New Orleans Saints (5-7, 5-7 ATS) at New York Jets (3-9, 3-9), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Saints Stats and Trends
The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last five games, and they’re 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a favorite.
Alvin Kamara’s situation has been an incredible buzzkill as his seemingly minor knee injury coming out of Week 9 has turned into a month-long absence. The length of Kamara’s absence even caught the Saints off guard since they never placed him on the injured reserve. At least it looks like he should finally return to the lineup this week in the best matchup in fantasy football against the Jets. He practiced on a limited basis before their Thursday Night contest last week, and he’ll also hopefully get LT Terron Armstead (knee) and RT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) back, too. Kamara scored 20+ FP in four of his last six games with six touchdowns in that span, and he could give this offense a much-needed kick in the butt with their season hanging in the balance. The Jets are giving up the third-most rushing yards per game (117.6) and the second-most receiving yards per game (62.8) to RBs.
Taysom Hill threw four INTs last week, including a late pick-six to a defensive lineman, and he completed 46.3% of his passes in a two-score loss to the Cowboys. With that said, he finished as a top-12 fantasy QB last week because of his 10.1 FP as a runner with 11/101 rushing against the Cowboys. Hill suffered the same “mallet” finger injury that Russell Wilson suffered earlier this season, but Taysom’s injury isn’t nearly as severe and he’ll try to play through it. Considering his injury and his dismal passing performance, he’s a week-to-week proposition right now with Trevor Siemian waiting in the wings if Taysom continues to severely limit this passing attack. The Jets are giving up the third-most rushing yards per game (133.4) and the fourth-most passing yards (274.7).
Deonte Harris is out of the mix for the next three weeks. Tre’Quan Smith led the Saints with 36 routes last week, but he managed just 2/15 receiving on seven targets. He was followed by Marquez Callaway (30 routes, 1/13 receiving) and Lil’Jordan Humphrey (24, 2/49/1) with this passing game struggling with Taysom playing through mallet finger. The Jets are giving up the 12th-fewest FPG (33.3) to WRs this season.
Brolley’s Jets Stats and Trends
New York is 1-4 ATS in its last five games
The Jets are 7-2 toward overs in their last nine games.
Zach Wilson showed marginal improvement last week in his second start since his knee injury. He completed 23/38 passes for 226 yards (5.9 YPA), two TDs, and one INT in a loss to the Eagles. Wilson also added a one-yard touchdown plunge to give him his first 20+ FP performance of his career. The Saints limited Dak Prescott to 238/1 passing last week, but they’re still giving up the fifth-most FPG (19.9) to QBs this season.
Elijah Moore got back on his feet in Wilson’s second game back in the lineup with 6/77/1 receiving on 12 targets. He’s now posted 13+ FP in five of his last six games, and his role should remain massive with Corey Davis (core, IR) done for the season. CeeDee Lamb posted 7/89 receiving against the Saints last week, and New Orleans is giving up the fifth-most FPG (38.4) to WRs this season.
Jamison Crowder is still hanging around after posting 4/62 receiving on six targets against the Eagles, which was an improvement from his one-target performance in Wilson’s first game back in Week 12. Crowder should continue to run the second-most routes with Davis out of the lineup, and it doesn’t hurt that Ryan Griffin (ankle) is also out of the mix. Cole Beasley posted 5/46 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.
Tevin Coleman has performed the best in this backfield since Michael Carter (ankle, IR) left the lineup, posting 11/58 rushing and 3/19 receiving on 39% of the snaps against the Eagles in Week 13. Ty Johnson once again disappointed with just 3/15 scrimmage on a backfield-best 47% of the snaps. The Saints are giving up just 3.4 YPC and the fewest FPG (19.0) to RBs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 25.9 (3rd)
Plays per game: 65.4 (9th)
Pass: 61.4% (16th) | Run: 38.6% (17th)
Pace: 29 (24th)
Plays per game: 66.0 (7th)
Pass: 68.0% (2nd) | Run: 32.0% (31st)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
We’re going to see the Saints come out and run the ball at will here, especially if Alvin Kamara is healthy and good to go. The Eagles ran for 242 yards on the Jets last week and I think we’re going to see a version of that plan with plenty of designed runs for Taysom Hill here. The Jets defense has completely collapsed as of late and have allowed a score (TD or FG) on a league-high 53% of their opponents possessions over the last eight weeks.
Zach Wilson has played better since his poor start to the season, but this offense is still largely stuck in mud. They’ve gone three-and-out on 6-of-20 possessions over the last two weeks and didn’t manage a single score in the second-half last week against the Eagles. The Saints have given up 27 or more points five times in their last six games, so there is some matchup-based upside here. Overall, this game could end up being one of those sloppy but fun shootouts between two sliding defenses.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Since Elijah Moore is currently questionable with a new quadriceps injury, I’ll keep this somewhat brief. Moore has averaged 20.7 FPG over the last five weeks. In Zach Wilson’s second game back from IR, he assembled a 6/77/1 line on 12 targets — 33% target share — for 20.6/17.6 FPs against the Eagles. A Philadelphia defense holding opposing wideouts to the second-fewest FPG this season (28.8). Tyreek Hill, Deebo Samuel, Antonio Brown, and Keenan Allen are the only other WRs to register at least 15 FPs against Philly this season. The Saints are delivering 38.4 FPG to opposing WR units (fifth-most). New Orleans offers the opposition the third-most FP/CS (0.46), fourth-highest TPR (127.0), and third-most TD receptions (nine) in defense of teams using play action. Moore is extracting 28% of his total FPG (3.54) on play action.
