Thursday Night Football is back for its second week and so is Fantasy Football Preview. Last week's game was very entertaining for watching guys get whipped (i.e Brandyn Dombrowski and Quentin Jammer) and seeing the possible fantasy stars being born in Denarius Moore and Carson Palmer. We have all the angles covered for tonight and this article should be for the rest of the year and you can check out how I did here in forecasting the goodness. This week should be a lot different. If you like creative play calling on the offensive and defensive sides, this is the game for you. I'm sure all of you have heard about the new Denver offense, so before we discuss the fantasy aspects, let's see which players will be the most important on the defensive side of the ball:
I'll be providing instant analysis on Twitter for tonight's game @MikeSGallagher, so be sure to follow me.
David Harris- There is no person more important on the field for the Jets than David Harris this week. He has been manning the middle at ILB and is the quarterback of the defense with the radio. Harris battled injuries all year and it looks like he is finally healthy. The Jets will likely be using him in an aggressive fashion on non-passing downs by identifying the point of attack and he is almost a lock to lead them in tackles. Harris will also likely be used on stunt blitzes and other ways to put pressure on the Broncos offensive line.
Sione Pouha- Pouha has has been one of the better players that nobody talks about. He has a tall task this week with the interior line of Denver of Beadles, Walton and Kuper hammering him all game long with run blocking. For the Jets to have success tonight in stopping Tebow, it starts with Pouha getting penetration and push up front.
Calvin Pace- Pace hasn't been much of the asset the Jets thought they were getting when they signed him from the Cardinals in 2008. Pace hasn't been a great pass rusher off the edge, but is an above-average OLB in run D in a 3-4 scheme. Expect the Jets to utilize him inside to take some chances most downs and to stay at home on 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations to restrict Tebow from getting outside of the pocket through the front door.
Bottom Line: The Jets front seven will be tested like never before and they will have their conditioning tested.
Von Miller- The Broncos have been lining up their defensive stud all over the field. He has been directly behind the defensive line and also comes off the edge on both the left and right sides. The Broncos figure to use Miller more against the right tackle Wayne Hunter. Hunter has really struggled in pass protection this year in replacing Damien Woody. Mark Sanchez will have to identify Miller on every passing play to ensure he doesn't get a free rush (like Andre Carter did last week). The Broncos would be at a huge advantage with Miller being able to get some hits on the quarterback.
Champ Bailey- Bailey was Revis before Revis was Revis. Huh? In other words, he was a shutdown corner, but now that he is 33 years of age. The Broncos have been using him at different spots in the secondary, including the slot, and he did a good job on Dwayne Bowe for most of the game by limiting him to two catches for 17 yards. Champ should see Santonio Holmes more than any other receiver and probably won't get beat deep (more on this in the fantasy side).
D.J. Williams- The U product has been outstanding since starting the season on the sideline with a dislocated elbow. Williams is the straw that stirs the drink for the Broncos as he'll lineup in the middle and is one of the better pass-covering linebackers in the league. The Jets will want to use Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold and Matt Slauson to put a body on Williams to get their run game going.
Bottom Line: The Broncos getting pressure on Sanchez is paramount.
OK. Let's get to the offense:
New York Jets
Mark Sanchez- Just when it looked like he was becoming The Sanchise by posting four games in a row with a passer rating above 87, he struggled mightly against the worst defense on the league. Sanchez had a 64 passer rating based off his 20-of-39 for 306 yards, two picks and a score. While Sanchez is getting most of the blame there is one person that should be held responsible for their lackluster perfromace: Brian Schottenheimer. The Patriots were exploited all season long via the long pass and even just posing the threat of a deep ball would have gone a long way. The Jets didn't throw the ball deep which allowed Silly Billy B. to play shorter and tighter zones making it tougher for Sanchez to fit the ball through windows. He wasn't set up for success. As for the Broncos, Sanchez also didn't do much with the them last season with only 198 yards, a score and two picks last year. The Trojan Man doesn't have much upside and is good for about 250, two scores and a pick.
Shonn Greene- If the Jets are going to win, it's going to be with Shonn Greene doing the heavy lifting. After a slow start, Green had 4.0 YPC in each of his last three games and is doing a much better job of running down hill. LaDainian Tomlinson has already been ruled out and there's a good chance the former Hawkeye clears the 25-carry plateau. The sky's the limit and Green should be in the neighborhood of 125 and a score.
Joe McKnight- McKnight has been phenomenal this year in the kick return game by leading the league in yards per return and total yardage. His game as a running back has yet to hit its stride with a poultry 2.8 YPC. He could be used as a receiver in this game with Jeremy Kerley out for tonight. He's a very risky play and only deep leagues should consider him. If you can use seven carries for 30 yards and two receptions for 25 yards, start him.
Bilal Powell- Powell has been inactive for every game and if there's a player that 99 percent of football fans have never heard of to score, it might be him. He is a shifty guy and had some nice plays in the preseason. You have to be in a very, very deep league to consider adding him. If there is dead weight on your team, maybe Powell usurps McKnight's role as the third-down back. Four carries for 17 yards? Sure.
