Matchup Analysis: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Bills 19, Jets 22

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Bills Rushing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Jets defense.

The Buffalo ground game was fairly punchless in 2018, and its arrow hasn’t pointed upward since. Losing LeSean McCoy may be addition by subtraction, but not much talent has been left in his wake. It doesn’t help that the line looks like one of the league’s worst – our Matt Bitonti ranked it 31st during the preseason. Rookie Devin Singletary looks like the closest thing to a lead back. He was wildly productive at Florida Atlantic, posting three 1,000-yard seasons and running for 66 touchdowns. Still, he didn’t test well athletically during draft season, with a 4.66 40-yard dash and slow shuttle times. Running behind a subpar front line, and in such a shaky offense, Singletary isn’t set up for early success. Expect Singletary to rotate with 36-year-old Frank Gore, who was effective last year in Miami, but has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry since 2015. Ex-Jaguar T.J. Yeldon is also in the mix, but he’ll likely focus on (occasional) passing downs. All told, none of these runners look capable of maximizing this situation. It’s likely their most impactful runner will again be quarterback Josh Allen, who’s both athletic and a massive body to bring down. Over 12 rookie appearances, Allen averaged 7 rushes for 52 yards, topping 95 four times. That usage – and that 7.1 yards per rush – may scale back, but Allen’s legs will remain a prominent part of this ho-hum backfield.

The Jets run defense was a better-than-average unit in 2018, and they’ve only improved things – on paper, at least – going forward. With No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams at tackle and prized free agent C.J. Mosley at middle linebacker, the talent infusion has been ambitious and expensive. Williams is a penetrator at heart, blessed with remarkable speed and quickness for his size (6-foot-3 and 303 pounds). He’ll be asked to both shoot gaps and tie up blockers, and preseason reviews were generally strong. He’ll team with end Leonard Williams to form one of football’s most athletically imposing front-line duos. Avery Williamson was stout in the middle last season, calling the defense’s plays and providing elite run support. Mosley may not bring a huge improvement on such a great year, but he’s an upper-tier run-stuffer in his own right. Williamson was expected to kick over to accommodate him, but tore his ACL in camp, leaving a big hole. The team would love to see rookie athletic rookie Blake Cashman take that spot, though Week 1 might be a big ask. That should be an exploitable matchup for Josh Allen and the Bills, but behind them all, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye make for a dynamic young safety duo. Adams, in particular, has grown into an elite contributor in the box.

Bills Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Jets defense.

Josh Allen entered the NFL in 2018 as a particularly raw prospect, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He completed just 53% of his rookie throws for an inefficient 6.8 yards per attempt, and he topped 225 yards just once over 12 games. Still, he also flashed real NFL traits that could certainly blossom. Allen is huge and powerful, capable of driving pro-caliber throws down the field. He’s also exceptionally mobile for his size, with Ben Roethlisberger-like instincts to evade pressure and keep looking for plays. If Allen is to have any success in 2019, it will be on the heels of his downfield game. To that end, the Bills feature journeyman deep threat John Brown and 2018 pleasant surprise Robert Foster as deep-ball specialists. Brown looked good in the preseason and has the edge in experience, but Foster showed a strong rapport with Allen last year. The two hooked up 22 times over the final 6 games, including completions of 75, 42, and 38 yards. On shorter, more conventional routes, Allen will throw to Zay Jones and ex-Cowboy Cole Beasley, both reasonably capable slot targets. At the moment, there’s no receiving tight end of note in the offense’s plans.

The Jets spent most of 2018 struggling with consistency against the pass, ultimately giving up the league’s ninth-most net yards. It’s fair to expect another bumpy year, though there’s reason to believe in modest improvement. Trumaine Johnson will return as the top cornerback, provided his preseason hamstring strain is indeed healed. Johnson lost six games to injury in 2018, but he’s still a solid cover man, if no longer much of a shutdown force. The team lacks depth at the position, so Johnson’s health and effectiveness are crucial. Jamal Adams has developed nicely at one safety spot, but the X-factor here is Marcus Maye, who missed 10 games last year but continued to look fantastic when healthy. He’s been cleared for a full complement of Week 1 snaps, making for great downfield support behind the cornerbacks. All would benefit from a more consistent pass rush. The Jets have struggled to create pressure without blitzing; their hope is that gifted end Leonard Williams finds more consistency form up front. When Williams is pushing back linemen and threatening the pocket, the pass rush is that much more effective from all over the formation. It would also open things up more for dynamic rookie tackle Quinnen Williams, an athletic marvel who led the SEC in hurries last season. While this is not a perfect unit, it should be good enough to be competitive against the lackluster passing attack of Buffalo.

Jets Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Bills defense.

