NFL Grind Down Week 1: Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets

Vegas Overview

BUF @ NYJ Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
NYJ -3 40.5 21.75 -170
BUF 3 40.5 18.75 148

Spread Quick Take: I think the Bills +3 is a fine way to go, considering I don’t have a ton of faith in the Jets offense on Sunday. There is a massive percentage of existing bets on the Jets right now, and I absolutely want to fade the crowd on this one. Buffalo doesn’t have a great offense either, but I can see them doing damage against the Jets D more often than the Jets shut them down. It’s not exactly a cross country road trip, and it’s barely even out of their own state. I’ll take Bills +3, 7.5 out of 10 confidence level.

Over/Under: The over is looking slightly better than the under at this juncture, and it’s not because I think this game is going to be an offensive bonanza. I just think 40.5 is probably a better reflection of who these teams were rather than who they will be this season. Don’t get me wrong: neither team is good. However, I do see some potential improvement on offense for both sides. I think the Bills can win outright, but I also think the Jets can hold up their end with 20 points or so, and 21-20 would be good enough to pay out. It’s just a 5.5 out of 10 confidence level here, because quite frankly both teams still have outs to absolutely stink on offense.

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Robby Anderson NYJ WR Q Calf 8
Chris Herndon NYJ TE O Suspension 5
Tyler Kroft BUF TE D Foot 6

Injuries to Monitor: Anderson looks likely to go. Kroft’s absence will push Tommy Sweeney and Dawson Knox into the majority of TE snaps. It’s hard to project exceptional things for either player, but they’ll be overlooked in the grand scheme.

Other News and Notes: LeSean McCoy was released at roster cut down, opening the door for a committee of Gore, Singletary, and Yeldon to take shape early in the season. We can’t be 100% sure how that shakes out yet, but for now conservative seems to be the best approach.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: The Jets were a slower tempo team a year ago but are now under new management. The Bills operated in the middle of the pack. This is low total game and the Bills defense is fairly hard to beat for big plays. I would expect a lower end volume of plays for both sides.

New York Jets Offense vs. Buffalo Bills Defense:

With a new bell cow running back and offensive system in tow, the Jets are hoping to become a more exciting offense in 2018. They’ll have to overcome a stout Bills defensive unit that was very difficult to pass against in 2018. They force you to execute consistently and strive to limit big plays. Their defensive personnel is fairly average up front, which should result in decent run game support and above average pass rush. On the back end, that is where the Bills are strongest. They have perhaps a top 10 secondary in the league, with lesser known names outplaying their draft stock and helping them ascend the ranks. Levi Wallace is the guy I’m mostly talking about, as he’s really done a nice job for them. He contributed to the Bills #2 pass DVOA from a season ago that was also 3rd best at preventing explosive plays. The outlook for the Jets overall is bland, as I don’t see a crystal clear weakness for them to attack. I would probably focus on the short and intermediate area in the pass game, which is where Bell and new slot WR Jamison Crowder could find success. Its a tepid endorsement, and mostly just a lackluster spot for the Jets.

Buffalo Bills Offense vs. New York Jets Defense:

The Jets defensive front projects to be fairly stout against the run, which is bad news for a Bills offensive line with something to prove coming into the season. Last season, the Bills’ run game was anemic. They ranked 23rd in rush DVOA and 26th in rush success rate. Explosive runs were hard to come by, and the line failed to generate adequate yardage before contact. While there is some hope for improvement, the Bills are likely going to have to win via the passing game in this spot.

The Jets figure to be a middle of the road pass rush unit facing off against a Bills passing game that looks different but equally unimpressive to the 2018 version. You can call John Brown and Cole Beasley an improvement, but we’re still talking about constructing a functional vehicle out of spare parts. This is not some hot rod. It will be nearly impossible to do worse than their shocking -154.87 expected points added passing from 2018, so in that sense … anything is an upgrade. The Jets’ secondary is burnable, with Trumaine Johnson dealing with a hamstring issue and the balance of the team being non-threatening in coverage. This is where the Bills – if forced to throw – could find some success in this game. The Vegas total and makeup of the teams involved suggest we’ll see some fairly ugly offense, and that any passing success experienced by the Bills will alternate with stalled drives and/or punts.

