Thursday Night Fantasy Football Preview: Jets at Patriots

Though he's only faced them three times in the last three years, Gronkowski produces favorable numbers against the Jets.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

After four slow weeks for Tom Brady and the Patriots, the past two games have been quite the turnaround. In the first four contests of the season, New England scored a total of 80 points (20, 30, 16, and 14). Against the Bengals and Bills, the Patriots scored 80 points (43 and 37).

Thursday games are starting to be a trend between these two teams. This will be the third-straight year that these teams have played each other on four days’ rest.

Last season, it was in Week 2 and the Pats won by a 13-10 decision. Two years ago (Week 12), New England destroyed New York, 49-19.

The Vegas line predicts this game to end 27-17, Patriots (New England favored by 10, over/under of 44 points).

Strong plays:

Tom Brady, NE – He goes from throwing one touchdown pass in the first four games, to averaging three TD passes in the last two matchups. Brady’s head-to-head stats against the Jets (18-6) aren’t as great as last week’s record versus the Bills (23-2). However, the Jets have allowed the most touchdown passes to the opposing quarterback (15 TDs) this season and have the fewest interceptions (one).

Rob Gronkowski, NE – Gronk’s four TD receptions are 40 percent of Brady’s touchdown passes this season. Now that he’s “100 percent,” Gronkowski has been targeted 20 times and has caught 13 passes for 194 yards in the past two weeks. Here are Gronk’s last three games against the Jets…

Julian Edelman, NE – This season, Edelman has 56 targets, which is 26 percent of Brady’s passes. He has been targeted, at least, seven times per game this year. In a PPR league he is a strong play, but in a standard format I would move him down to a medium play.

Medium plays:

Brandon LaFell, NE – His targets aren’t many, but LaFell takes advantage of his opportunities. This season, he has 15 catches and three touchdowns. Also, those three TDs are in the past three games. In a deeper league, I’m considering LaFell as a decent option for Thursday night.

Shane Vereen, NE – Choosing a running back in a Bill Belicheck offense can be risky. But, now that Steven Ridley is out for the year, there could be some clarity for the running game. Though Vereen has never had more than nine carries in his last 10 regular-season games, he seems to be in line to earn a majority of the rushing attempts.

Eric Decker, NYJ – Decker has played in five games this season and has scored in three of them. If you have him in a PPR league, Decker has scored in the double-digits in four of those games. He has become a decent WR3 option.


Chris Ivory, NYJ – If you have to choose a running back from this matchup, I’m leaning towards Ivory. Not only has he scored two rushing touchdowns, but he has recorded at least 44 rushing yards in five out of six games. The only game where he was a complete bust was last week against Denver (eight carries for seven yards).

Weak plays:

Chris Johnson, NYJ – His reps have slowly dwindled on a week-to-week basis. Johnson started the season with 13 attempts for 68 yards. Last week he had three carries for nine yards. He 3.9 yards per carry is a full yard behind Ivory’s 4.9 ypc this season, as well.

Danny Amendola, NE – It seems as though Amendola has fallen behind Edelman and LaFell on the New England depth chart. He was only on the field for 32 percent of the offensive snaps last week and didn’t even record a catch. In that same game, Brady threw for 361 yards and connected with 10 different targets.

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