The Jets have thoroughly revamped their run game this offseason, and early reviews have been positive. The new-look like, at least, should prove a noticeable upgrade over 2018’s subpar unit. With an eye on clearing more room on the interior, the team added two former All-Pros: guard Kelechi Osemele and center Ryan Kalil. Both are likely past their best days, but serve as major on-paper upgrades entering 2019. Still, the prime component of this rebuild – running back LeVeon Bell – remains a general unknown entering Week 1. Bell is 27, with 2,290 touches on his football resume, yet he hasn’t played full-speed football in 20 months. It’s fair to wonder how effective he’ll be off the bat, especially without Ben Roethlisberger and company threatening defenses. Surprisingly, the Jets will enter the season with just 30-year-old Bilal Powell and two scatbacks as depth. Ty Montgomery operated as the lead back with Bell sitting the preseason, so it appears he’s the next man up, though his role next to Bell is unclear. Perhaps new signee Josh Adams, a bruiser who ran for 511 yards in Philadelphia last season, will make an appearance as Bell’s backup.

The Buffalo run defense was solid, if inconsistent in 2018, allowing just 4.2 yards per rush (10th-best in football) and only three 90-yard rushers. There were a few notable lapses, but on the whole, this was a stout unit. And they didn’t rock the boat this offseason, bringing back virtually the same run-stuffing crew. The X-factor is linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, last year’s No. 16 pick and immediate defensive captain. Edmunds is more playmaker than gap-filler; his best days should come tracking and pursuing across the field. At the moment, he can be a vulnerability when reached by blockers. He’ll benefit from the return of strongside starter Matt Milano, who was quietly the team’s best linebacker before going down to injury in Week 14. And both will enjoy another year behind nose tackle Star Lotulelei, who’s adept at tying up blocks on the interior. It’s worth noting that the team visited with ex-Packer Josh Jones, a linebacker/safety hybrid, on Monday. If he signs before the weekend, he could plug in for immediate snaps as run reinforcement in the box.

Jets Passing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Bills defense.

As the youngest starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era, Sam Darnold certainly faced growing pains in 2018. But after returning from a foot sprain in Week 14, Darnold tightened his game noticeably. Over the season’s final 4 weeks, he completed 64% of his throws, with 6 touchdowns to a single interception. He’ll look to carry that hot stretch over, but may ultimately lack the firepower to do so, at least in Week 1. Top target Robby Anderson has been limited for the last week by a calf injury; he’s expected to play, but might not be himself off the bat. And tight end Chris Herndon, who flashed playmaking ability as a rookie, will lose the first four weeks to suspension. The rest of the receiving corps looks fairly low-impact: slot specialists Jamison Crowder (11.9 career yards per catch) and Quincy Enunwa (11.8 last year with Darnold) will work the middle, with running back Le’Veon Bell likely to draw heavy usage out of the backfield. If Anderson can go at full strength, it’ll be a massive boon for Darnold. The two got off to a shaky start last year, but during Darnold’s strong closing stretch, Anderson averaged 6 catches for 84 yards. He’s developed nicely from an occasional Hail Mary target into one of football’s more productive deep threats.

Through yet another tough season in 2018, the Buffalo pass defense remained a clear team strength – and a dicey fantasy matchup. On the year, the Bills gave up just 5.4 net yards per attempt (third-best in the league) and 22 touchdowns (eighth-fewest). They allowed only four opposing passers – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and Kirk Cousins – to top 250 yards. And luckily, the unit’s entire core returns intact for the coming year. It’s led by shutdown cornerback TreDavious White, who built on an impressive 2017 debut with an even better 2018. White didn’t shadow often, but was the primary reason the team allowed just three 100-yard wideouts all year. And Levi Wallace was a rookie revelation across the field, dominating all comers after seizing the starting job in Week 10. With a solid safety duo behind them and an aggressive pass rush up front, this secondary will offer a grueling Week 1 test for Sam Darnold. If top Jets wideout Robby Anderson is hobbled, there’s little reason to expect any Jets firepower Sunday.

Josh Allen (FanDuel: $6900, DraftKings: $5600)

1PROJ-Dodds19311971.20.97400.319.619.619.6 (H=50)19.6 (H=61)
1PROJ-Tremblay1831202116410.3191919 (H=47)19 (H=58)
1PROJ-Bloom19301811.119500.319.319.319.3 (H=48)19.3 (H=60)

Devin Singletary (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3600)

1PROJ-Dodds10380.21.9140.178.98 (H=13)8.9 (H=24)
1PROJ-Tremblay10440.31.51107.38.88.1 (H=14)8.8 (H=24)
1PROJ-Bloom10410.33.0190.18.411.49.9 (H=20)11.4 (H=37)

T.J. Yeldon (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3300)

