.
New York Jets
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick looks good to go despite a torn ligament in his left thumb, and the Bills have surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in six of their eight games this season.
We’d put Fitzpatrick in the same tier as Taylor this week as a low-level QB1.
Running Backs: Chris Ivory has really struggled over his last three weeks, but he saved fantasy owners last Sunday by scoring two touchdowns.
The Bills have been surprisingly porous against the run this season, and in a home Thursday night game, we’re expecting Ivory to get plenty of touches. Give him the start.
Wide Receivers: Brandon Marshall has been a model of consistency this season, scoring 10-plus fantasy points (standard leagues) in seven of his eight contests this season. Eric Decker hasn’t been far behind and has found the end zone three times in the last four games.
Both Marshall and Decker are solid WR2 options who should be started against the average Bills pass defense.
Tight End: The Jets don’t have any viable tight end options in fantasy. Sorry, Jeff Cumberland.
Defense/Special Teams: The Jets’ stingy run defense will be put to the test Thursday against Buffalo’s potent rushing attack. As mentioned above, though, there shouldn’t be too many points scored in this one, making New York a serviceable middle-of-the-pack option.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images
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