New York Jets Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Rank Proj ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Sam Darnold NYJ QB30 15.31 33.16 225.51 Rank 29 Rank 22 Rank 5 Rank 25

BUF Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #31

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 31.8 (Rank 26)
RuAtt/Gm: 3.4 (Rank #18)
DeepBall/Gm: 4.3 (Rank #14)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.7 (Rank #29)
Air Yards/Att: 9.3 (Rank #7)
Adjusted YPA: 5.7 (Rank #32)

Darnold’s season-long metrics don’t reflect the strength in which he finished his 2018 campaign. He started to find his voice so to speak in Houston, where his 253/2 seemed to give him some confidence. He followed up with a smash performance vs. Green Bay, going for 341/3. The Bills are a relatively poor matchup for him, and that showed in week 14 last year in his first game back from injury. It was one of the toughest games of the year for him fantasy-wise. We have him projected as QB 30 on the week and there is plenty of merit to saying that is too high. The bottom line is that we can’t project a heavy play volume nor pass attempt volume for Darnold, and there is a limited sample size of him being the efficient player we want. It’s unfair to call him anything more than a long shot in Week 1.

Quick Summary: Darnold isn’t a strong play this week.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Le’Veon Bell NYJ 16.55 RB7 61% 13% Rank 10 Rank 18 Rank 17 Rank 50
Ty Montgomery NYJ 6.82 RB49 21% 5% Rank 42 Rank 31 Rank 43 Rank 31
Bilal Powell NYJ 1.77 RB87 8% Rank 77 Rank 83 Rank 79 Rank 78

BUF Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #8

2018 Le’Veon Bell Opportunity Metrics: N/A

2018 Le’Veon Bell Efficiency Metrics: N/A

Fresh off of a season in which he watched the NFL from a couch or possibly a high end reclining chair, Bell is expected to immediately assume something close to workhorse duties behind an offensive line that is substantially worse than what he had in Pittsburgh. Calling them a bottom 10 unit to start the season is fair. In 2018, the Jets were one of the worst teams at generating yards before contact and delivered the stone worst value of expected points added rushing (-64.15). The Bills’ run defense is nothing special, but to say this is a good spot for him to thrive in his return is a stretch. He is still projected to get the workload though, and that absolutely puts him on the radar for GPP. His passing game involvement, in particular, has always been a plus for him, and it would be silly to think the Jets didn’t watch that tape and try to devise ways for him to get involved early and often. For this reason, noting his 200 targets over 2016 and 2017 as collateral, we can call Bell one of the highest upside backs on the slate. However, we also have to note he has a low floor relative to his price and can easily bust your lineup. This is why he is most appropriately deployed in large field GPPs.

Quick Summary: Bell is a player pool candidate for large field GPPs, but not a primary play for the week.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Robby Anderson NYJ 10.34 WR46 20% 6.63 Rank 61 Rank 79 Rank 29 Rank 66
Quincy Enunwa NYJ 7.46 WR85 15% 4.97 Rank 81 Rank 81 Rank 82 Rank 38
Jamison Crowder NYJ 10.91 WR39 21% 6.96 Rank 25 Rank 9 Rank 25 Rank 2
Josh Bellamy NYJ 3.38 WR132 7% 2.32 Rank 125 Rank 122 Rank 123 Rank 126
Greg Dortch NYJ 1.96 WR158 4% 1.33 Rank 150 Rank 147 Rank 140 Rank 150

BUF Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #29

2018 Robby Anderson Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 20.8% (Rank #29)
RZ Target Share: 17.3% (Rank #44)
Route Participation: 81.1% (Rank #39)

2018 Robby Anderson Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 2.01 (Rank #40)
ADOT: 16.4 (Rank #9)
YAC per Reception: 1.7 (Rank #68)

Inefficiency and volatility have been the hallmark of Robbie Anderson, which is why he disappears for long stretches prior to sudden and explosive appearances in spiked weeks. His 16.4 aDOT coupled with his paltry 2.01 yards per route from 2018 tells us all we need to know. He was previously a boom-bust option being targeted deep downfield. In 2019, the Jets swear he’ll run more diverse routes. I don’t know if that’s a great thing, but I am interested to see it in action. The Bills are a poor matchup for him to run deep routes anyway, as they’ve been successful keeping a lid on the offense. We can’t fall in love with a short and intermediate area restricted Robbie Anderson in week 1, and his projection as WR46 reflects his relatively mundane expectation for the week.

Jamison Crowder may have a slightly better chance to produce on PPR sites, projected for 21% of targets and operating with the best skill set for the matchup. 63.27% of Crowder’s routes came within 10 yards of the line last year in Washington. He’s comfortable operating there, and I suspect that’s where Darnold will have to look if the Bills take away the downfield options. At cheap price points across the industry, he’s a nice GPP flyer that should have lower ownership.

