Matchup: Jets @ TitansMonday, December 17, 2012
Monday Night Football
NY Jets @ Tennessee
Jake Locker's target distribution since Dowell Loggains replaced Chris Palmer as Titans offensive coordinator two games ago: Kendall Wright 19, Kenny Britt 17, Jared Cook 15, Nate Washington 13, Chris Johnson 9. ... Britt has responded to being more of an offensive focal point by securing 10 balls for 183 yards and a touchdown in those two weeks. Unfortunately, Britt will be difficult to use in fantasy leagues in a Week 15 matchup with Antonio Cromartie. The updated stat lines of players covered by Cromartie since Darrelle Revis' Week 3 ACL tear: Brian Hartline (twice) 1-41, 4-41; Michael Crabtree 2-15; Andre Johnson 1-15; Reggie Wayne 5-87; Brandon Lloyd (twice) 1-6, 3-26; Sidney Rice 2-54-2; Chris Givens 4-19; Larry Fitzgerald 1-23; Justin Blackmon 6-57. ... If Cromartie indeed shadows Britt all over the field on Monday night, Wright could be the primary box-score beneficiary. Wright will square off with much more burnable Jets CBs Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster, and is a sneaky WR3 play for desperate fantasy owners. ... Washington has been third in line for targets in Tennessee's receiver corps, clearing 70 receiving yards in just 2-of-13 appearances this season. Washington has some big-play ability (16.6 yards per reception) and is never a terrible bet for a long bomb, but he's not much of an option in fantasy semifinals week.
Cook tore his rotator cuff in last week's loss to the Colts and will be replaced by a combination of blocking specialist Craig Stevens and rookie project Taylor Thompson. Look elsewhere for tight end sleepers. ... Locker's big-play ability keeps him in the two-quarterback league mix against the Jets' No. 3 pass defense, but the second-year passer has been an inconsistent, turnover-prone disappointment this season. In easier matchups than he'll face Monday night, Locker has thrown for just three touchdowns while turning the ball over nine times the past three weeks. ... Slumping Johnson has hit a wall since Tennessee's Week 11 bye, failing to clear 4.0 yards per carry or find pay dirt in the three ensuing games. Johnson has managed just 95 yards on his last 33 rushing attempts (2.88 YPC). I think he has finished runs with effort and generally played better than those stats indicate, however, and Johnson has the sort of Week 15 matchup that could result in a blowup game. The Jets rank 29th against the run and field the slowest front seven in football. If Johnson gets to the edge against this group, he will be gone. Still a top-16 fantasy back in points per game this season, Johnson is a recommended RB1 on Monday night.
Although their offense has scored 20 points just once in the last six games, the Jets remain in the playoff hunt in a talent-lacking, top-heavy AFC. With faux-franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez under center, the best way for New York to stay competitive is to lean heavily on its run game. The Jets have done just that during their two-game win streak, peppering Arizona and Jacksonville with a combined 85:47 run-to-pass ratio. Due to the utter lack of passing volume, no Jets pass catcher exceeded 40 yards in either game. This is the brand of football Rex Ryan understandably wants to play, but it's bad news for the box-score outlooks of Jeremy Kerley and newly acquired Braylon Edwards. Dustin Keller (ankle) will not play on Monday night. No Jets receiver or tight end is a legit option in the fantasy playoffs. ... On the other hand, workload and touches should be there for New York's backfield timeshare against the Titans as Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell take on Tennessee's No. 23 run defense. Figuring out just which Jets back will emerge with more production has been an unforeseeable week-to-week fantasy dilemma over the last month. In Weeks 11 and 12, Powell was the superior fantasy scorer. Week 13 was Greene's. Last week, both Greene and Powell proved worthwhile flex plays with nearly 80 rushing yards and a touchdown apiece. Thinking logically, the toe injury ostensibly suffered by Powell in the Jets' Week 14 win at Jacksonville should vault Greene to the forefront of the committee this week. Powell should not be in fantasy semifinals lineups. Greene is worth a look as a desperation flex.
Score Prediction: Titans 20, Jets 17