- Excluding 2019 Wk 17 (BUF rested), McDermott is 4-1 vs Gase: 24-16, 22-16, 17-21, 42-17, 17-16
- In the 5 matchups, BUF’s Def averaged 3.75 sacks, 2 Forced Turnovers (7 INT, 3 FF), and 17.2 Points Allowed
- In 4 non-W17 games (rested starters) vs top-5 pass efficiency defenses (BUF, NE, BAL, PIT), Darnold averaged 165.5yds, 1 TD, 2 TOs, 2 sacks for 9.93 DK ppg
- BUF ranked 5th in Pass Efficiency Def in 2019
- In those 4 games, Crowder produced 2 great scores (24.3, 27.0) and 2 duds (6.6, 10.0)
- Le’Veon Bell’s best, and one of only 3 games above 20 DK pts, came vs BUF in Week 1
- The 9 targets Bell received in Week 1 was only matched in 3 of his last 14 games, and he never saw more than 5 in those other 11 games
- In Josh Allen’s only game vs Gregg Williams’s blitz happy defense, he threw 2 interceptions and lost 2 fumbles, but still managed 20+ DK pts
- Gone from that 2019 Jets defense are 2 of their best players (PFF), CJ Mosley & Jamal Adams, with no comparable replacements (Opt-out & Draft pick trade)
- Josh Allen scored between 17 & 24 DK pts in 11/15 games, with two below (11.7, 11.7) and two above (25.4, 33.8)
- Stefon Diggs goes from Cousins (ranked 5th in CPOE over past 2 seasons) to Allen (ranked 28th in CPOE over past 2 seasons)
- Stefon Diggs and John Brown received 28 deep targets each in 2019 as the primary deep threat for their respective teams, and now must split targets from PFF’s worst graded deep ball thrower in 2019
- As Josh Allen’s #1 target in 2019, John Brown cleared just 14 DK pts in only 4/15 games (28.3, 19.3, 37.7, 16.9); 4 of his 6 TDs came in those 4 games
- As the #2 target, Beasley fell between 8 & 15 DK pts in 10/15 games and only cleared that range three times (19.6, 26.0, 20.8)
- The Bills only had 80 other WR targets to go around in the 15 Brown/Beasley games, so it would take a sizeable increase in Allen’s 30.4 att/g for Brown & Beasley not to see a decrease in targets with Diggs now in the fold as the clear #1 WR
- Only TB & NOR allowed fewer rushing yards in 2019 than the Jets, and only seven teams allowed fewer DK pts to RBs
How Buffalo Will Try To Win ::
The Bills are working hard to develop Josh Allen into a “playmaking game manager” (that’s not the wording they’ve used, but that’s the best way to describe it), as this gives them their best shot at wins given the composition of their team and the point where Allen is in his development. They would love to lean on the run and play great defense. As you know by now, that’s not to say this is a vanilla offense; Brian Daboll has a creative scheme in place that takes advantage of the strengths of this team’s pieces; but it’s to say that the strengths of this team’s pieces don’t have them trying to hammer points onto the scoreboard at all costs.
This becomes an issue for scoring in this game when we look at the Jets, who enter the season with perhaps the worst offense in the league. I believe Sam Darnold has the mindset and talent to be a star (albeit with a lot of growth left ahead of him; not everyone is Patrick Mahomes, after all), but his weapons are zilch right now, and he isn’t getting a whole lot of help from Adam Gase. (More on the Jets in a moment, of course.)
With the Bills preferring to win as laid out above, and with the Jets unlikely to pop off for a huge game, there’s one final element to look at here in understanding how the Bills will attempt to win this game — and the root of this element is the fact that Brian Daboll makes a conscious effort to be an adaptable coach: adjusting his team’s approach to fit the opponent they’ll be facing. The Jets were elite against the run last year (first in adjusted line yards — ahead of even the Bucs), and they were attackable in the secondary. At the same time, however, the Jets have gotten wrecked at linebacker, which should make them softer to run against; and Gregg Williams blitzed (as we would expect) at the fourth highest rate in the league last year. Allen, unsurprisingly, struggled against the blitz last year (his passer rating dropped from 87.1 when not blitzed to 78.4 when blitzed), which should have the Bills trying to stay balanced for as long as they’re controlling this game. (On the plus side for Allen: he had a 93.2 QB rating when left unpressured, compared to an abysmal 61.4 when pressured. The Jets, in spite of blitzing relentlessly, ranked bottom 10 in pressure rate last year — and those “blitzes that don’t generate pressure” do open opportunities for bigger plays.)
