2016 Fantasy Football: Five Must Start Players in Patriots vs Jets

2016 Fantasy Football

Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) pulls in pass reception during overtime to setup winning touchdown as he is defended by New England Patriots cornerback Duron Harmon (30) at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

The 2016 Fantasy Football season is nearing its end. Here are five players that must be started when the New England Patriots play the New York Jets in Week 12.

With the regular season coming to an end, the 2016 fantasy football season is approaching playoff time. Owners are currently checking the waiver wire for late season additions to help put their team in the best position to succeed in their fantasy football playoffs.

The New England Patriots have been a very good team for fantasy football owners this season. Owners that took the risk of using a draft pick early on with Tom Brady have greatly benefited since his return from his four-game suspension.

In addition to Brady being one of the best fantasy quarterbacks this season, the Patriots also have a lot of weapons that owners can choose from. In the backfield alone, the Patriots have three running backs that are likely on most fantasy teams, as Dion Lewis recently returned from the PUP list to join James White and LeGarrette Blount.

With Brady under center, the Patriots also have multiple wide receivers and tight ends that are valuable for fantasy football owners. From pretty much top to bottom on the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots have talent.

For the Jets, the same can’t be said. After having a good season for fantasy owners last year, many players on the Jets have been disappointments this season. In a likely blowout against the Patriots, players on the Jets will benefit from some junk time stats.

It might not be a close game on Sunday, but that could be appealing for fantasy owners. Here are five players to watch when the Jets play the Patriots.

2016 Fantasy Football

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte

Even though the Jets have been struggling, running back Matt Forte has been doing well in recent weeks. In the past four weeks, Forte has run for at least 80 rushing yards in each game. Due to the poor play at quarterback, the Jets have been relying heavily on Forte to carry the load on offense.

In addition to running the ball well the past four weeks, Forte has also totaled four rushing touchdowns in that span. Against the Patriots, Forte will have a somewhat favorable matchup, as the Patriots are ranked in the middle of the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

With Fitzpatrick back under center, the Jets should be focused on running the football early and often. If the Jets are able to find success on the ground with Forte, they will not only perform better on offense, but they will also keep Brady off of the field.

In recent years, the Jets have been successful when they can have long drives against the Patriots defense. Brady can’t hurt the Jets if he is watching the game on the sideline, and that should be the gameplan in Week 12. Expect to see a lot of carries for Forte, which should result in a pretty solid game on the ground for the Jets running back.

2016 Fantasy Football

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) looks on before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Marshall

Due to the struggles at quarterback for the Jets, it has not been as good of a season for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. After a great season with the Jets in 2015, Marshall’s statistics have taken a step back along with the rest of the offense.

This season, Marshall has totaled 43 receptions, 602 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns. The numbers are down across the board for Marshall this season, but he is still the number one option for the Jets in their offense.

Unfortunately, Marshall does not have an ideal matchup in Week 12. This season, the Patriots defense has been very stingy against wide receivers. Coming into Week 12, the Patriots rank seventh in the NFL in points allowed to wide receivers.

Due to the possibility that this game turns into a blowout, Marshall’s fantasy value should go up a bit. It has been five games since Marshall was able to total 100 receiving yards in a game. If the Jets hope to pull off a miracle upset, they must find a way to get their star going. Due to the investment of an early draft pick on Marshall, owners have no other option than to start him and hope the Jets offense wither comes alive or gets some junk time points.

2016 Fantasy Football

November 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) runs against San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35) during the second quarter at Levi

Julian Edelman

The Patriots have arguably the best depth at skill positions in the NFL, and that can make things tricky for fantasy owners. Depending on matchups, players like James White can be a great play for fantasy football owners in certain weeks. However, one of the most consistent players on the Patriots has been wide receiver, Julian Edelman.

Aside from Rob Gronkowski, Edelman is arguably the next best weapon for Brady in the passing offense. Without Gronkowski out last week against the 49ers, Edelman was targeted 17 times by Brady in the win. On those 17 targets, Edelman was able to total eight receptions, 77 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.

In points per reception leagues, Edelman is a great weapon to have, and he could be the number one target for Brady again against the Jets. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the status of Gronkowski, Edelman might be targeted heavily again.

The Jets passing defense has struggled against wide receivers all season, as their secondary has some serious flaws. Edelman is not the traditional size of a number one wide receiver, but he is capable of putting up those numbers. Against a poor passing defense, expect Edelman to have a big game against the Jets.

2016 Fantasy Football

Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) escapes San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Nick Bellore (50) during the second quarter at Levi

LeGarrette Blount

The return of Tom Brady led many to believe that the Patriots would be going away from running the football. However, that has not been the case. Brady is certainly having a great season since he has returned, and the Patriots have been extremely balanced on offense.

Carrying the load for the Patriots running game has been running back LeGarrette Blount. This season, Blount has been one of the best-running backs in the entire NFL. In the entire NFL, Blount is tied for sixth in the league in rushing with Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins.

The matchup against the Jets is far from ideal for Blount, but he has totaled 12 rushing touchdowns this season. Even if the Jets stop Blount from doing a lot of damage on the ground, he will be utilized in goal-line situations. One way or another, the Patriots are going to be moving the ball up and down the field on the Jets. With plenty of scoring opportunities likely for New England, Blount can benefit from them.

The Jets have had one of the best rushing defenses in the league this season, but they have shown vulnerabilities at times. The Patriots appear to be committed to this balanced offense, and the power-running of Blount might wear the Jets front out.

2016 Fantasy Football

Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi

Tom Brady

Since returning from his four-game suspension, there haven’t been too many quarterbacks in the NFL better than Tom Brady. Starting in Week 5, Brady has been on a mission this season, and that mission might result in him being the MVP of the league.

Owners of Brady certainly took a risk using one of their early round picks on a player that missed the first four games of the season. Since then, that risk has really paid off. So far this season, Brady has totaled 20 touchdown passes and just one interception. In addition to the ridiculous ratio, Brady is also completing just over 70 percent of his passes this season.

Even though Rob Gronkowski was unable to play against the San Francisco 49ers last week, it didn’t stop Brady from totaling four touchdown passes in the win. The depth that the Patriots currently have at their skill positions is ridiculous. They are constantly able to rotate fresh bodies, and their formations can leave a defense scrambling.

Brady will be matching up against one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL this season in Week 12. The Jets passing defense has struggled to contain any talented quarterback this season, and Brady is going to have a monster day. On Sunday, expect to see Brady have one of his best games of the season against the Jets.

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