1PROJ-Dodds2100.11.9130. (H=5)5.4 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay5200.11.7140. (H=8)6.3 (H=14)
1PROJ-Bloom2601.0501.12.11.6 (H=0)2.1 (H=2)

Stefon Diggs (FanDuel: $7200, DraftKings: $6700)

1PROJ-Dodds5.3590.51309.214.511.8 (H=19)14.5 (H=30)
1PROJ-Tremblay6.2680.514010.216.413.3 (H=24)16.4 (H=37)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0410.40006.510.58.5 (H=11)10.5 (H=17)

John Brown (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4300)

1PROJ-Dodds3.5470.30006.5108.3 (H=14)10 (H=25)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.2330.20304.875.9 (H=7)7 (H=13)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0660.50009.614.612.1 (H=27)14.6 (H=48)

Cole Beasley (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3600)

1PROJ-Dodds3.4350.20004.78.16.4 (H=10)8.1 (H=20)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.6280.10003.464.7 (H=6)6 (H=12)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0420.20005.410.47.9 (H=14)10.4 (H=32)

Isaiah McKenzie (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds1.11201401.62.72.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.81000201.221.6 (H=1)2 (H=2)

Dawson Knox (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds1.5150. (H=2)3.6 (H=7)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.2230.12.95.14 (H=4)5.1 (H=13)
1PROJ-Bloom1. (H=1)2.5 (H=3)

Jason Croom (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Tyler Kroft (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2600)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Kaare Vedvik (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Steve Hauschka (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Buffalo Bills (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds21.63212.210.700. (H=18)8.1 (H=24)
1PROJ-Tremblay21.53232.11.10.800. (H=25)9.6 (H=33)

Sam Darnold (FanDuel: $6700, DraftKings: $5100)

1PROJ-Dodds21322131.41.13120.116.916.916.9 (H=39)16.9 (H=52)
1PROJ-Tremblay19322181.41.1380.116.816.816.8 (H=39)16.8 (H=51)
1PROJ-Bloom19331791.314150. (H=33)15.2 (H=43)

Joe Flacco (FanDuel: $6400, DraftKings: $5100)

1PROJ-Dodds21332281.40.926016.716.716.7 (H=40)16.7 (H=51)
1PROJ-Tremblay22362481.30.924017.117.117.1 (H=42)17.1 (H=53)
1PROJ-Bloom17271811.20.911013.113.113.1 (H=26)13.1 (H=33)

LeVeon Bell (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $7100)

1PROJ-Dodds18700.64.1300.214.818.916.9 (H=33)18.9 (H=45)
1PROJ-Tremblay16660.52.9210.112.315.213.8 (H=23)15.2 (H=31)
1PROJ-Bloom19650.44.0260.212.716.714.7 (H=26)16.7 (H=36)

Frank Gore (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3800)

1PROJ-Dodds7290.31.490. (H=11)7.6 (H=17)
1PROJ-Tremblay7310.10.9704.45.34.9 (H=6)5.3 (H=9)
1PROJ-Bloom7270.31.0605.16.15.6 (H=8)6.1 (H=12)

Kalen Ballage (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $4500)

1PROJ-Dodds8280.21.51105.16.65.9 (H=7)6.6 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay7290.21.71305.47.16.3 (H=8)7.1 (H=13)
1PROJ-Bloom8210.22.01104.46.45.4 (H=6)6.4 (H=11)

Jamison Crowder (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $4100)

1PROJ-Dodds3.5430.30006.19.67.9 (H=13)9.6 (H=24)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.8380.20105.17.96.5 (H=9)7.9 (H=17)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0540.40007.812.810.3 (H=21)12.8 (H=40)

Breshad Perriman (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3300)

1PROJ-Dodds1.9250.20003.75.64.7 (H=6)5.6 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.5220.11303.14.63.9 (H=4)4.6 (H=8)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0310.10003.75.74.7 (H=6)5.7 (H=12)

Chris Hogan (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3300)

1PROJ-Dodds1.2170.10002.33.52.9 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.2320.20004.46.65.5 (H=8)6.6 (H=15)
1PROJ-Bloom1.01100001.12.11.6 (H=0)2.1 (H=2)

Josh Bellamy (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0.810000011.81.4 (H=0)1.8 (H=1)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.790.10001.52.21.9 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)

Josh Doctson (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3900)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Vyncint Smith (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Ryan Griffin (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2700)

1PROJ-Dodds1.5140.123.52.8 (H=2)3.5 (H=6)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.4160. (H=3)3.6 (H=6)
1PROJ-Bloom1.0100. (H=1)2.6 (H=3)

Brett Maher (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Sam Ficken (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


New York Jets (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $3100)

1PROJ-Dodds19.53442.20.90.700.4999 (H=21)9 (H=29)
1PROJ-Tremblay18.5343210.900.510.510.510.5 (H=27)10.5 (H=37)