Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee: A Foxboro Fantasy Fight to the Finish

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIJanuary 16, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots scores an 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against Drew Coleman #30 of the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Divisional Playoff Weekend Matchup:  New York Jets (12-5) at New England Patriots (14-2)

Rankings based on top nine QBs, 17 RBs, 29 WRs and 13 TEs

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New York Jets (12-5)  

Opponent Final 2010 Defensive Ranks

New England Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 30th (259 Yds/Gm) - TDs Allowed T-21st (25)

New England Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 11th (108.0 Yds/Gm) – TDs Allowed T-10th (10)


New York Jets Offensive Cast


Mark Sanchez (QB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 8)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 278/507 – for 3,291 yards, 17 TDs & 13 INTs

It’s unreal how many things Dirty Sanchez has working against him this weekend. First, his shoulder is still less than 100 percent. Second, he plays terrible in the cold weather. Third, his right tackle was just lost for the season. Fourth, he’s thrown two TDs compared to seven interceptions over his last seven games (including last week).  And finally, the mental hurdle he’ll have to climb after the beat-down the Patriots gave him in Week 13 is enormous.

Basically, I’m not expecting much this Sunday afternoon, but crazier things have happened and usually do with Rex Ryan running the show.

LaDainian Tomlinson (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 6)

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Final 2010 Season Stats: 219 carries for 914 yards & six TDs || 52 receptions for 368 yards & zero TDs

The Jets may have split the workload between Tomlinson and Greene last Saturday, but they ended up getting LT21 two TDs by putting their faith in the 10-year veteran around the goal-line. Expect more of the same against the Patriots this week as the Jets will have to win the time-of-possession battle if they want to win this game.

Shonn Greene (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 9)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 185 carries for 766 yards & two TDs || 16 receptions for 120 yards & zero TDs

Greene will get his fair share of carries and could end up with some decent numbers in this one, but with the Jets deciding to go with Tomlinson around the goal-line, his fantasy potential is limited to the possibility of him breaking off a long TD.

Santonio Holmes (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 6)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 52 receptions for 746 yards & six TDs

New York looked Santonio’s way quite a bit their last game against the Pats getting him seven catches for 72 yards on 12 targets. When the Jets DO pass the ball this Sunday, I expect them to feature him much the same way. Because Sanchez is still sporting a bum shoulder, Holmes should see a bunch of quick slants and screens to offset his lack of arm strength.

Holmes has always been a big-game player and will be one to watch this fantasy weekend.

Braylon Edwards (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 13)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 53 receptions for 904 yards & seven TDs

Sanchez’s arm is too weak at this point to heave it downfield to Braylon like he normally does, so unless he can actually catch a few balls on his crossing patterns, don’t expect too big of game here.

Jerricho Cotchery (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 22)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 41 receptions for 433 yards & two TDs

Jerricho gets his targets by being the most dependable wide receiver on the team.  With the Jets wanting to control the clock this Sunday, Cotchery could see a few more balls than normal flying his way, but the likelihood of him causing a fantasy stir is still pretty close to zero.

Brad Smith (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 25)

Final 2010 Season Stats: four receptions for 44 yards & zero TDs || 38 carries for 299 yards & one TD

Smith’s groin is still a bit banged up so he’s not expected to be used very often this weekend. If he’s able to return kickoffs, he’ll have a slight chance to create some havoc, but don’t expect him to do much out of the Wildcat formation. 

Dustin Keller (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 5)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 55 receptions for 687 yards & five TDs

Keller had the most targets on the team last week with nine, most likely due to Sanchez’s inability to throw the ball downfield with any sort of accuracy at this point.  He’ll get his targets again this Sunday so at least he’ll have a chance to put up some numbers.

New England Patriots (14-2)  

Opponent Defensive Ranks

New York Jets Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 6th (201 Yds/Gm) - TDs Allowed T-19th (24)

New York Jets Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 3rd (90.9 Yds/Gm) – TDs Allowed T-12th (11)


New England Offensive Cast


Tom Brady (QB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 2)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 324/492 – for 3,900 yards & 36 TDs & 4 INTs

Alright, so Brady’s streak of multi-TD, zero-INT games sits at nine going into this game.  What are the chances of him continuing this insanity? Normally I’d say pretty good considering he torched the Jets back in Week 13 to the tune of four TDs, 326 yards and no INTs. However, Rex Ryan and the Jets will be much more prepared this time around.  Because the Jets will be trying to control the clock, Brady will have less time to put up crazy numbers like he did in the game before.

Don’t get me wrong, because if there is such a thing is a sure bet in the playoffs, it’s that Tommy Bundchen will get the job done. Just don’t expect the same sick display he put up last time.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 1)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 229 carries for 1,008 yards & 13 TDs || 12 receptions for 85 yards & zero TDs

The Jets have a tough rush D for sure, but that hardly stopped the Firm in their last battle. Everyone knows to expect the unexpected with Bill Belichick, so just when the sporting world thinks its Brady’s time to shine, watch the Pats coach call on his hard-nosed RB to lead the way. One touchdown is nearly a given, but I’m expecting even more this Sunday afternoon.

Danny Woodhead (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 7)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 97 carries for 547 yards & five TDs || 34 receptions for 379 yards & one TD

Danny Woodhead should be a household name by this point. Period. Everybody knows the story of how the Jets released him after one week of play this season and that the inter-division Patriots signed him less than a week later. Others may realize that the listed 5'8", 195-pound (both generous) running back rattled off almost 1,000 total yards and six TDs in just 14 games as well.

Whatever the case, Rex Ryan has to be pretty bummed out for letting the little guy go and I expect nothing less than for Belichick to rub it in this weekend.

Fred Taylor (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 17)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 43 carries for 155 yards & 0 TDs || two receptions for six yards & zero TDs

Taylor is a complete afterthought at this point and won’t see more than maybe a few touches in this one. 

Wes Welker (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 2)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 86 receptions for 848 yards & seven TDs

The Slot Machine grabbed all seven of his targets last game against the Jets and turned them into 80 yards with a touchdown. I'll be surprised if he goes for anything less than that this weekend regardless of who the Jets stick on him.

Deion Branch (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 8)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 61 receptions for 818 yards & six TDs

If the Jets put Revis Island on Branch in this game, Deion won’t be able to do a thing this weekend. If Revis gets put on Welker like he was for most of their last game, then big-game Branch should be able to come up with a bunch of catches and some good numbers for Brady on Sunday.

Brandon Tate (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 21)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 24 receptions for 432 yards & three TDs

Tate has had more than one catch in a game just seven times this year and isn’t getting enough targets to do much damage, even with a streaking Mr. Bundchen tossing him the pill.

Rob Gronkowski (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 1)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 42 receptions for 546 yards & 10 TDs

Gronkowski was the best tight end in the NFL over the last quarter of the season so it would be tough to rank him number one here. However, in the Patriots two games against the Jets this year, Gronk put up a grand total of just two catches for 26 yards and zero TDs. The reason why is because New England needs his size along the line to guard against the Jets pass rush, so even though he’s playing out of his mind right now, he may only catch a couple of balls on Sunday… with one of them going for a TD of course.

Aaron Hernandez (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 3)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 45 receptions for 563 yards & six TDs

Hernandez was actually the Pats tight end putting up the best numbers against the Jets this season combining for nine catches, 152 yards and a TD in their two matchups. With Aaron being the smaller TE between he and Gronkowski, New England would rather release him and his pass-catching skills into the secondary than have him stay in and block.  The strategy has worked so I expect good numbers out of him, but you never know what Belichick has up his sleeve.


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