Kickoff: Sunday, September 19th, at 1:00 PM EST
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Betting Odds: NE -5.5, 43 total via Oddsshark
New England Patriots
Mac Jones (Sit)
Week 2 will see Mac Jones and the Patriots heading to MetLife Stadium for his first road game of his NFL career. Set to face a Jets team that is also 0-1, Jones is actually coming off of an impressive debut last week in the loss to Miami. Albeit a fumble by Damien Harris that cost New England the game, Jones finished with a QBR of 75.1, throwing for 281 yards and a touchdown. He looked quite poised, and does get to oppose a Jets defense that was hit with major injuries last week against Carolina. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend starting Jones, as the Jets d-line is still their strong suit, and Jones has a rapport to build with his weapons.
Damien Harris (Start, RB2), James White (Sit), Rhamondre Stevenson (Sit), J.J. Taylor (Sit)
It was a game-losing fumble against the Dolphins by Damien Harris that has had fantasy players in the worry this week, as to whether or not he’s in the Belichick doghouse. ESPN’s Mike Reiss speculates his workload could be reduced, yet Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears has belief he’ll step up and rebound from the gaffe. I’ll side with the latter and instill trust in Harris. It’s not to say that this backfield will be his all season, as the Pats historically rotate options on a weekly basis. For example, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, who also fumbled in Week 1, may lose his share of snaps this week to J.J. Taylor. James White remains as the pass-catching crutch, but his better days are behind him ever since Tom Brady left for Tampa.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Nelson Agholor (Start, Flex), Jakobi Meyers (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Start, TE2), Hunter Henry (Start, TE2)
Nelson Agholor did not looked bothered with an ankle injury that slowed down his practice during the week, as he went on to lead the Pats receivers in yards with 72 and a touchdown. If you feel inclined to start him, I would peg him as a FLEX option at-best. Jacob Meyers on the other hand, despite leading the receivers in targets (9) and receptions (6) last week, is not a viable option to start at this time.
It’s going to be a challenge early on in the season to gauge who out of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry will be the guy for Jones. Both tight ends have been viable fantasy options in recent years, but with them now on the same team, it adds for concern each week. If they’re on you roster, you should start ’em – especially because they were on the field more against Miami than WR3 Kendrick Bourne – but I would brace for middling returns.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson (Sit)
All things considered, Zach Wilson had an impressive debut against the Panthers. He was pressured more than he’d like (Sam Darnold is very familiar with that), yet finished snaps for decent gains, one of which went for a touchdown. It’s hard to overcome six sacks as a rookie in your first game, but he showed poise in the 2nd half that, let’s face it, Darnold rarely ever did. In any case, Wilson still has a ways away from fantasy relevancy.
Tevin Coleman (Sit), Ty Johnson (Sit), Michael Carter (Sit)
As I suspected last week, the Jets backfield did not deliver against a (surprisingly) strong Panthers front-seven. Tevin Coleman led the way with nine carries, but turned that into 24 yards. Ty Johnson and Michael Carter both had four carries each, but did not have much to show for it. Until this offensive line can give Wilson and his backs the proper protection, it’s going to be hard for any of the options to turn in fantasy production; which is upsetting especially considering the summer hype for Coleman and Carter.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis (Start, WR3), Elijah Moore (Sit), Jamison Crowder (Sit), Braxton Berrios (Sit), Tyler Kroft (Sit), Ryan Griffin (Sit)
Corey Davis, to no surprise, had a strong game, in which he went 5 of 7 for 97 yards and both of Wilson’s touchdowns. He’s the clear alpha receiver, and should remain on the WR3 radar. Elijah Moore will want to put his debut behind him, as he had a crucial drop on a deep pass from Wilson, and finished the day with just four targets and one reception that actually went for -3 yards. Both Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole should be back from missing last week’s game, but I wouldn’t consider either to be fantasy options; in due time Crowder could potentially have PPR appeal in the slot. Braxton Berrios is an interesting name to monitor, as he too went 5 of 7 for 51 yards, but I wouldn’t be starting him anywhere in regular fantasy formats; perhaps in DFS if that’s your thing?
Tight end’s Tyler Kroft & Ryan Griffin each posted three catches on five and six targets, respectively, but are not fantasy relevant at this time.
-Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)