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Week 3 is here in the fantasy football season with the New York Jets traveling to Cleveland to face the winless Browns. Expectations should be low in terms of fantasy production as Vegas has set the over/under at 39 1/2. However, there are a couple of matchups we can exploit from this game.
Tyrod Taylor has not looked good through two games for the Browns and it’s only a matter of time before first overall selection Baker Mayfield takes over. Taylor is completing only 52.9 percent of his passes while throwing two interceptions. However, his ability to run has made him fantasy relevant as he has has rushed for 103 yards with a touchdown through two games. Taylor is currently priced at $10,900 on FantasyDraft which is the same price as Alex Smith of the Washington Redskins who I like more this week. The Jets forced Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw four interceptions in Week 1 and sacked Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins four times in Week 2.
For the Jets, rookie Sam Darnold has flashed at times which is expected, but his inconsistencies are enough to stay away from in a daily format. The Browns defense has played well through two games as they rank third in the league with 10 sacks. It will be interesting to see how Darnold handles pressure as he should be facing a lot of it throughout the game.
The Jets are truly using a running back by committee as Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell are basically an even split in terms of snap percentage through two games. Crowell has 22 carries compared to Powell’s 17, but Powell has six receptions to Crowell’s two. FantasyDraft is a full point per reception so Powell gains the edge over Crowell, but Crowell is over $1,000 cheaper. The Browns can be exploited in the passing game by running backs as James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers hauled in five catches in Week 1 and Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints caught six passes in Week 2. If I’m choosing to play one of these running backs, I’d go with Powell, but his price is too high for my liking in a game that should be low scoring and the amount of touches unknown.
Game flow dictated the Lions to abandon the run in Week 1, but the Dolphins were able to rush for over 135 yards against the Jets in Week 2. There is no split backfield in Cleveland as Carlos Hyde is playing 58 percent of the snaps for the Browns. Duke Johnson cuts into some of Hyde’s playing time and the Browns would like to get him more involved, but he is used in the passing game. Along with a low scoring game, Vegas believes this matchup will be close as the Browns are only three point favorites. I can see a game plan by the Browns that involves Hyde touching the ball close to 15 times. I wish Hyde was more involved in the passing game, but his $11,000 price tag isn’t terrible and he won’t be losing any carries to another running back.
Even with the potential of a low scoring game, there are a couple of wide receivers in a great spot. Browns wide out Jarvis Landry has a top five matchup this week according to Pro Football Focus. The veteran let us down in Week 2 against the Saints with only five catches for 69 yards after a Week 1 performance that saw him get 15 targets that resulted in seven catches for 106 yards. Unfortunately, Landry is listed as questionable and may not play. If this was a Sunday game where the veteran had a few more days to recover I may be willing to roll the dice, but at a price tag of $13,400, it just isn’t worth it.
If Landry can’t go or is limited, teammate Antonio Callaway would make a terrific play at $8,300. After the departure of Josh Gordon, Callaway is the number two receiver and capitalized in Week 2 with three catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Callaway is cheap enough to consider even if Landry is playing if you need the salary relief.
For the Jets, Quincy Enunwa has established himself as Darnold’s favorite target as he has received 21 targets through the first two weeks which has resulted in 13 catches for 155 yards and one touchdown. The price tag has not caught up to the production as Enunwa is only $10,300. It should be noted Enunwa has a top seven matchup this week according to Pro Football Focus. If I’m playing any skill player in this game it will be Enunwa.
Until we see more consistency from Darnold and the confidence to throw it downfield, I will avoid other Jets receivers like Robby Anderson.
The Browns have historically struggled against the tight end position, but the Jets have yet to make that position a focal point in their offense. As for the Browns, David Njoku is second on the team in targets and catches, but he has been ineffective as well as he only has 33 receiving yards. I like Njoku’s talent, but until he becomes more of a playmaker, I will avoid. I love targeting tight ends against the Browns, but the Jets reluctance to utilize that position in their offense makes this a situation to avoid as well.
Outside of Enunwa, if I’m targeting this game on FantasyDraft, it will come on the defensive side. As noted, Vegas expects this game to be low scoring which immediately puts both defenses on the radar. The Browns are the fourth most expensive defense this week at $6,400, but that is not too concerning. Their ability to put pressure on the quarterback, evidenced by their 10 sacks is exactly what we want to see from a defense. If we consider they are playing at home against a rookie quarterback and favorite to win, it’s a nice spot to roster the Browns defense. Darnold has also been sacked five times through the first two games.