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Matchup: Jets vs. Cardinals

Evan Silva
Evan Silva breaks down matchups for all fantasy-relevant players on the Week 2 slate

Monday Night Football

NY Jets @ Arizona
Vegas Projected Score: Cardinals 27.25, Jets 19.25

Fresh and rested after nearly two full weeks off, 36-year-old Carson Palmer will look to get his season on track against a pitiful Jets pass defense that has allowed top-15 fantasy quarterback finishes in each of its first five games, including consecutive top-four efforts to Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger. Despite a talented front four, Gang Green ranks 30th in the NFL in sacks over the last month (5) and managed one hit on Roethlisberger in last week's blowout loss to the Steelers. The Jets are a textbook pass-funnel defense, stamping out running games and getting flamed by the pass. You start quarterbacks against them without any questions asked. ... Gang Green stymied Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams (21-66-0) on the ground last week, but still gave up 154 total yards to Bell. It's a good blueprint for what we should expect from David Johnson against a Jets defense yielding the eighth most receptions (28) in the league to running backs. Johnson has exceeded 110 total yards in each of the first five weeks and is averaging a touchdown per game. It's notable that Johnson ranks third on the Cardinals in red-zone targets (5) but has yet to hit pay dirt through the air. We should see him score a receiving TD shortly. ... Andre Ellington is stash worthy in deeper season-long leagues with Chris Johnson (I.R., sports hernia) out of the picture. Ellington now has a clear path to feature back duties if something happened to David and could become an every-week difference maker in that scenario.

Palmer's target distribution this season: Larry Fitzgerald 36; John Brown 33; Michael Floyd 29; Johnson 21; Jaron Brown 12. ... Running over 70% of his routes at slot receiver, Fitzgerald (6'3/225) is in prime position to eat against inconsistent Jets slot corner Buster Skrine (5'10/186), who has given up touchdowns in back-to-back games to Sammie Coates and "Tanner McEvoy." Always a strong bet to hit pay dirt, Fitz ranks second in the NFL in targets inside the ten-yard line (6). ... Smokey Brown is a hot-fire Monday night play. The Jets have given up the NFL's sixth most 20-plus-yard completions (19) and second most of 40-plus yards (8), while 4.34 burner Brown has led Arizona in receiving (6-70, 10-144) in each of Palmer's last two starts. Brown is essentially this week's version of Sammie Coates with better, healthier hands. ... Melting down in his contract year, Floyd has devolved into a third-receiver timeshare partner with Jaron Brown, who has out-snapped (57%, 46%) Floyd (44%, 33%) in two straight games. Even in gorgeous matchups like this one, Floyd can only be viewed as a boom-bust dart throw. In chronological order, Floyd's target totals the past three weeks are 11 > 7 > 3.

The struggling Jets offense heads cross country to the desert, where Arizona's defense ranks fourth in the NFL in quarterback hits (31), third in sacks (17), and first in tackles for loss (35). This is a green-light spot for the Cardinals' D/ST against Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's taken seven sacks over his last two games with nine turnovers in his last three. Whereas Fitzpatrick has a strong 23:11 TD-to-INT ratio in home games since becoming a Jet in 2015, his TD-to-INT ratio falls to 13:14 on the road. Fitzpatrick's fantasy finishes through five weeks are QB22, QB8, QB35, QB27, and QB17. He is nothing more than a low-floor two-quarterback-league option in this matchup. ... The Cardinals held Rams and 49ers running backs to a combined 45-114-1 (2.53 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 4-5. This is a concerning draw for Matt Forte, whose weekly touch totals have descended dramatically (32 > 17 > 16 > 14) since the first two games of the season. Bilal Powell has ten touches in three straight games and has out-targeted Forte 23 to 9 during that stretch. In another game where the Jets seem likely to play from behind and Forte isn't getting enough passing-game usage to compensate, he is best viewed as a low-ceiling RB2/flex option in season-long leagues. Powell is a very viable PPR flex.

Fitzpatrick's targets in Eric Decker's two missed games: Brandon Marshall 27; Powell 17; Quincy Enunwa 14; Robby Anderson 8; Forte 5; Charone Peake 4; Austin Seferian-Jenkins 2. ... Although Patrick Peterson's shadow coverage is a concern, Marshall's target totals are 12 and 15 since Decker went out and Marshall showed the ability to beat a top corner by dropping 4-89-1 on Richard Sherman in Week 4. Mike Evans had a solid game (6-70-1) against Peterson in Week 2. Sheer volume keeps Marshall in the high-end WR2 hunt at worst, even in challenging draws. ... Enunwa's fantasy results have disappointed with Decker inactive, but he has logged snap rates of 94% and 83% and has a significant size (6'2/225) advantage on Tyrann Mathieu (5'9/186) in the slot. 49ers slot WR Jeremy Kerley (8-102-1) delivered a big game against the Cardinals in Week 5. Enunwa is running nearly 80% of his routes in the slot. ... No other Jets pass catchers are playable, but Seferian-Jenkins is worth monitoring. Claimed off waivers on September 26, ASJ needed less than two weeks to earn a game-day jersey, playing 34% of the downs and securing both of his targets for 17 yards against Pittsburgh. The Jets are going to need Seferian-Jenkins in the absence of Decker. He's someone to consider stashing in deep leagues.

Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Jets 17