Thursday Night Football finally wasn’t a blood bath in week six. It actually was at first, when the Indianapolis Colts jumped out to a crazy 24-0 lead over the Houston Texans in just the first quarter. Houston made a game of it, though, losing just 33-28 to give us our first decent TNF game of the year.
We’re back to hell on earth football tonight, unfortunately. Combine the short week with the Patriots playing angry and the Jets being the sad sack unit they are, and we’re looking at one horrific blowout. That’s what the logic tells us, at least. After all, this is Thursday Night Football we’re talking about, so we shouldn’t be the least be surprised if it’s Rex Ryan’s sorry Jets somehow crafting an absurd 44-2 win. On the road, no less.
Regardless of what happens, fantasy football arrives tonight and it’s pretty likely you are considering using at least one guy in this hot mess. For all possible scenarios, let’s play the versus card and see which guys should be started tonight and who should be left to die on the side of the road – Oregon Trail style.
Tom Brady (Patriots) vs. Geno Smith (Jets)
Easy as it comes. Obviously the pick is Tom Terrific, while he looks to be a stellar play in general this week. But if you need logic, here it spins. Brady has turned the heat on lately with six touchdowns to zero picks in his last two contests and now he’s at home against a Jets pass defense that is a bottom five unit. Oh, and they just lost their best corner (Dee Milliner) for the year. It’s gonna get rough.
As for Geno, he actually looked somewhat competent last week, but the wheels have mostly come off. He could still surprise with a decent effort, but it’s unlikely against a Pats pass D that is top-10 against quarterbacks in fantasy football this year. If you need 15 points, Smith might be able to give you an answered prayer, but there’s pretty much 31 other quarterbacks you’d rather have this week. Seriously.
Brandon Bolden (Patriots) vs. Chris Ivory (Jets) vs. Shane Vereen (Patriots)
I think all of these guys are solid Flex plays tonight. New England doesn’t stop the run nearly as well as they stop the pass, while Gang Green’s best bet to keep this close is to pound Ivory like the hammer of Thor into the Pats’ front line. He could find mild success and score. I prefer Bolden by a hair, though, since New York’s once staunch run defense has flat out eroded the past two weeks. The guy I like the most is Vereen, though. His role has to blossom as a runner and receiver with Stevan Ridley dead, while the Jets have struggled largely against smaller, quicker backs they can’t see behind offensive linemen. Vereen fits the bill here and has the explosiveness to hold the edge over Bolden and Ivory.
Rank’em: Vereen, Bolden, Ivory.
Eric Decker (Jets) vs. Julian Edelman (Patriots)
Decker has been about as good as we all hoped, which is neither inspiring or disappointing. He probably won’t be even that good tonight, though, as he’ll be lost with a book titled “sad sackery” on Revis Island. He’ll be reading it all night. That makes Edelman the wide receiver to own tonight. Not only is the matchup sublime, but even a healthy Jets secondary couldn’t keep up with him last year. He’s been too quiet lately, too. Look for him to get it going and maybe even score tonight, too.
Brian Tyms (Patriots) vs. Jeremy Kerley (Jets) vs. Brandon LaFell (Patriots)
It’s LaFell and it’s not close. Tyms is a very interesting player we need to keep an eye on, but his week six production came off of one freaking pass. Let’s not overreact there. LaFell is more proven and has the bigger role right now, while Kerley is a moderate slot receiver playing out of his element most weeks. None of these guys are trustworthy in season long leagues, but if you’re going for gold on a daily site like Draft Kings, they aren’t the worst fliers in the world thanks to cheap prices.
Rank’em: LaFell, Kerley, Tyms
Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) vs. Jace Amaro (Jets) vs. Tim Wright (Patriots) vs. Jeff Cumberland (Jets)
Amaro caught 10 passes last week so he’s relevant, but he nor Wright/Cumberland hold a candle to The Gronk. Gronkowski has a killer matchup and should be heavily involved. A non-score night would be a huge disapointment, while a mult-score night is almost likely.
If you need a spare here, though, you have to go Amaro. New England is mostly going to shutdown Decker, so even though it’s still not an ideal matchup he’ll probably provide decent PPR value. Wright’s role isn’t big enough to trust yet and Cumberland is exactly the plodder you think he is.
Stephen Gostkowski is by far the better option here between him and Nick Folk. But they’re kickers, so who cares?
New England Patriots DEF/ST vs. New York Jets DEF/ST
You can’t use the Jets with how hot Tom Brady and co. are right now. There’s that off chance their defensive line has Brady seeing ghosts and they get sacks and turnovers, but that’s got to be a one in a million chance at this point. New England, on the other hand, is an obvious play due to something called Geno Smith.