TE Fred Davis - New England Patriots
|6-4, 248||Born: 1-15-1986||College: USC||Drafted: Round 2|
Week 20: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
FBG says: Bad matchup. Even after limping to the finish line in the regular season, Tom Brady proved last week that the postseason is generally of no real obstacle. His 337-yard, 3-touchdown masterpiece against the Titans' barely-there secondary was a sight to behold, and it reinforced just how great this passing game is. Of course, that one game doesn't totally sew up Brady's issues - he and this unit had their share of difficulties down the 2017 stretch. Brady's numbers almost always dip as December nears, and this year's dip was rather noticeable. After producing 340.4 yards per game over the season's first 5 weeks, his average has fallen to a good-not-great 267.6 over the last 12. That run has included a handful of fantasy clunkers, including late slip-ups against the Bills (258 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception in a 23-3 win), Dolphins (233 with 1 and 2), and Jets (just 18 of 37 for 190 and 2 scores). Like all passers, Brady can absolutely struggle in cold weather, and with Dion Lewis and the running game so reliable and stout, Brady isn't asked to throw as often as usual. Still, he remains an efficiency king, one who's as capable as anyone of turning his attempts into fantasy points. Over the course of the 2017-18 season, he's generated a league-best 286.1 yards per game and the 5th-best touchdown rate (5.51%) in football. He still throws to ultra-dynamic weapons, too. Rob Gronkowski remains arguably the NFL's toughest cover and an absolute touchdown machine - he's now found the end zone 37 times over his last 54 games. He's no one-dimensional touchdown guy, either, with 75+ yards in 24 of those. Brandin Cooks' mega-potent deep game has only clicked with Brady occasionally, but he's always a threat to burn a secondary; on the other side, Chris Hogan was quiet last week but is working back from major injury. Regardless of things like timing, momentum, etc., this passing game remains as terrifying and high-ceiling as any in football. If there's a unit capable of going toe-to-toe on an efficiency level with this Jaguars defense, it's Brady and his crew. The Jaguars pass defense remains dominant, for the most part. They allowed quite a bit of production last week, but most of that can be chalked up to the script of a wild Steelers rally, spearheaded by a Hall of Fame quarterback/wide receiver combination. On the whole, the Jaguars have simply smothered opposing passing games all year. Even including last week's Pittsburgh eruption, Jacksonville has allowed the NFL's fewest passing yards per game. They're adept at forcing turnovers, even against the best: Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Philip Rivers combined to hand over nine interceptions and two fumbles across their five turns in this matchup. Again, it's hard to knock any defense for failing to contain Antonio Brown, who's simply the most productive wideout in league history. And the Jaguars, armed with the elite cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, tend to choke off production for most human WR1s. They've certainly shut down their fair share of them, including T.Y. Hilton (just 78 yards on 14 targets over 2 games), Larry Fitzgerald (12 on 8), Keenan Allen (48 on 7), and A.J. Green (6 on 2). Slowing Tom Brady and the Patriots' array of weapons is a big ask, of course. But the Jaguars certainly boast the personnel - and the upside to dominate one-on-one matchups - to slow them for extended chunks of time. If nothing else, they look poised to put themselves in Brady's face (a 9.8% sack rate this season, 2nd-best in football) and make a big day difficult.