The Patriots and the Jets will close out Week 9 in a battle of AFC teams with opposing goals. The Patriots are looking to find a way to get back on the wagon after a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 2-5. They’re hoping they can still inch their way back into a race for an AFC playoff spot. Meanwhile, the 0-8 Jets are just hoping to avoid an 0-16 season and then perhaps draft Trevor Lawrence to upgrade their squad. The opposing motivations could end up making this a better game for the Patriots, and that’s why our FanDuel single-game lineup is targeting players on that side of the ball.
Our lineup may look a bit chalky, but simply put, we had to have the Patriots’ main weapons in this one. The team needs a win in the worst way, and getting one against the Jets shouldn’t be a problem for them. That’s why Cam Newton is being entrusted as our MVP and it’s also why we’re going with three other Patriots and one Jets sleeper to round things out. Our lineup isn’t really predicting any type of game script, but we are targeting the weaknesses of each team and, most notably, going after the Patriots’ poor run defense. If our sleeper picks pop off, we should have a great chance of doing very well in this lineup.
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FanDuel Single-Game Picks: Jets vs. Patriots
MVP (1.5x points): Cam Newton, Patriots ($17,000)
If you want to get in on the offense in this game, you’re going to need Newton in your lineup. The Patriots quarterback has struggled in recent weeks, but an extra day to prepare for a game against the NFL’s worst team should remedy his struggles. Newton doesn’t have much at his disposal in terms of receivers with N’Keal Harry (concussion) and Julian Edelman (knee) out, but he will find a way to move the ball. Newton may have to use his legs a lot in this one given his dearth of receiving options, and near the goal-line, he’s always a threat to run it in himself and score on the ground. He’s the highest-priced player on this slate, but he should easily pay off his price tag against a Jets defense that has allowed the most FanDuel fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs this year.
FLEX: Damien Harris, Patriots ($13,500)
Harris is probably the second-best MVP consideration on this slate, but we ended up going with Newton in that spot because he has slightly more upside. Still, Harris has twice run for 100 yards this season and could continue to find success against the Jets. Though the Jets don’t allow a ton of yardage to RBs, they have allowed seven rushing TDs to the position, tied for the ninth most in the NFL, and have allowed the eighth-most FD FPPG to RBs this year. Harris should continue to do well and build on his average of 12.8 touches per game this season.
FLEX: James White, Patriots ($10,500)
We’re going all out with Patriots running backs in this lineup. White has been hit or miss this season, but he should be more of a hit in this game with the Patriots down so many receivers. The Jets have allowed 49 catches to RBs this season (12th most in the NFL), and White is averaging five targets per game, so he should be able to take advantage of that battle. Expect Newton to look his way early and often and give us an effective stack while also ensuring that barring a Rex Burkhead rushing TD, we should get all the Patriots ground scoring in this game.
FLEX: La’Mical Perine, Jets ($9,500)
We have to have at least one Jets player in the lineup, so we’re going with Perine here. Yes, he is in a frustrating split with Frank Gore and is averaging just 10.7 touches per game for 41.6 total yards, but this could be a good chance for him to get in on the action. With Sam Darnold out, the Jets will have to rely more on the run since Joe Flacco has struggled throwing the ball this season. That’s actually good news since the Patriots’ weakness on defense is against the run. They’ve let RBs combine for at least 127 rushing yards in each of their past three games, so even if Perine is splitting carries with Gore, he should have a chance to get in on that action and rack up some yardage. Perine is a low-floor, high-ceiling type play who should give us lineup differentiation as more people focus on potential Jets WRs to play.
FLEX: Damiere Byrd, Patriots ($9,000)
Hey, somebody’s gotta catch passes from Cam Newton, right? While Jakobi Meyers will get a lot of attention, Byrd could be in for a nice day against the Jets. New York has allowed the 10th-most FD FPPG to WRs this year and the seventh-most total receptions to wideouts. Byrd has a couple of big-target games (nine and 10) from earlier in the season, so perhaps Newton can look his way in this one. Byrd has just as much upside as Meyers but fits into this lineup, so this seems like a solid value play, especially considering that Byrd just needs to break one long play to be fantasy relevant.