NEW YORK JETS VS OAKLAND RAIDERS
The New York Jets (9-6) control their own destiny after holding off the Miami Dolphins' fourth-quarter push in Week 16 to win the game 13-10. As one member of the KFFL staff said: the Jets go as quarterback Chad Pennington goes. Pennington had a decent game last week, and although he probably won't receive any consideration, who's to say Pennington isn't worthy of some votes for the Most Valuable Player award? The Jets lack a consistent running game, and Pennington has put the team on his shoulders with 3,195 passing yards and 16 touchdowns against 16 picks. He'll have his hands full this week with the Raiders' stifling pass defense.
PASSING MATCHUP: QUARTERBACKS
Pennington opened up the Dolphins secondary with 237 yards and one score on 14-for-29 passing in Week 16. Pennington has been a modest fantasy player this year with a couple of really good games. He has averaged 255 yards, 1.3 touchdowns and 1.3 interceptions per game over the last four weeks. Pennington makes a last-resort play as your No. 1 quarterback this week, and he's a weak play.
As mentioned, the Raiders have been solid - especially against the pass. They are only allowing 155 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks. They have picked off one pass per game and recorded 2.8 sacks alongside it.
RUSHING MATCHUP: RUNNING BACKS
Running back Cedric Houston (calf) was inactive for Week 16 after taking over as the team's featured back the past few weeks. He was limited in practice Wednesday, so stay tuned for updates on his status. He has been utilized in 22.3 plays per game over the last month for 24 percent of the offense. In those three games, he was targeted 4.67 times per game in the red zone for 31 percent of the offense. Two of those red zone plays per game were from inside the 5-yard line. He averaged 69 yards and one touchdown per game. If he plays, he is probably a No. 2 or a No. 3 running back and is a strong play.
Running back Kevan Barlow received the bulk of the work last week but managed just 36 yards on 18 carries. That was his first action in the last month. Those 18 touches accounted for 7 percent of the offense over the last month. He had four touches inside the red zone for 9 percent of the offense. If Houston plays, we think it's safe to say Barlow will not play. Barlow is probably a weak No. 3 running back this week if he plays and is a strong play.
Running back Leon Washington was the lucky recipient of a 64-yard reception last week that inflated his numbers. He had just 26 yards rushing on six carries and four catches for 108 yards. Washington has been targeted on 9.8 plays per game for 14 percent of the offense over the last month. He has received one look per game for 9 percent of the offense in the red zone during that stretch. As far as production goes, he has averaged 32 rushing yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game while receiving 41 yards through the air over the last month. He'll make a decent No. 3 running back this week and is a strong play.
The Raiders have struggled against running backs the last month. They have allowed 136 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game on the ground. They are allowing just 20 yards and three receptions to backs through the air.
RECEIVING MATCHUP PART I: WIDE RECEIVERS
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles a non-factor last week and has been inconsistent the last month. He had just two catches for nine yards after a 12-catch, 144-yard and one-touchdown performance two weeks ago. He took a hit to the chin last week that knocked him out, but he returned to the game. So his poor showing was aided by that factor. Coles has been targeted on 8.5 plays per game for 12 percent of the offense and two plays per game (17 percent) inside the red zone over the last month. He had one look overall inside the 5. He has averaged 5.3 catches, 62 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game over the last month. Coles makes a good No. 2 receiver this week, but he is a weak play.
Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery has come of age this season and had another strong performance last week. He had four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown last week. This brought his monthly averages to six catches for 61 yards and 0.5 touchdowns. He has been targeted in 10 plays for 15 percent and three red zone plays for 26 percent per game over the last month. He has received 0.5 looks per game inside the 5. Cotchery is a weak play as a good No. 2 receiver this week.
Wide receiver Justin McCareins has had two modestly good weeks in a row with a long catch each week. Last week, he caught a 42-yard pass and finished with two catches for 47 yards. He has averaged 1.5 catches for 37 yards per game the last month. He has been targeted in 3.5 plays per game for 5 percent and just once total inside the red zone for 2 percent of the red zone offense. McCareins isn't worth a roster spot.
Rookie wide receiver Brad Smith caught one pass for 12 yards last week and has just been targeted on two plays per game the last month for 3 percent. He isn't worth a roster spot, either.
The Raiders have allowed 15 receptions and 110 yards per game to wide receivers over the last month. They've allowed just 0.8 touchdowns per game during this time as well.
RECEIVING MATCHUP PART II: TIGHT ENDS
What happened to tight end Chris Baker? He started the year promising to be a decent fantasy option and has been nothing more than a lucky spot play. He caught four passes for 50 yards and a score a month ago, which skews his numbers. In the last three games, he has 61 yards on seven receptions and no scores. He has been the target of 3.8 plays per game (5 percent) and 0.5 per game inside the red zone (0.3 per game inside the 5-yard line) for 4 percent of the offense.
The Raiders allowed next-to-nothing to tight ends over the last month. They have allowed 2.5 receptions for 26 yards per game. Be sure to sit Baker this week, because it's unlikely that his lucky performance comes this week.
Place kicker Mike Nugent made two more field goals and an extra point last week after we have told you to acquire him in our Waiver Wire report the last two weeks. Did you listen? We hope so. Aside from making his only field goal attempt four weeks ago, Nugent has been extremely potent making four field goals in Week 12, two in Week 14, four in Week 15 and two last week. He has averaged 2.3 field goals and 2.3 extra points per game the last month. Start him as your No. 1 kicker this week.
The Raiders have allowed 1.8-for-2.0 on field goals and 2.3-for-2.5 on extra points per game over the last month. This puts them in the middle of the pack.
The Jets have allowed 198 passing yards and 127 running yards per game. Their run defense has been a problem all year long. They have garnered 0.8 interceptions and 0.5 fumble recoveries per game. The Jets defense makes for a third-tier No. 1 defense or bench play for Week 17. Thus, better options may be available if you carry two defenses or like to play matchups and pick up defenses off the waiver wire.
The Oakland offense has held the team back all season. They have produced a
weak average of 8.3 offensive points per game (0.5 touchdowns per game) over
the past four games. The Raiders' quarterbacks have been sacked a high average
of 4.3 times per game over the past four games. They have thrown an average
of two interceptions and lost an average of 2.3 fumbles over the same time period.
The Raiders' rushing attack has been weak, averaging 82 yards over the past
four weeks while they have passed for an average of 223 yards per game. The
Jets defense has steadily improved and should be able to dominate the Oakland
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.