Usually this post smacks your computer screen in the face on Friday. But we’re rolling ahead with this bad boy a day earlier this week for a few reasons you don’t care about: because I feel like it, because it’s fantasy playoff time in most leagues and you need all your Week 14 hot takes now now now (rankings? we got ‘em), and because the Texans defense might actually stuff Jacksonville in a locker tonight.
More on that fun in a minute, in addition to some Geno Smith laughter. First, let’s circle some wagons.
1. Buffalo Bills @ Buccaneers (percentage owned: 33%)
The Bills don’t play nice with quarterbacks. One might say that its a breed of player they wish to see extinct.
They lead the league in sacks with 43 overall, a rate of hurt which has especially grown over their last four games. That’s a stretch of football when they’ve sacked the opposing quarterback 16 times, six of which came when Matt Ryan crumbled last week.
Even if we take away all the scattered sacks that haven’t come from the front four anchored by Mario Williams (12), Kyle Williams (7), Marcel Dareus (6), and Jerry Hughes (8, though he more often lines up at outside linebacker), the Bills would still be only one sack shy of the top 10 in the primary pass rush metric.
So when you combine that with a fine secondary which has picked off 16 passes (tied for second) and a not great but less than horrible run defense with fringe defensive rookie of the year candidate Kiko Alonso up the middle (121.5 average per week rushing yards allowed, but with only seven touchdowns), it’s difficult to understand why the Bills defense is so widely available. That gets even more true when their primary weakness — again, the run — is pretty easy to look past for fantasy purposes because fake points mostly come through sacks and turnovers, and the opportunities for a defensive touchdown which are created through, yep, sacks and turnovers (the Bills have scored three defensive touchdowns).
Now this quiet defensive machine is headed to Tampa, where rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is pretty much a stationary tall stone. Against a similarly vicious Panthers pass rush last week (second with 39 sacks) he went down five times, and that pressure forced a normally careful Glennon into an interception, one of only five he’s thrown over 290 pass attempts.
Even more appealing, Glennon has been sacked 26 times in total over his nine starts this season, and 11 have come over just the past two weeks.
2. Houston Texans @ Jaguars (percentage owned: 57%)
Unfortunately for them, the Jaguars have been playing a smidge better offensively of late, which has sadly led to wins in three of their last four games. But that improvement is just a tiny, tiny bit of almost nothingness, and it’s highlighted by a Week 12 win in which Chad Henne had a season high completion percentage (71.9), and ditto for his passer rating (93.1).
Also unfortunately, that game was against the Texans, the object of our affection right now and tonight during a game that will test your dedication to being a true degenerate. But nevermind that.
While it would be nice if that game wasn’t in our recent memory, we only care about it a little bit right now, and we care even less about the result. What we care about is the fact that Henne has thrown for even just 250 yards three times in his nine starts, and he’ll now be attempting to advance forward against a defense giving up only 187.9 passing yards per game. What we care about is that the Jaguars are averaging a league low 4.5 yards per play, which has led to only 16.4 first downs, 14.5 points, and 17 total touchdowns.
That last number is the best number, as the Jags have failed to score even a single touchdown in three games, all of which have been at home.
3. Oakland Raiders @ Jets (percentage owned: 30%)
Normally, there would be little to enjoy here with this Raiders secondary if it was assigned to defend a quarterback with even remote decision-making ability, field vision, or accuracy. So, you know, basic quarterback skills.
Luckily Geno Smith has none of those things, or at least he hasn’t lately. Not even a little, as he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Week 7, which isn’t at all something I’m making up. That’s a stretch of 130 pass attempts without any scoring whatsoever. For some great comedy, let’s note that on the extreme opposite end of the scoring spectrum is Peyton Manning’s 19 touchdown passes since Week 7, and Nick Foles’ 13.
Of course, that’s just the beginning of Smith’s rookie year of woe which makes any opposing defense a must stream right now. He was yanked last week for Matt Simms at halftime after being completely wayward on every dropback, and tossing (that word has never seemed more appropriate) for just 29 yards at a pace of 2.9 per attempt.
That per attempt rate has been atrocious over his past three games since the Jets’ Week 10 bye, a time when — in theory — a rookie should learn…things. Since Week 11 Smith’s YPA is resting at 4.0. Let’s do the comparison thing again, because that was fun: if Smith had maintained that per attempt average throughout the entire season, he would currently be behind every quarterback who’s started a game this year except for Josh Freeman, and even a few who haven’t but still threw a fair chunk of passes in garbage time appearances (HI, Matt Barkley).
All of that has led to lots of juicy turnovers, with 23 in total from Smith, an average of one every 15 drop backs. Yummy.