Matt Schauf of RapidDraft.com stops by once a week to talk individual defensive players, “IDPs” for those in the know.
This week’s Jets contest could be more so, however, from an IDP standpoint, as the team faces a second straight AFC East rematch.
When last the Dolphins met the Jets back in Week 3, things were so different that Chad Henne was still the starting quarterback for Miami. Darrelle Revis was but a rumor, keeping his island private because of a hamstring injury. Mark Sanchez was in the middle of a three-game stretch designed to trick us into believing he had arrived as a fantasy quarterback. (Exactly where one arrives in that scenario has yet to be determined.)
The quarterbacks each surpassed 250 yards in that game and combined for five touchdown tosses. The Jets defensed just five of Henne’s 44 pass attempts. Sanchez made it through the game without being sacked, one of just two times he has done so all year. Neither supported special value among opposing IDPs in that meeting, but there’s reason for optimism in spots.
In his triumphant return as the starter against Oakland, Henne tossed just one interception and had only three passes defensed overall. Last week, though, the Browns had their hands all over his balls. (Wait, I didn’t mean …) Cleveland broke up 12 throws in all and picked three. CB Joe Haden defensed four passes himself, and LB David Bowens got to three others.
Sans Revis in the first meeting, the Jets broke up just five of Henne’s 44 pass attempts. If he throws anywhere near as often this time, expect different results. More breakups would obviously help the New York corners, though they each remain risky for stat purposes. Safety Eric Smith is worth a look, though. He didn’t do much in the first Miami game but has posted consecutive strong outings since returning to the starting lineup: nine solo tackles in Week 12; seven tackles (six solo), a sack and a pass breakup last week.
Going the other way, the Jets sit in the middle of the league in terms of passes broken up by defensive backs, but only one team has allowed more breakups by opposing linebackers. That stat becomes even more noteworthy (wait, it was noteworthy in the first place?) when you consider that New York ranks just 20th in the league in pass attempts per game.
Karlos Dansby hasn’t done much the past two weeks, but he posted a solid eight tackles (seven solo) the last time out against the Jets, and the pass numbers provide potential big-game fodder. Beyond the breakups (also the working title for my Van Halen biography), Sanchez has thrown at least one interception in seven straight games after opening the year with five pick-free outings.
Outside of Dansby – literally and figuratively – there’s also room for Cameron Wake to have a better game than last time. It should be easy for him to outdo a performance that included just one tackle and no sacks, but Wake has also produced a sack in his past three outings – totaling 5.5 in his past five games. Sanchez has been sacked at least twice in seven of his past eight games, and the potential absence of RT Damien Woody certainly wouldn’t help the protection.
Matt Schauf is the senior football writer for RapidDraft.com and the brains behind (or would that be inside?) the “Suit” character in their free fantasy football game. Draft against him and 10 other fantasy Pros in RapidDraft Weekly every week (hence the name).