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Previewing the Patriots-Jets Matchup from a Fantasy Perspective

Breaking down the SI.com fantasy recommendations and what they might mean for Sunday’s matchup at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The New England Patriots will host the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday. One of the many ways to examine the matchup is through the fantasy football perspective.

In that regard, let's look at Sports Illustrated Fantasy Editor Michael Fabiano's Week Five Start 'Em and Sit 'Em as they pertain to the Pats-Jets battle on Sunday.

Here are the notable players mentioned in the matchup with Fabiano's comments, along with some additional insight, via Patriot Maven, on that particular projection.

‘Starts’ of the Week

Damien Harris vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Harris is coming off his best stat line of the season, scoring 17.8 fantasy points in a loss to the Cowboys. Next on the schedule is a matchup against the Jets, who have surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs on a per-game basis this season. That includes a 13.4-point performance from Harris in Week 2. As long as he’s healthy, Harris should be in your starting lineups.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

With the Jets struggling to stop the run, Harris is a logical start. After all, New York ranks 21st in run defense, allowing an average of 123.4 yards per game. Still, the Jets defensive front actually did a pretty good job of containing Harris and the Patriots rushers back in Week 2. The difference here will be the improvement in New England’s run protection. The offensive line is slowly getting healthier and more productive. As a result, Harris should find greater ability to maneuver, even against a strong Jets run defense.

Hunter Henry vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Henry has been on a hot streak, scoring a touchdown in three straight games and averaging 14.4 points. This week’s matchup against the Jets isn’t great on paper, but Henry will be tough to fade with six teams on a bye at a thin position. In their last game, The Men in Green did allow 38.9 fantasy points to Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst, so their defense isn’t impenetrable to tight ends.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Henry is quickly becoming a favorite target of quarterback Mac Jones, especially in the red zone. The Jets safeties are generally stotur when it comes to defending tight ends. However, Marcus Maye has been limited in his practice participation this week with an ankle injury. While his status is still unknown, either his absence, or his limitation, may mean less coverage on the Pats tight ends. With Henry showing greater prowess in route running, he looks like the better choice for the fantasy start this week.

Nick Folk vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Listed as a sit ‘em last week, Folk recorded three fantasy points against the Cowboys. However, I like him to rebound in the stat sheets, as a matchup against the Jets is favorable. Their defense has given up the second-most points per game to opposing kickers, and Folk beat them for 13 points in Week 2.”

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Patriot Maven Analysis:

Folk has been one of the most consistent point-scorers for the Patriots this season. Despite not attempting a field goal last week against the Cowboys, the 36-year-old has been nearly perfect on field-goal tries this season making 14of 15 attempts in 2021, as well as 40 of his last 41 dating back to last September. Therefore, Folk is usually a sure bet as a fantasy start. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Folk continues to be listed on the Patriots injury report with a left knee injury. Though the Pats veteran kicker is not expected to miss Sunday’s game, the lingering injury may take its toll when it comes to his effectiveness. Also, the Pats signed rookie kicker Riley Patterson to their practice squad, to lighten Folk’s practice workload, as well as serve as insurance if he is unable to suit up in the near future.

Patriots D/ST vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“New England was listed as a sit ‘em against the Cowboys last week, but an upcoming matchup against the Jets makes this defense a prime streamer. Defenses have averaged the most points when facing the Jets, who have committed nine giveaways and allowed 18 sacks and 57 quarterback pressures.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

In the previous matchup between these two teams, Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson tossed four interceptions, in a dismal performance which led to a 25-6 loss to the Patriots. Still, many of Wilson’s miscues were the result of his throwing to well covered receivers, rather than the patented confusing looks that Bill Belichick has been known to provide rookie quarterbacks. While that may sound like a reason to sit the defense, it is actually just the opposite. The Pats have struggled with coverage over the last two weeks, but match up well with the Jets skill position players, and are likely to get their stops. Should they tighten their run defense, the Pats preventive unit should be primed for a big day on Sunday.

‘Sits’ of the Week

Jakobi Meyers vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Meyers had a decent performance last week in a loss to the Cowboys, and it could have been better had he not had a touchdown catch nullified. Unfortunately, he’s still a tough sell for me against a Jets defense that has allowed no touchdowns and the fewest fantasy points per game to receivers lined out wide. New York's stingy pass also held Meyers to just 7.8 points in Week 2.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

While Meyers continues to be among Jones’ most targeted receivers, Fabiano makes an excellent point. Despite their struggles, the Jets defense is very much adept at preventing receivers, who are lined out wide, from being productive. Young corner Bryce Hall could see time opposite Meyers, which could limit his productivity. However, it is worth noting that the Jets secondary ranks 17th in allowing 249.4 yards per game and has yet to intercept a pass in 2021.

Corey Davis at Patriots:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Davis and the Jets are fresh off a bye, but a matchup against the Patriots won’t make him an attractive option in fantasy leagues. Their defense has been tough on receivers lined out wide, as it’s allowed just three touchdowns and 21.5 fantasy points a game. New England also shut Davis down back in Week 2, limiting him to two catches for eight yards and a mere 2.8 fantasy points.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

With the Patriots secondary coming off of one of their most woeful performances on the season against the Dallas Cowboys, conventional wisdom would say that Corey Davis would be in line for a strong showing on Sunday. However, the Patriots' defensive modus-operandi has always been to take away their opponents’ most valuable weapon. For the Jets, this means Corey Davis. Cornerback J.C. Jackson was excellent in his coverage against Davis in the first meeting. Unfortunately for the Jets, Wilson did not yet possess the accuracy or preparation to look elsewhere for answers. On Sunday, the rookie should have greater confidence to seek other offensive options such as Braxton Berrios, Elijah Moore and Jamison Crowder. Still, look for Davis to remain adequately covered.

Jonnu Smith vs. Jets:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Smith continues to disappoint in fantasy land, scoring fewer than seven fantasy points in all but two of his first six games as a member of the Patriots. He’s seen just four combined targets in his last two games, and New England has used Hunter Henry more often in the passing game. In fact, just 45 percent of Smith's snaps have resulted in a passing play this season. Keep him on the sidelines.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Though fans and media alike have been less than enamored with Smith’s output, the talented tight end is on the cusp of a breakout game; and it may be this Sunday against the Jets. Look for the Patriots to move Smith around the formation to create favorable matchups in both the running and passing games. He will align not just on the line of scrimmage, but split out wide or in the slot as well. Lastly, Smith should be expected to see some looks as a carrier out of the backfield. Sit Jonnu Smith at your own risk, this weekend.