XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 16 begins with the Jags visiting the Jets for a 38 total game with the Jags favored by a point. We also get our first truly bad weather week of the season, and it impacts this game as well, with current forecasts showing temperatures in the 40s, rain, and a sustained wind of about 10-15 mph. Now, 15mph wind is when we start to get concerned, so this isn’t a “red alert! the passing game is now unplayable” situation, but it’s likely to have an impact and is probably the primary reason why this game has been bet down a couple of points since it opened. The upside is that both of these teams seem a lot more exciting than when the season began.
On the Jets side, the reign of Zonovan Knight came to a crashing end last week, as he saw 13 carries and no targets against a tough Lions run defense. Michael Carter actually out-snapped Knight for the second week in a row (though only by a couple of snaps both times), but saw just four carries and one target. The last two weeks are painting a picture that this is really a timeshare with Knight in the grinder role and a (significant) favorite for more carries, and Carter likely the favorite for passing game work. We might expect the weather to make this a run-heavier matchup, but it is worth noting that while the Jags are 14th in run defense DVOA, they are dead last at 32nd against opposing passing attacks, creating an interesting dynamic where the weather and the Jets quarterback hinder their ability to attack the Jags point of weakness. All that said, I like Knight at his very fair price of $7,000 in a reasonable matchup and in a game that seems likely to tilt a bit heavier to the run. Carter is harder to be interested in, seeing as how he’s not likely to get goal line work and his “passing game” role only resulted in one target last week, but he’s certainly a viable play (as are any running backs in Showdown who are going to see the field a significant amount).
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In the passing game, we saw Zach Wilson have one of the better games of his career last week, putting up a 317/2 line with just one interception. Not shabby, and though it came in a favorable matchup, this is also a good matchup (if the weather cooperates). Garrett Wilson saw nine targets on 35 dropbacks, good for a very solid 25.7% target share. He’s the guy in this offense and I’ll trust his role and the matchup over the weather concerns. Elijah Moore has worked his way back to a solid role, playing at least 68% of the snaps in the last three games, with a combined 23 targets in that time. At $4,800, he’s pretty significantly underpriced for his talent and his role, as he’s barely more than the kickers. Corey Davis looks likely to return, which throws a bit of a wrench into things, as in his last healthy game he saw a whopping 10 targets (albeit with Mike White at quarterback). I expect that the return of Davis will send Denzel Mims and Jeff Smith back to the bench (if they’re even healthy – both are questionable with new injuries), while Braxton Berrios will play some modest role as he usually does, including some gadget work. One thing to note: the Jets have had five wide receivers play snaps in every single game this season, so if Mims and Smith both miss, watch to see if they call up someone else from the practice squad; if so, that guy would be a thin punt option but could be an interesting MME play that the field might completely overlook. Wilson is reasonably priced here, with Moore and Davis both being materially underpriced. I will hope that the weather scares people off of these receivers in really strong matchups, and I want to be overweight on all of them. At tight end, Tyler Conklin has the lead role with C.J. Uzomah playing a backup role. Conklin’s targets have been volatile this year but he’s had a couple of really solid games, and at $3,200, he looks like a very strong value option, while Uzomah caught two touchdowns last week but has yet to see more than three targets in a game so he’s an MME tourney option.