It’s very unfortunate that the NFL slapped a three-game ban on Deonte Harris. He had just established an interesting rapport with Taysom Hill in Week 13. Tre’Quan Smith is never someone I will even give a moment of consideration toward. Lil’Jordan Humphrey actually emerged as the next WR name on the list with the cleanest wavelength with Hill. And his role should grow starting in Week 14 without Harris.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Saint QB Taysom Hill threw four INTs last week as he played through mallet finger, though apparently a less severe version of what Russell Wilson needed surgery for. It’s not like we were expecting Hill to set any completion percentage records anyway, but the injury is clearly going to make him even more volatile.
Our Greg Cosell wrote this week that “Hill does not see things fast enough as a pocket QB, He is too often a beat slow to eliminate and isolate; He is not a quick processor,” and, well, the injury just exacerbates those issues.
He’s planning to start this week and will obviously be limited… but you’re still going to start him. Such is the disconnect of fantasy and reality.
Here’s Scott Barrett from Start/Sit:
“Hill threw 4 interceptions last week. He’s been dealing with a partial tear of the plantar fascia (foot) for several weeks now, which is supposedly a more painful injury than if it were fully torn. And as of last week, he is also dealing with “Mallet Finger” on his throwing hand, the same injury that kept Russell Wilson off the field for three games, and still seemed to be affecting him for several weeks after.
And still, you’re starting him this week as a low-end QB1.
In spite of these ailments, last week, Hill managed to throw for 264 yards (2 touchdowns) while adding 101 yards rushing on the ground. Through 5 career QB starts, Hill averages 22.2 FPG (low of 18.5), which would rank 6th-most among all QBs this season. Although the risk of Hill getting benched (should he struggle) seems massive, he otherwise boasts one of the highest floors in fantasy, averaging 77.5 rushing YPG, 1.0 rushing touchdowns per game, and 13.8 rushing FPG in his 5 career starts.
And this week’s matchup is excellent. The Jets have given up the 4th-most passing FPG to opposing QBs (17.3), while also ranking 3rd-worst in passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (0.52). They rank 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing QBs (+2.4), though Hill’s Week 13 opponent (the Cowboys) ranked top-10 by the same stat (and 3rd-best in opposing passer rating). The Jets have allowed an opposing QB to reach 18.5 fantasy points against them in 8 of their last 9 games (20.4 FPG), though only one of these QBs ranks top-10 in fantasy points scored.”
With RB Mark Ingram on the COVID-19 list, it’s expected that Alvin Kamara (knee) will return to play full go against a Jets defense that has hemorrhaged points to RBs all season, giving up a league-most 33.0 FPG to them over the last six weeks. But Kamara’s receiving production can be expected to take a big hit with Taysom under center. Once again, here’s Scott from XFP:
“Since 2019, Saints RBs average 31.2 FPG with Drew Brees under center, 27.6 FPG with Teddy Bridgewater, 24.1 FPG with Jameis Winston, and only 20.5 FPG with Taysom Hill under center… Last season Alvin Kamara averaged just 4.0 targets per game with Hill under center (14% target share), though he averaged 8.3 (25%) in all other games.”
Still, I’m optimistic on Kamara in this matchup. If you’ve managed to weather the storm to get him to this point, this matchup is as glorious as it gets. You have to fire him up as an RB1, especially if it looks like Ingram won’t go. (Kamara does not have an injury designation.)
As for the Jets, they got a performance from Zach Wilson that could be considered encouraging last week, and it really focused on WR Elijah Moore, who was becoming the Jets’ #1 WR even before Corey Davis (groin) was ruled out for the season. With Wilson back the last two weeks, Moore has a 34% target share and a ridiculous 60% air yard share for the Jets.
Here’s Scott on Moore from XFP:
“Moore, the humble farmer’s son, ranks 2nd among all WRs in fantasy points scored since Week 9. Keep in mind, he’s accomplished this feat while catching passes from Mike White, Josh Johnson, Joe Flacco, and Zach Wilson. He ranks as PFF’s 4th-highest graded WR since Week 8 (83.2), and ranks top-6 in separation rate across the full season.
And his Week 13 performance was his most encouraging yet, earning 12 targets (32%), 187 air yards, 2 end zone targets, 4 deep targets, and 1 carry. He scored 20.6 fantasy points, his third performance with 20-plus fantasy points in 5 games, but saw a season-high in XFP (28.4). That ranked most among all WRs on the week, and was 71% more than his prior season-high. And those 187 air yards were also 48% more than his prior-high. So, although he’s been performing like a fantasy WR1 for quite a while now, this was the first week he’s actually seen WR1-levels of volume.
Obviously, QB-play is still a massive concern. Zach Wilson ranks dead-last of 31-qualifying QBs in PFF pass grade. But the good news is, any upsurge in volume should go a long way in helping to negate that deleterious effect.
Corey Davis will be out for the remainder of the season, and Moore draws an attractive on-paper matchup this week. The Saints rank 5th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs. I’m biased, and will always be biased, but I’d start Moore with confidence as a high-end WR2 this week.”
Of course, since the Jets can’t have nice things, Moore is dealing with a quad injury this week. He missed multiple practices and is listed as questionable.
Elijah Moore has a quad injury and is day-to-day. LDT is also day-to-day. Tevin Coleman, Michael Carter in concussion protocol.— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) December 8, 2021
None of them practicing.
Frankly, Moore is the only Jet I’d be willing to start with any degree of confidence, though if you’re really dying Keelan Cole is off the COVID list and would be usable if Moore doesn’t play. Jamison Crowder is a boring WR3.
With Michael Carter (ankle) on IR and Tevin Coleman (concussion) questionable, if you’re absolutely thirsty for a RB this week, you could pick up Ty Johnson or Austin Walter. Johnson, though, has had his value kneecapped by the fact that Wilson doesn’t really check the ball down much.