Santonio Holmes- Champ Bailey got the best of Tone last year by limiting him to just four catches for 47 yards on five targets. The Jets have been using Tone a little bit differently this year and have been lining him up all over the field. One thing they haven't been doing is sending him down the field for post and fly patterns. Santonio is having a down season this year and is on pace for a similar amount of targets this year as he was last year despite sitting out the first four games in 2010. Tone used to get a lot of designed plays to him in the red zone last year, but Burress has received an overwhelming majority. Nevertheless, he is still the odds-on favorite to score among the NYJ receiving corps. I'd expect five catches for 79 yards and a score.
Plaxico Burress -Burress showed signs of his age last week by really struggling to get open against the worst secondary in the league. He and Sanchez's connection is built on timing and when Burress isn't where he usually is, it could result in an incomplete pass or a pick. He was targeted eight times last week and only caught three for 39 yards. The Broncos don't have big corners, so if they Jets do decide to throw him a fade, he should be able to come down with it. I don't see it and Burress should be on the bench in most leagues this week. He should have about four catches for 58 yards.
Patrick Turner- The USC guy will probably get his best chance to score this week with a lot of action in three-wide sets tonight. As mentioned above, Jeremy Kerley is out for tonight and Turner should the the field way more than he's used to. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should be set to line Turner up at the X or Y and move Tone in the slot a lot in an effort to make it easier on Sanchez to hit Tone as a hot read. There's a chance Turner could beat Andre Goodman or Chris Harris on a 9 route. Two catches for 31 yards sounds about right.
Dustin Keller- Keller was the runner up to Ray Finkle for "All-time Bone-Head Plays" for trying to hop over two Bills two weeks ago. He has been a shell of himself since the hot start and hasn't brought in more than four balls in any of his last six games. There's a good chance that streak stops tonight. Five catches for 69 yards and a score (on a PA-waggle route).
Matt Mulligan- Worse. Player. Ever. Prediction: One hold and three missed blocks.
Jets D/ST- Tim Tebow could have a rough night and it's very unlikely the Jets will get destroyed. They're a top-10 start.
Nick Folk- The weather is pretty good and the Jets should be able to score some points. He should hit two field goals and three extra points.
Tim Tebow (!!!!!)- Tebow is on a roll and he gets a Jets D that is reeling off their embarrassing loss to New England. The plus side for the Broncos is that the Jets best strength, pass defense, is negated since the Broncos won't be throwing the ball down much. The Jets should be putting safeties Eric Smith and Jim Leonard in the box, or close to it and leave Cro and Revis in zero coverage against Royal, Decker and/or Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos have taken advantage of very weak defenses with all of them coming in in the lower half of rushing yards allowed since he debuted in Miami (Detroit, Kansas City and Oakland). There's a lot of risk that comes with Tebow and he's not a top-10 option this week. He should be good for 5-of-13 passing for 97 yards and 13 carries for 84 yards and a score.
He is ACTIVE. There's a decent chance that his hammy does cramp up on him since he is coming in on such a short week. The Broncos will be running the ball possibly 50 times (55 last week) against the Jets and Willis would get most of them as long as he's able to go. He's a low-end RB2 and should produce around 18 carries for 84 yards and a score.
Lance Ball- Ball got the heaviest load he has seen in his career with 30 totes that accounted for 96 yards. Ball also saw a target! Hooray! Ball has an fairly solid 4.1 YPC in 2011 when one considers that he doesn't have a carry over nine yards all year. He will get all the work on passing downs and should be in a committee with Willis. Ball is a flex in some leagues with a projection of about 16 carries for 73 yards.
Jermiah Johnson- Johnson was signed from the practice squad and might be a small factor in this game should Willis' hammy act up. Five carries for 18 yards.
Eric Decker- The Golden Gopher has scores in back-to-back games and gets the unenviable task taking a three-hour vacation to Revis Island. There's really not a lot of analysis here. Bench Decker. Three catches for 47 yards.
Eddie Royal- Royal touched the ball twice in Oakland and scored on a TD pass and a punt return. He laid a goose egg last week and will likely lineup in the slot for the very few times they go three wide. The Jets would combat him with Kyle Wilson. Wilson is quick enough to keep pace with Royal and there's no reason why anyone should be starting him. Goose egg.
DeMaryius Thomas- Things looked so promising for Thomas in the Tebow starting debut with ten targets and a score against Miami. He has since fell off a cliff and doesn't get many snaps in the offense. He didn't get a single target last week and it's time to cut bait in all leagues. Goose egg.
Matt Willis- The other Willis caught the other completion last week for 13 yards against KC. Honestly, why the hell are we still talking about Denver receivers?
Brandon Fells and Dante Rosario- They are getting the snaps at tight end. If you are in one of those leagues that starts seven tight ends per team, Rosario might catch a ball for 11 yards.
Matt Prater- The Broncos offense could stall as the field gets shorter and the Jets are less worried about the play fake for a deep ball. Two extra points and three field goals.
Denver D/ST- It's really tough to count on them since we can't say for sure that they will be able to get pressure on Sanchez. They really shouldn't be owned.
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