New York Jets (2-8, 2-8 ATS) at Houston Texans (2-8, 5-5), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Jets Stats and Trends
New York is 1-5 ATS in its last six games.
The Jets are 6-1 toward overs in their last seven games.
The Jets are turning back to Zach Wilson after a four-game layoff for a knee injury. Joe Flacco posted 291/2 passing in his lone start against the Dolphins in Week 11. Wilson had just four TD passes and nine INTs in his first six games in the NFL. The Texans intercepted Ryan Tannehill four times last week, and they’ve limited Tannehill and Jacoby Brissett to fewer than 14 FP in consecutive games.
Rookie Elijah Moore is coming into his own with double-digit FP in four straight games, which includes touchdowns in three consecutive contests (four total TDs). He’s coming off a monster performance in Week 11, posting 8/141/1 receiving on 11 targets against the Dolphins. Most promisingly he saw a nine-week high 80% snap share in the loss so the coaching staff is finally letting him loose. Fellow rookie Jaylen Waddle, who works more out of the slot, finished with 8/83 receiving against the Texans in Week 9.
Jamison Crowder posted 6/44/1 receiving on seven targets playing with Flacco against the Dolphins in Week 11. He posted 11/85/1 receiving in his two games with Wilson earlier this season. Corey Davis had his worst fantasy performance since Week 2 in Flacco’s first start, posting 3/35 receiving for 6.5 FP. He had two 20+ FP performances and three performances with fewer than 10 FP in Wilson’s five full games. The Texans are giving up the eighth-most FPG (37.3) to WRs this season.
Michael Carter (ankle) is out for at least this week, and the Jets will be forced to go with a combo of Tevin Coleman as the top runner with Ty Johnson more liberally mixing as a runner while still working as the passing back. Coleman has just 30/118 rushing (3.9) and just 5/23 receiving in six games this season. Johnson had a run of 11+ FP in four straight games in Weeks 5-9, but he saw just one target and had 13 scrimmage yards in Flacco’s first start. The Texans are giving up a solid 147.5 scrimmage yards per game to RBs this season.
Brolley’s Texans Stats and Trends
The Texans scored the biggest upset of Week 11 with a 22-13 victory over the Titans as 10.5-point road underdogs. Houston used a +5 turnover differential to score the big upset, which gets them to +2 for the season despite owning just two wins this season.
Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
The Texans are 4-1 toward unders in their last five games.
Tyrod Taylor came through for fantasy in Week 11 with 19.1 FP, thanks to two rushing TDs. It covered up his ugly passing day in their stunning victory over the Titans, as he completed 14/24 passes for 107 scoreless yards). The Jets have given up multiple passing TDs to QBs in six straight games, and 18+ FP in seven consecutive contests.
Brandin Cooks is coming off season-lows across the board in targets (3), catches (2), receiving yards (18), and FP (3.8) with the Texans actually playing from ahead all game in sloppy conditions in Nashville. Jaylen Waddle (rushing TD, 8/65 receiving) and Stefon Diggs (8/162/1) have gone for 20+ FP in this matchup the last two weeks.
HC David Culley pared down Houston’s backfield to a two-man committee between Rex Burkhead and David Johnson coming out of their Week 10 bye. Burkhead led the backfield with 18/40 rushing on a 42% snap share in a victory over the Titans, while Johnson added 13/18 rushing and 3/16 receiving on four targets on a backfield-best 52% snap share. We’ll see if Royce Freeman gets involved in the future after the team cut Phillip Lindsay this week. The Jets are giving up by far the most FPG (37.8) to RBs, with even Myles Gaskin coming through with 18.6 FP last week.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace: 27.3 (9th)
Plays per game: 69.0 (9th)
Pass: 68.8% (1st) | Run: 31.2% (32nd)
Pace (seconds in between plays): 29 (23rd)
Plays per game: 63.4 (29th)
Pass: 64.1% (10th) | Run: 35.9% (23rd)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
After the Texans accidentally won last week, this game will go a long way in determining the No. 2 and No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 draft. Houston generated just 190 yards of total offense and ran the ball 38 times compared to 24 runs last week in the pouring rain in Tennessee. I’ll bet their pass | run splits normalize here in a much easier matchup.
