Three weeks into the NFL’s 100th season, it’s clear that the New York Jets and New England Patriots are going in opposite directions. After New England’s 30-14 victory in Foxboro, MA on Sunday, it's clear that the Jets being down to its third string quarterback in QB Luke Falk and missing multiple starters on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, were unlikely to win this game. The Patriots dominated through the air against a weakened Jets defense and here’s a look at some fantasy winners and losers from this match-up.
QB Tom Brady
It was business as usual for the 42 year-old QB. He finished 28-of-42 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Brady spread the wealth around today as seven different receivers hauled in a pass including six with multiple catches on the afternoon. Brady started the day strong going 7-for-8 and 83 yards on the first drive. He would follow it up on the ensuing drive finding WR Philip Dorsett for a 25 yard touchdown to extend the lead to 13-0 late in the first quarter. Brady has been fantastic early on this season with 260+ yards and at least two touchdown passes in every contest so far this season. He’ll look to keep it going next week against the Bills.
WR Josh Gordon
After star receiver Julian Edelman went down with a chest injury late in the first half, Gordon stepped up big as Brady’s main target the rest of the way.
New England Patriots WR Josh Gordon finished with six catches and a team-high 83 receiving yards on 11 targets, including a highly contested catch of 28 yards to set up the Patriots inside the Jets five yard line late in the 3rd. With controversial issues landing WR Antonio Brown on the free agency market and if WR Julian Edelman is forced to miss any time with injury, Gordon would become the focal point of one of the best offenses in the league.
One of the biggest surprises so far this season has been the Patriots defense. Through the first two weeks it’s been the top-rated unit, accrewing eight sacks and five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), and has only allowed three points. Their stout play continued on Sunday, bottling up star RB Le’Veon Bell (see below) and not allowing Faulk to get in a rhythm all game as he finished with only 98 yards passing and an interception. The Jets technically didn’t score on the Patriots defense. The two touchdowns came on a muffed punt and a pick-six thrown by backup Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham to cut the Patriots lead to 30-14 and eventually bringing Brady back in the game. Overall, the defense has not allowed a touchdown all season and has favorable matchups in upcoming weeks with the Bills, Redskins, Giants, and the Jets (again) all over the next four weeks.
RB Le’Veon Bell
Bell had his worst performance in his early tenure as the New York Jets starting running back. He finished with 18 carries for 35 yards and added four catches for 28 yards. Bell struggled to find any room all day on the ground, as he averaged 1.9 yards per carry. Statistically, it was his worst performance since week one of the 2017 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers when he had 10 carries for 32 yards against the Browns. While he’s totaled 90+ total yards in both week one and two, Bell’s with less than 70 yards rushing and a disappointing 3.4 yards per carry in each of the first three contests. While there’s no question he’s a threat as a receiver out of the backfield, the RB’s longest play this season has been a 17-yard catch against the Browns last week. While there’s cause for concern, it’s still early on for Bell who will no doubt improve as he gets more accustomed to the week-to-week game flow of the new offense and shake off the rust of sitting out all of the 2018 season.
RB Sony Michel
Not everyone was a fantasy winner for the Patriots. Alas, Michel. Even though he scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, Michel arguably had a worse game than Bell. He finished with nine carries for 11 yards and no catches on one target. If we take away the five yard TD run, he finished with eight carries for six yards. Just brutal. However, the more concerning issue has been his usage this season. After a woeful 14 yards on 15 carries in week one, the Patriots force fed Michel the ball in week two with 21 carries and 83 yards and a touchdown. What seemed like a prime position again this week with RB James White missing the game due to the birth of his child, it was a huge letdown for Michel. Backup RB Rex Burkhead looked much better on the ground with 11 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown. While he’s still the Patriots “starting” running back, it’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots use him next weekend against another undefeated team in the Buffalo Bills.
No Shenanigans, Just Football.