XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 1 wraps up with the Bills visiting the Jets for a 45.5 total game with Buffalo favored by two. Buffalo looks largely the same as last year while the Jets, of course, do not. Aaron Rodgers is in town at QB (along with a couple of his buddies at wide receiver) and Dalvin Cook has joined the team at running back. This should be a fun game as the new-look Jets feel ready to really contend while the Bills have been a top team for several years. Both teams also boast very strong defenses, keeping the scoring projection down, but there are of course a lot of different ways we could see this one play out.
In the Buffalo run game, Devin Singletary has left town, leaving a backfield of James Cook, Damien Harris, and Latavius Murray. Cook should be the lead back, but remember how Buffalo has operated for years now when “lead back” really meant “the 1A in a committee.” And of course, Josh Allen himself has been the goal line back, making it quite rare for a Buffalo RB to put up scores that we need in DFS (last year Singletary topped out at 18 carries, reached the 100 yard mark once, and averaged just 10 carries per game). If this game were on a full slate I would just ignore the RBs completely . . . that’s not how I personally play Showdown, but it’s a spot I’m personally going to be underweight on, and hope that Buffalo’s historical usage of running backs continues.
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The passing game is where Buffalo gets fun. Josh Allen, Stef Diggs, Gabe Davis (new and improved with no lingering ankle injury), rookie Dalton Kincaid, and Dawson Knox . . . it’s a fun group of players. Diggs is the alpha here and it’s worth noting that the Jets best corner, Sauce Gardner, rarely shadowed last season. Diggs should continue to command a large market share of targets (though he’ll probably also still complain about wanting the ball more). Gabe Davis is something of a wild card. He had a disappointing season last year but was also playing through a nagging ankle injury. At full health, he should be in for better things, but the matchup here is pretty nightmarish for him. Dalton Kincaid seems likely to be used primarily as a wide receiver which is good for him and good for Dawson Knox, but less good for the Bills WR3 types. Speaking of the WR3 types, that’s some combination of Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty, and Trent Sherfield. They are, of course, facing one of the NFL’s premier passing defenses in a strength-on-strength matchup that should be extremely interesting to watch from a football perspective and also extremely interesting to build lineups around as there are a lot of ways this game could play out. Diggs is the most attractive target here as the best receiver on the team (duh) but also in a role in which the Bills should be able to mostly keep him away from Gardner. That doesn’t create an easy matchup for him as the rest of the Jets corners are no slouches, but I’ll take Diggs against just about anybody, and having a (slightly) easier matchup is a mark in his favor. Davis, on the other hand, is likely to be smothered by Gardner for much of the game, leaving him in a very boom/bust role. Kincaid is something of an enigma as he’s a tight end who is likely to be utilized as a wide receiver, and thus a big role for him will primarily come at the expense of Shakir and the other WR3s. I’d consider rules that limit the pairing of Kincaid with Shakir, Harty, and Sherfield. Finally, it’s possible we could see Knox going a bit overlooked here depending on how the field views things. If people think “Oh, Kincaid is the new TE1,” that could suppress Knox’s ownership, but my expectation is that we see Knox on the field plenty with Kincaid lined up as a wideout.