XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 9 wraps up with the Chargers visiting the Jets for a 39.5 total game with LA favored by 3.5 points. When was the last time we saw a Chargers game with a total under 40? Times in the NFL, they are a-changin’. The big injury news here is Josh Palmer is out while Allen Lazard popped up on the injury report on Saturday – beat news seems to indicate Lazard is likely to play, and that’s how I’ll write this one up, but make sure to double check that once inactives come out.
We’ll start with the Jets and get the painful part out of the way. Breece Hall appears fully back, playing 66% and 64% of the snaps the last two games while handling 17 and 21 running back opportunities (including 14 targets). Backup running backs Michael Carter and Dalvin Cook have five and six opportunities in those games, respectively. The matchup here is great against a Chargers defense that has been attackable on the ground for years, and it’s especially interesting for Breece because of his significant passing game role as LA has given up about nine targets and 55 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs (and they haven’t faced guys like Kamara or CMC – we’re talking guys like Alexander Mattison and Isaiah Pacheco here). It’s always terrifying saying that a Jet is a great play because he’s still attached to Zach Wilson’s offense, but everything really does line up for Breece here. He is, at the very least, the best skill position play on this side of the game. Carter and Cook are punt plays – and thin ones at that – unless something should happen to Breece.
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The Jets passing game is also in an elite matchup against a Chargers D that has allowed the most passing yards per game (and it isn’t even close, they’re almost 20 over the next team). But let me offer you a counterpoint to the amazing matchup: Zach Wilson. Now, to be fair to Wilson, he has faced some really good defenses: Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, Broncos at home, Eagles, and Giants after they moved past some of their early-season struggles. Those are, overall, some really good defenses, creating a stoppable force against a movable object matchup. At just $8,800, it’s not unreasonable to think Wilson could have a good game, but it’s a scary click on a guy who’s only scored over 14.1 DK points once this season. At his price, he’s had one game in which he’s probably in the optimal lineup and one more in which he might be if the game is low-scoring. Of significantly more interest to me is his alpha receiver Garrett Wilson, who despite Zach’s struggles, has put up at least 14.4 DK points in five of seven games. Garrett is averaging just shy of 10 targets per game, good for an elite 31% market share of targets. He’s an excellent on-paper play and the expensive Jets are likely to go somewhat overlooked as people want to jam in Chargers (especially with Palmer out). Behind him things thin out quickly. Lazard will be on the field plenty, and then the WR3 role should mostly be filled by Randall Cobb, who will make his return from injury in this one. Cobb’s a bit of an odd guy on the team, though He was brought in by Aaron Rodgers, who is of course done for the season, and Cobb only has three catches on 12 targets this year. He could still resume his role, or, we could see some combination of Xavier Gipson and/or Malik Taylor take it over (Taylor is currently on the practice squad, watch to see if he gets elevated for the game). All of these guys are very thin, but if dipping down here, I’d personally lean into the variance side of things and play Gipson and hope that his role expands since Cobb has been a non-factor so far.
At tight end, we’ll see Tyler Conklin lead the way with C.J. Uzomah and Jeremy Ruckert still playing meaningful snaps. Conklin is averaging about four targets per game against just one each for Uzomah and Ruckert, making Conklin look like a reasonable value option at $3k, while the others fall into the MME punt pile.