By Stephen Dolan
The New England Patriots are running away with AFC East, but there is plenty of jockeying for position in the division and the playoff race going on. Thursday Night Football features a clash of two AFC East teams jockeying for playoff position with the New York Jets taking on the Buffalo Bills.
Play: Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. BUF)
Fitzpatrick is dealing with a torn ligament on the thumb of his non-throwing hand, but still put up a strong performance on Sunday against the Jaguars. He completed 21 of his 34 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in New York’s victory. Fitzpatrick is facing a Buffalo defense that ranks 24th in the league against the pass allowing 260 yards per game.
Pass: Tyrod Taylor (vs. NYJ)
Taylor was highly efficient on Sunday, completing 11 of his 12 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown in his first game back from a knee injury. Taylor also got into the action using his legs, rushing 10 times for 44 yards in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. He gets a tough task on Sunday facing a New York defense that is allowing a quarterback rating of just 78.0 and ranks 14th in the NFL against the pass.
Play: Chris Ivory (vs. BUF)
Ivory was slowed by a hamstring injury on Sunday but still rushed 23 times for 26 yards. Despite an alarmingly low yards-per-carry average in Week 9, Ivory still managed to rush for two touchdowns and now has six on the season. He’s a viable fantasy option in most leagues. He takes on a stout Bills run defense that is allowing an average 93.6 rush yards per game but play Ivory as he is the better of two options.
Pass: LeSean McCoy (vs. NYJ)
McCoy had his first 100-yard game in a Bills uniform on Sunday, rushing 16 times for 112 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, against the Dolphins. McCoy left the game twice due to a shoulder injury and now gets to face the best run defense in the NFL on Thursday night. The Jets are allowing just 80.6 rush yards per game and have allowed a league-low two rushing touchdowns.
Play: Brandon Marshall (vs. BUF)
Marshall is also dinged up heading into Thursday with an ankle/toe injury, but he has been a fantasy football giant this year. He caught four passes for 44 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Jacksonville and that was a week after catching nine passes for 108 yards against the Raiders. The Bills have allowed 194 receptions for 2,148 receiving yards on the season and are in the bottom third of the league. Marshall is a good play on Thursday night.
Pass: Sammy Watkins (vs. NYJ)
Watkins is dealing with an ankle injury and was even walking with a limp at the Bills’ walkthrough on Monday. He put up some big numbers on Sunday, catching all eight of his targets for 168 yards and a touchdown in his first game since October 18. Unfortunately, Watkins draws the Jets on Thursday and, most likely, top cornerback Darrelle Revis, which will make things difficult in the Buffalo passing game.
Play: Charles Clay (vs. NYJ)
Clay is the Bills’ leading receiver through nine weeks of the season with 356 receiving yards. He managed just one catch for six yards on Sunday and has had one catch for seven or fewer yards in two of his last four games. Clay did much better earlier in the season, posting two of his top three season performances in Weeks 3 and 4, but hasn’t done much since. However, he is the play on Thursday night given his competition.
Pass: Jeff Cumberland (vs. BUF)
Cumberland has not been heavily involved in the Jets passing offense. He has been so underutilized that he has just five receptions for 77 yards on the season and that was aided by his 44-yard reception on Sunday against Miami. He has not registered more than two receptions in any game this season and only has one game with more than 16 yards receiving. Pass on Cumberland until the Jets start looking his way.
Play: Dan Carpenter (vs. NYJ)
Pass: Randy Bullock (vs. BUF)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.