The New York Jets and the Denver Broncos go head-to-head Thursday night. Both the teams are in trouble at 0-3 as they come into this matchup, but the Jets lead the league in trouble. There’s not much good to be said about either team so far, but you can see glimmers of hope for a healthy Broncos team, while all the glimmers for the Jets are taken up by despair.
The Broncos are without their starting quarterback Drew Lock and that has been tough against two good defensive lines in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Jeff Driskel has been overmatched and without Courtland Sutton to bail him out. And now Brett Rypien will get the start with a chance Driskel comes in as well. Sam Darnold has also had some injuries around him, but he’d been healthy enough to throw two pick-sixes last week. But coach Adam Gase is the real weak link for this Jets team, and he won’t be in the coaching ranks much longer, especially if they lose this game to a weakened Broncos team.
This game is tough to project, as both teams haven’t been able to get into any kind of rhythm on offense, which means offensive production will be sporadic and possibly from under the radar names.
KJ Hamler, Wide receiver, $4,800
Hamler and Jerry Jeudy are both rookies, but they are also better than any of the Jets receivers and can make things happen on their own. He’ll still need to get the ball from the quarterback, but I expect he’ll be a top target out of the slot in this matchup.
Kalen Ballage, Running Back, $5,800
Ballage caught 4-of-5 targets last week and I expect he’ll again be used as an outlet for Darnold. If we can’t expect big fantasy numbers from these players, grabbing the dump off running back is worthwhile.
Broncos D/ST, $5,600
Both defenses are worth playing in this game, as there should be turnovers, but the Broncos have a better unit overall and are why I’m picking them to win the game. I expect the Broncos to slow this game down, run the ball and throw short to Melvin Gordon, Noah Fant and KJ Hamler and pressure Darnold into making mistakes.
Jets D/ST, $4,000
The Jets run defense is their strength and that’s where the Broncos will likely focus their energy, as Brett Rypien won’t be asked to win the game on his arm. He’s there for accurate short passes and to hand the ball off. The Jets match up well here.
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