Meanwhile, the Jets scored either a FG or TD on just 22.8% of their possessions in Weeks 1-5 with Zach Wilson under center. Only the Jaguars (22.2%) were worse. Their average point differential on the scoreboard in that span was 9.3 points. Only the Lions (9.7 point differential in Weeks 1-5) were worse. I get it – they’re playing against the Texans – but it is impossible to have confidence in this Wilson-led attack coming off of a long layoff. My guess is that Jets OC Mike LaFleur tries to come out and run the rock early to get his rookie QB settled.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Houston has played the third-most difficult schedule this season. And they’ve faced a who’s-who of the top defenses over the last nine games. The last time they faced a team of New York’s calibur, the Texans racked up 449 total yards and 37 points against the Jaguars in Week 1. With Jacksonville’s defense playing far better of late, Week 12 may be this offense's last chance to stroke their egos. During the last four weeks, opposing WRs have requisitioned 46.1 FPG from NYJ (third-most), 52.3 over the last two (the most). It’s no guarantee that Brandin Cooks sees coverage from Michael Carter II more than from any other Jets’ defender since he lines up at a different location on what seems like every play. Without a ground game to speak of from Houston, Cooks should garner another of those 30+% target shares.
Jumping on the Elijah Moore bandwagon would be extremely easy after averaging 20.5 FPG the last three weeks. And I was as high as anyone on Moore during the pre-draft process. But it’s just too difficult to trust that Zach Wilson will know how to get him the ball.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
I’m sure America’s waiting with bated breath for this ripsnorter. The only thing that surprises me about this game is that the NFL somehow didn’t manage to stick this one as the Thanksgiving nightcap.
It will mark the return of rookie QB Zach Wilson to the lineup for the Jets. As you can see, the Jets’ offensive metrics are vastly different with Wilson at QB vis-a-vis without (via SIS):
A couple of things stand out to me. First of all, Wilson has been far more aggressive as a thrower than Mike White, Joe Flacco, and Josh Johnson have been. But that is also to Wilson’s detriment. And the Jets’ blocking statistics also suggest Wilson is not handling pressure well:
The offensive line has performed better without Wilson in the run game, but sacks are very often a QB stat, and Wilson was taking them about three times as much as his veteran teammates were.
However, the Jets have no choice but to roll with the rookie in this one.
Jets QB Mike White actually tested positive for COVID-19. QB Joe Flacco was deemed a "close contact," but since he's unvaccinated he won't be cleared to play in time for Sunday.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 23, 2021
The Jets were going to start Zach Wilson at QB even before this COVID news, per a source. https://t.co/OovMW41nsA
One thing that has also improved for the Jets since Wilson sat was the run game, specifically rookie RB Michael Carter. But Carter is going to miss multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain, which leaves this backfield to Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman. To these eyes, Coleman has looked cooked this year, but New York is likely to use him as an early-down complement to Johnson, who has nearly double the receiving yards (271) as rushing yards (144) this season. I prefer Johnson as an RB2/FLEX — he outsnapped Coleman 15 to 11 when Carter left the game last week.
Hopefully, the return of Wilson to the lineup doesn’t kneecap Elijah Moore, who has been used a bunch recently. Here’s Graham from Stat-Pack:
The Jets finally saw the light this week as Elijah Moore absolutely shredded the Dolphins for 8/141/1 on a team-high 11 targets.
Moore ran a route on 85% of the team’s passing plays, which tied his season-high from back in Week 1.’
Moore should be important — WR Corey Davis is questionable with a groin injury.
There’s really not much to say about the Texans. They cut RB Phillip Lindsay this week, which means the beneficiaries of their glorious matchup on the ground against the Jets will be… Rex Burkhead (18 carries for 40 yards last week) and David Johnson (13 carries for 18 yards last week). It is an incredible matchup… but “use at your own risk” seems to be prudent here.
Otherwise, WR Brandin Cooks has totaled 8 catches for 74 yards on 17 targets since Tyrod Taylor returned to the lineup. He’s a WR3.