The battered New England Patriots will try to get their offense in gear as they host the Jets on the first Thursday Night Football game on the NFL Network this season. The Patriots and Jets both won their opening week games with late field goals after struggling throughout the game.
The story this week appears to be if the Patriots offense can overcome its lack of weapons due to injury and beat a Jets team that showed up on defense in week one and was opportunistic enough to steal a win over the Bucs.
The Patriots have blown the Jets out in their recent primetime meetings especially in Gillette Stadium, but can Brady make the same magic while missing so many of his key targets? Here’s who I think you should have in and out of your lineup for tonight’s game:
Obvious Choices: Tom Brady is still a top QB option even with his weapons depleted so have him in your lineup for sure. I also expect Steven Ridley to have a big bounceback week after fumble issues cost him his production week 1. He should get a heavy workload, and both the Patriots and his Fantasy Football need a better week 2.
Potential Sleeper: There has been plenty of buzz about Julian Edelman and there are plenty of reasons to love the Patriots receiver coming into tonight’s game. The Patriots will most likely be without Danny Amendola as well as Rob Gronkowski, Zach Sudfeld, and Shane Vereen. Edelman caught both of Brady’s touchdowns finishing with seven catches on nine targets for 79 yards. He should get more targets this week and could have a huge week. Edelman probably isn’t a WR2 for every week going forward, but I think he is for this week.
Another sleeper worth a look as a WR3 or flex play is Kenbrell Thompkins who looked like a rookie in week one and should get plenty more opportunities tonight. No Patriots pass-catcher was targeted more than Tompkins who had 14 passes come his way buy only converted four catches for 42 yards. The opportunity should definitely be there, and I think Thompkins has a better stat-line than last week.
On the other side Stephen Hill and Kellen Winslow are decent sleepers as deep league options, but probably don’t belong in standard league lineups yet.
Stay Away: The main reason to sit players in this game is injuries. Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and Shane Vereen need to be on your bench since they aren’t expected to play. I’d also stay away from the Jets timeshare in their backfield since there’s no clear leader or player you can count on rushing against the Pats.
Potential Bust: The Patriots D/ST has been touted as a good matchup play, but rookie Geno Smith took care of the ball pretty well last week against the Bucs while the Patriots didn’t get a single sack in Buffalo. I think New England’s defense will be better than last week, but don’t think they’re a top ten option this week.
I also heard some buzz around LeGarrette Blount early in the week with Ridley’s fumble-itis and Shane Vereen’s injury, but Blount was underwhelming in limited action last week and I don’t expect him to be a big part of the Patriots plans tonight.
I don’t think this will be a blowout or an extremely high-scoring matchup, but I do think the Patriots find enough offense to get the win tonight. In my opinion, the 12 1/2 points is way to many to give against the spread with the Patriots limping in against this division rival.
Final Score Prediction: New England Patriots 21, New York Jets 17