Quick Summary: Crowder seems to fit this matchup better than Anderson, but neither option is stunning on a larger slate.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj ProjTar Rank ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Ryan Griffin NYJ 4.56 TE36 9% 2.98 Rank 29 Rank 34 Rank 30 Rank 28
Daniel Brown NYJ 1.70 TE62 4% 1.33 Rank 59 Rank 58 Rank 58 Rank 56

BUF Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #26

2018 Ryan Griffin Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 10.1% (Rank #30)
RZ Target Share: 16.1% (Rank #13)
Route Participation: 51.4% (Rank #19)

2018 Ryan Griffin Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 1.36 (Rank #89)
ADOT: 8.3 (Rank #16)
YAC per Reception: 3.4 (Rank #25)

We’re projecting rather light duty for the Jets TE during Herndon’s suspension, with just 9% targets applied to Ryan Griffin at the moment. I can’t stomach the idea of wasting many words on this spot, and will simply advise you to move on and seek more appealing DFS situations elsewhere at TE.

Quick Summary: It’s a hard pass on the Jets TEs for Week 1.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
New York Jets NYJ 8.08 DST1 3.26 1.02 21.51 Y Y

Josh Allen attempted just 26 passes per game last season, but he’ll probably be asked to throw it more often presuming the Bills struggle on the ground. Interceptions are certainly something we could see here from Allen. The Jets figure to be mid-pack in terms of pass rush, and the Bills’ offensive line is not an area of strength. The Bills were a bottom 12 team in sack rate allowed, and that also provides some upside for the Jets D. I think a strong game is certainly on the table for them, given the potential ineptitude of the Bills offense on any given week. It’s a GPP option, but you can absolutely make the case.

Quick Summary: The Jets are a mid-pack GPP option you can keep in the MME pool.

Buffalo Bills Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Josh Allen BUF 16.97 QB22 35.38 244.05 Rank 15 Rank 19 Rank 9 Rank 12

NYJ Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #1

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 26.7 (Rank 35)
RuAtt/Gm: 7.4 (Rank #2)
DeepBall/Gm: 5.4 (Rank #3)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.5 (Rank #35)
Air Yards/Att: 10.9 (Rank #2)
AdjYPA: 5 (Rank #35)

The Jets were the best schedule-adjusted matchup for QBs last year, but that was pre-Gregg Williams. They also added some new pieces, which should help them gravitate towards the middle of the pack on defense. Allen was a low pass attempt QB in 2018 who oddly became a fantasy sensation on the ground. The dude ranked #1 in rushing TDs among QBs and it hardly seemed like a fluke. That said, I don’t want to bank on the idea that this is his baseline. It was his rookie season, and perhaps the rushing will wane as he gets comfortable as passer. Our projection for him this week is right around QB 22, which is the bottom of the GPP barrel at best considering his price points. The one thing you can say is that his stacking options are cheap, making them a plausible team to use at super low ownership in large-field contests. I do expect the run game to have a rough day, which could lead to more pass attempts than usual for Allen if the Bills can sustain drives.

Quick Summary: Allen is very low-end GPP option you can really only use as arbitrage in large-field contests.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Frank Gore BUF 7.07 RB47 38% 2% Rank 34 Rank 43 Rank 51 Rank 26
Devin Singletary BUF 9.30 RB33 33% 8% Rank 28 Rank 4 Rank 23 Rank 3
T.J. Yeldon BUF 4.28 RB69 12% 4% Rank 64 Rank 63 Rank 65 Rank 61

NYJ Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #20

2018 Frank Gore Opportunity Metrics:
Opportunity Share: 46.6% (Rank #33)
RZ Opportunity Share: 39% (DNQ)

2018 Frank Gore Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Created: 295 (Rank #19)
YPC: 4.6 (Rank #27)
Yards Per Route: 1.75 (Rank -)

We’re not using early down grinder Frank Gore on this slate. We’d rather lose than do that. We can immediately shift our attention down the depth chart to rookie RB Devin Singletary, who I predict is in for a rude awakening in this league rather than a sudden ascension to rookie stardom. Granted, we do expect something like 8% of targets to head his way and for 1/3 of carries to fall on his lap post-McCoy. That is enough to find success at near minimum prices industry-wide. Still, it’s a tougher matchup and I’m simply not convinced he’s capable of great things as 12th percentile athlete best comparable to Ka’Deem Carey. I’m fading the Bills run game until further notice, and will sleep like a baby doing it.

