2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 18: Bills 27, Jets 10 (By Ross Jacobs)
The score looks like a blowout, but this game was 13-10 in the 4th quarter. The Bills managed to put it away shortly after and the win was never really in doubt, but you have to give the Jets some credit for keeping it close that long.
The last four weeks we've seen some good growth from the Jets. They hung in with the Dolphins and Bills and nearly beat the Bucs. I do think there is some reason for optimism with them the next couple years. They have a decent foundation in theory with Zach Wilson, Becton, Tucker, and several solid players on defense. Fill in the gaps with a few more smart free agent pickups, hit on a couple draft picks, and you've got yourself a competitive team.
Buffalo comes into the playoffs as a quiet #3 seed. There was a lot of hype about them early in the year before a series of losses, including an embarrassing one to the Jags, sent them tumbling down the ranks. They closed out the season strong with four straight wins, but three of those were against some of the worst teams in the league, the Panthers, Falcons, and Jets.
Their lone really good win this year was an early season smackdown of the Chiefs. They've lost to most of the other good teams they've played although that's only a few teams really. Honestly they've had a rather pathetic schedule looking back on it, and it's a wonder they only won 11 games.
So are they a fake good team? It's really hard to say. They've mostly destroyed the bad teams, and it's possible they just had bad outings against better teams like the Colts and Bucs. I have noticed that physical run-first teams seem to give them lots of problems, and quite frankly McDermott seems to fold in big moments.
I think they are as good as any team in the AFC and could absolutely win the Super Bowl if things fall right, but I doubt I'll be betting on them. I think teams like the Titans and Packers will destroy them.
If they win, it will be because Josh Allen goes full Superman and carries them on his back. I've seen more shaky moments from him this year than I expected. Not sure if it's him or the offense. He has some moments of sheer brilliance so I think maybe he's pressing knowing that he's got to carry the team, a lot like what Mahomes has dealt with this year.
One thing the team could do to help him is let him run more. That would open things up a lot if defenses had to fear him taking off more often.
--It's been a rough first year for Zach Wilson, but that was to be expected. We all knew he was going to a terrible team with no wide receivers and not much in the way of blocking. When he lost Becton for the year there was no hope.
It's far too early to write him off, but I just can't get fully on board with Wilson the way I did with Burrow and Herbert. Wilson has too many things working against him in my opinion.
He's smaller and is already getting banged up far too often for one. He also had the misfortune of being one of the media's hated QB's. I'll never understand how the crowd decides who that guy is going to be, but I know it's Wilson and they'll stop at nothing to tear him down. He also has the misfortune of playing for the Jets. Bad teams stay bad for a reason, and this franchise has shown no ability to change for a long, long time now.
I believe in Wilson's talent no doubt. He could be a very good NFL QB under the right circumstances. But I also don't believe he has transcendent talent like some of the other young QB's. He needs help, and I don't think he's likely to get it.
Maybe things break right and he has a Goff-like resurgence for a few years, but much like Goff, eventually the media will come for him when he falters for even a moment and they'll get league opinion of him shot to hell if it's not already.
I think he's worth holding for another year in deep dynasty leagues if you've got the space, but there are interesting QB's coming into the league every year now. 20 years ago Wilson would have been special, a top 5 talent. These days he's just another pretty good player among many. I don't think he's worth chasing too hard. Besides, his value isn't going higher anytime soon, so we can reassess next preseason and you'll be able to grab him for pennies then if we think a breakout is coming.
--Well it only took the Bills three years to figure out what RC and I have been saying this entire time. Devin Singletary is their best back and it's not even close. 5 TD's in his last four games with at least 1 TD in all each and over 80 yards in three of them. His one down game was against the Patriots where he only got 12 carries but made up for it with 5 catches for another 40 yards. He's averaged 19 carries a game over this stretch.
The man is on fire, and it appears the Bills have finally figured out how to run the ball. Unfortunately, they draw the Patriots again in the first round and I'd expect Belichick to clamp down on the run game again. He'll try to force Allen to stay in the pocket and beat him through the air. Could be a good environment for check downs to Singletary though as we saw last time they played.
Assuming they get past NE and KC handles business with the Steelers, those two teams will match up next, and that looks like a great place for Singletary to have a big game. Do not sleep on Singletary in these playoffs.
--Dawson Knox had another good year, but I don't see any signs of him taking that next leap into the elite TE group. He's pretty good but still a little shaky with his hands at times, and Allen still doesn't go to him often enough to push big numbers. He lives and dies with the TD's. Looks like a TE1 again in 2022 to me but more in the 8-12 range.
--Gabriel Davis made the jump to #2 WR for Buf a few weeks ago and we talked about the transition at the time. He's solid enough, not my favorite receiver, but Allen seems to love him especially around the endzone.
The connection was a bit off here and Davis couldn't seem to shake the sticky Jets corners, thus only 3 catches on 14 targets. That sounds damning that he couldn't beat the Jets, but as I've been saying for quite a while now, I've been very impressed with how tightly the Jets corners stick to people. It takes some brilliant throws to beat them.
I think Davis is fine and could be in for a very nice playoff run. In 2022 he might end up being a great value pick late as a WR2-3 hopeful that people price as a WR4-5.
--I want to see what changes the Jets make in the off-season, but I'm going to be very interested in snagging Michael Carter as a potential sneaky RB1-1.5. We saw what he could do earlier in the year in ppr when Mike White was tossing him so many dumpoff passes. If Wilson could figure out how to do that Carter has some discount-Ekeler ability (discount because the offense won't be scoring that many TD's). The great thing about Carter is he can be part of a rotation and it won't matter so long as he gets his catches.
--Denzel Mims led the team in WR snaps this week after they had been growing for a few weeks now. I still see no signs that he's going to do anything with this team. They don't seem interested in getting him the ball at all. He looks good moving around so I don't know what the problem is. Bet he reunites with Rhule and the Panthers before long.
--One rookie I noticed a lot this year was Greg Rousseau. He has quietly played a large amount of snaps and put together a very nice rookie campaign. I've seen nothing to suggest he's a future star pass rusher, but he fits in perfectly with the rest of the Buffalo defense. He's a big, strong guy that does his job, stays in his lane, and pushes the pocket.
He's probably never going to put up a ton of sacks or get much recognition, especially playing for Buffalo, but he's a perfect role player for a defense that is greater than the sum of its parts.
--Another guy that fits that mold for this defense is Ed Oliver. I did actually expect Oliver to be a star when he first entered the league, but it just hasn't happened. I thought he could be the next best thing to Aaron Donald.
No such luck but Oliver is another Buffalo soldier in the middle. He does his job and that motor never stops. He popped up here on the stat sheet with 4 tackles and 1.5 sacks, but that's more a function of a bad Jets offensive line and Wilson trying to do too much than anything Oliver was doing.
Snap Counts of Interest
75 = Davis
67 = Diggs
42 = Beasley
22 = McKenzie
62 = Singletary
18 = Moss
35 = Mims
34 = Jeff Smith
28 = Cole
24 = Carter
15 = Ty Johnson
10 = Coleman