How NYJ will try to win ::
This is a difficult matchup for a Jets team that doesn’t have great pieces to work with in the pass game :: a straight-line runner in Breshad Perriman (who has missed a ton of practice time with a knee issue and isn’t guaranteed to be ready by the opener), a rookie in Denzel Mims (who has missed weeks of practice time himself), a castoff in Chris Hogan, and an underneath route runner in Jamison Crowder. Buffalo forced the second shallowest average depth of target in the NFL last year, and they’ll be looking to force the Jets to put together complete drives all game long.
The Jets will go into this game hoping to attack Josh Allen in order to create short fields and easier touchdown opportunities for their offense. If they fall behind, they’re likely to have a tough time of it.
Likeliest Game flow ::
Likeliest flow here has Buffalo taking a lead with a couple bigger plays to Diggs or Brown against Williams’ blitzes, and eventually “steadily killing off this game” to land it around its expectedly low Vegas total. (I had this game at 38.0. Vegas has it at 39.5. Vegas’ line is better, and closer to the general range in which this game would fall over time. I’d still expect an “Under” here north of 50% of the time, but lack of practices could certainly skew those numbers a bit.)
Things could get interesting if the Jets force multiple early mistakes and are then able to kill a bit of clock of their own. If the Bills can’t get anything going until halfway through the second quarter, we could see Allen unleashed a bit, to where a 13-3 game with 35 minutes left could suddenly become a relative scorcher as the Bills begin attacking — with the Jets having to then try to find a way to keep pace. (Obviously, there are even slimmer tributaries where Bills defensive mistakes mean a couple big Jets plays on offense — but we start getting pretty dry pretty quickly there.)
DFS+ Interpretation ::
Because of the narrow distribution of touches the Bills are comfortable using, we could easily see Stefon Diggs and John Brown both topping 70 yards; and each has enough upside that if action tilts their way or the Bills break out a bit, they could press up against the 100-yard bonus on DK. Daboll will get the ball to his best players, which we like. Game environment makes neither guy an elite option, but there likely won’t be much attention on Diggs, as DFS psychology typically has people avoiding the unknowns of a situation like this (no preseason highlights to look at, and a WR in a new spot), and the presence of Diggs may lower interest in Brown. The matchup is very soft, and with both guys likely to show an acceptable floor this year, it’s an interesting tourney spot to consider. Also: it wouldn’t be a crazy scenario for the game to hit the Under at something like 31-6, with the Bills accounting for 400 yards and four TDs. In that scenario, 6-110-1 for one of these guys isn’t crazy. (Behind these guys in the pass game, it gets pretty dart-throwy :: hoping for a broken play or a TD.)
The Bills backfield is a true unknown. Buffalo likes Zack Moss, but Devin Singletary did his job last year as well. This is likely to be some form of a split, with neither back topping 17 touches most weeks. I’ll likely let this play out before attacking here myself, but one or two TDs from one of these guys is definitely within our reasonable range — if you want to try to guess. As a bonus, if you go here: I don’t imagine there will be much action from the field.
The Jets side harder to find much to like. We’ll almost certainly have a split in their backfield to some extent — and these guys really have no outside weapons that can free up short-area space for them. If you’re grabbing Le’Veon Bell or (heaven help us) Frank Gore, you’re hoping one of these guys falls into a couple touchdowns — or you’re playing a game flow scenario in which the Jets find unexpected ways to ride Bell to a big offensive game.
In a vacuum, I like Crowder and Chris Herndon (and Darnold) a lot as players, and any of them can hit in any matchup if everything goes just right; but rosters that start building around these types of scenarios can fall apart pretty quickly if you start grasping like this across the board. Crazy things can (and do) happen in the NFL, but I’ll be avoiding this spot myself.
With that said :: if playing MME (mass-multi-entry — basically, 50+ lineups, but especially any approach of 100 lineups or above), we should note that — given the low total in this game, and the low implied total for the Jets, and the matchup the Jets have — ownership interest should be low here. We’re also in Week 1 (unknowns are higher in Week 1), with no preseason (pushes the unknowns even higher) and very little live tackling to this point (opportunities for crazy things to happen go even higher); so from that perspective, I don’t think taking a shade of Jets ownership is a -EV move (for new readers :: that’s “negative expected value” — or, a move that would lose you money over time). I just won’t be building enough rosters myself for this to be a +EV play for me. There are, obviously, much better spots on the slate than this one — which is basically an “embrace the unknowns and hope something crazy happens” type of spot.