Jets vs Browns Fantasy Start/Sit: Garrett Wilson, Joe Flacco, Jerome Ford, More

Jets vs Browns Fantasy Start/Sit: Garrett Wilson, Joe Flacco, Jerome Ford, More article feature image

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Garrett Wilson.

The Browns will look to stay hot and clinch an AFC Wild Card spot on NFL Thursday Night Football against the visiting Jets. The story of this game revolves around the renaissance of quarterback Joe Flacco as he vies for NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

For fantasy football purposes, the entire outlook of Cleveland's offense shifted for the better when Flacco took over in Week 13. Kevin Stefanski has entrusted Flacco with the keys, dialing up more than 40 pass attempts in each of his four starts. The overlap of fantasy managers who have Amari Cooper on their roster and those reading articles like this one is undoubtedly quite high after an unforgettable performance in Week 16.

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Cooper and David Njoku must be locked into your starting lineup given the current state of the Browns attack. Cooper has been targeted on 29.2% of his routes with Flacco under center. However, it will not be nearly as easy going this week as the Jets have surrendered only one touchdown to a boundary wide receiver the entire season. Cooper is lined up as an outside receiver on more than 80% of his snaps, so while you're starting him if you have him, it is fair to temper expectations.

Teams have targeted their tight ends at the seventh-highest rate against the Jets defense, according to Sharp Football. New York's defensive strength lies on the outside of the formation, thus teams must often try to attack with its tight end. With nine or more targets in six of his last seven games, Njoku has one of the few coveted fantasy roles at the position.

For the Jets offense, only one player makes the list of fantasy starters without a second thought.

Breece Hall is second in the league in target share at the position, behind only Christian McCaffrey. You can easily make a case that the negative gamescript benefits the Jets running back in all formats. Keep him in your lineup as an RB2 or flex despite the lack of projected rushing yards.

Let’s dive into the rest of the fantasy relevant skill players in Jets vs Browns below.

Jets Week 17 Start/Sit

WR Garrett Wilson

Wilson has the third-highest target share of any receiver this season, earning more than 30% of all targets for the Jets. That has not translated to production given the putrid state of the Jets’ passing attack as Wilson is outside of the top 25 fantasy receivers this year. In a matchup against the vaunted Browns defense, it is unlikely he is going to move up those rankings this week.

Cleveland is the top defense at defending opposing WR1s, according to DVOA. In this particular metric, the gap between the Browns and the second-best team (New England) is the same as the gap between No. 10 and the Patriots. It's truly remarkable just how dominant the Browns have been against WR1s.

Calvin Ridley, Nico Collins, Cooper Kupp, D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton, Diontae Johnson, Marquise Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Ja’Marr Chase have each been held to under 65 yards and no scores by the Browns secondary.

Industry rankings for Week 17 have Garrett Wilson ranked as a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3 heading into what is the most important week of the season for many fantasy managers. I, on the other hand, have Wilson outside of the top 35 at the position and I am strongly recommending you look elsewhere.

Wilson has finished as a top-12 receiving in a given week only once this season and I just don't believe he has the type of upside you will regret fading.

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Browns Week 17 Start/Sit

QB Joe Flacco

In one of the more unlikely, impactful late-season quarterback waiver pickups you’ll ever see, Flacco has entered the conversation as an every week fantasy starter. As mentioned above, the volume has been consistent and the production has followed with multiple touchdown passes in each of his four starts.

The Jets represent the stiffest test of Flacco’s comeback by a wide margin. Thus far, he has taken on pass defenses that rank outside of the top 10 in DVOA (Jaguars: 15th; Bears: 18th; Rams: 21st; Texans: 27th). New York's defense ranks third in DVOA against the pass and has a matching ranking in yards per attempt allowed. Only three times in 15 games has a quarterback accounted for multiple passing scores against the Jets.

For as hot as Flacco has been, when adding more context to his numbers, I am proceeding cautiously against one of the best pass defenses in football. Keep Flacco on the bench unless you find yourself without another top-15 option at the position.

RBs Jerome Ford & Kareem Hunt

It is likely one of these two will find the end zone — the challenge is figuring out which one.

Due to the sheer volume of rushing attempts the Jets have faced this season, they have surrendered 11 rushing scores despite being one of the better scoring defenses.

New York has the sixth-best efficiency on defense inside the red zone, and when the field is condensed, it becomes even harder to complete passes. That means we should see ample opportunity for Hunt and/or Ford, or a more likely scenario of an even split.

Hunt has the edge when it comes to red-zone work over the season’s entirety, but he is almost completely touchdown dependent. Ford outsnapped Hunt 35-31 last week and possesses the ability to churn out yards more effectively in between the 20s. With that said, I am not rushing to get him into my lineup.

Both Ford and Hunt rank outside the top 20 at running back, but due to the potential volume of rushes in a positive gamescript, Ford would be the recommended flex play of the two.

I would play Ford over the likes of Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, Tyjae Spears and Gus Edwards, but would opt for any other back with a more secure workload like Ezekiel Elliott, Ty Chandler or Javonte Williams.

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