Quick Summary: I’m not interested in Buffalo Bills running backs Week 1.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
John Brown BUF 10.06 WR50 19% 6.72 Rank 44 Rank 31 Rank 32 Rank 80
Zay Jones BUF 8.42 WR70 16% 5.66 Rank 58 Rank 42 Rank 49 Rank 16
Cole Beasley BUF 10.32 WR47 19% 6.72 Rank 13 Rank 3 Rank 30 Rank 6
Robert Foster BUF 6.19 WR101 12% 4.25 Rank 104 Rank 108 Rank 80 Rank 112
Isaiah McKenzie BUF 1.99 WR155 4% 1.42 Rank 149 Rank 144 Rank 139 Rank 149

NYJ Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #1

2018 John Brown Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 18% (Rank #47)
RZ Target Share: 22.1% (Rank #26)
Route Participation: 77.7% (Rank #53)

2018 John Brown Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 1.66 (Rank #64)
ADOT: 17.1 (Rank #6)
YAC per Reception: 1.2 (Rank #82)

Maybe 17.1 average target depth is unsustainable for a lead WR in this offense, but it’s certainly good news for a big time arm talent like Allen to have the deep threat at his disposal. The projected target share of 19% for Brown is reasonable, and it leaves room for upside. As it stands, the Jets have a few issues in their secondary and stranger things have happened than Brown getting behind this defense once or twice. It’s a long shot dart.

Cole Beasley is slightly more appealing as a player who will have a changed order of preference in this offense as compared to his role in Dallas. He could realistically be option 2 or 3 at this point. I’m really not 100% sure he’s not option 1. Anyway, his price on Draftkings is exceptionally low for a player who already had an 18% target share on the team he was under-appreciated on in 2018. We saw Josh Allen look to him multiple times on a single drive during preseason Week 2, and that kind of rapport would be very interesting against a Gregg Williams defense that historically vacates the intermediate area in exchange for slowing the short and stopping the long. He’s a potential punt in GPPs that could allow you to jam it in elsewhere. We’re projecting just short of 7 targets for him, and even 6 would make him appealing at his rate.

Quick Summary: John Brown is a long shot dart, but Cole Beasley seems almost safe to me at his price and with his expected role in the offense. I’m regretfully intrigued by his tournament viability.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Dawson Knox BUF 4.86 TE34 10% 3.54 Rank 33 Rank 25 Rank 32 Rank 25
Tyler Kroft BUF 2.04 TE58 4% 1.42 Rank 55 Rank 55 Rank 52 Rank 55

NYJ Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #21

2018 Dawson Knox Opportunity Metrics: N/A

2018 Dawson Knox Efficiency Metrics: N/A

Knox is buried in the mind of even the most hardened preseason DFS players, simply because we never really saw him play. He’s a high caliber athlete with 85th percentile speed and mid 70s burst and agility. He moves really well for 6’4”, 254. The Bills will be without their key players at TE, and he suddenly finds himself in a position where he could be on the field a lot in his first NFL game. I really don’t know if he deserves more than a 10% target share in projections, but at that level he doesn’t pop as a great play. Is there upside for more? Possibly, but I won’t be the bold mover to steer you down that path in his first NFL appearance. Let’s see it first, which is normally something I hate saying. In this case, it’s probably for the best.

Quick Summary: Playing a Bills TE is mostly just gambling at this point.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
Buffalo Bills BUF 7.24 DST7 2.82 0.97 22.46 N N

The Bills’ defense is fairly good at preventing points but not the best at generating sacks. In addition, we’d need to see a major change in philosophy to call the Jets a high drop back team in 2019. Darnold was among the league leaders in interceptable passes, and Buffalo was among the league leaders in INTs a season ago. It’s fair to consider the Bills in a GPP with Darnold’s poor accuracy, the low implied totals, and the Bills’ capability to limit the damage. They should not be considered a top option with the lackluster projected pass rush.

Quick Summary: The Bills DST is a deeper GPP option only.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: None

Leverage Plays: Cole Beasley, Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder

Secondary Plays: Bills DST, Jets DST

About the Author

  • Chris Gimino (ChrisGimino)

  • Chris Gimino is a top mind in the DFS industry and one of the primary contributors at RotoGrinders including one of the most accurate ownership projection systems in the industry. A multiple time live-finalist, Chris delivers actionable tools and advice for RotoGrinders Premium subscribers that helps them make informed decisions for their lineup builds.

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