Friday, October 23, 2009

77 > 91 + 95 + 93 + 70 + 79 \ 25 ≥ 6

Absence of Jenkins creates HUGE problems, opportunity

Among the thousand points of lowlight that shined this past murky Sunday at the Meadowlands during the Jets' 16-13 OT loss to the Bills perhaps the least illuminating was the injury to nose tackle Kris Jenkins. He left the game and never returned. It was later announced that he is done for the season thanks to a torn ACL in his left knee.

While the hunky QB Mark Sanchez's myriad interceptions may have been first through fifth among the postgame talking points, those turnovers have already done their damage. The injury to Jenkins, on the other hand, will continue to hurt this team in each remaining game. He is a 6-foot-4-inch beast in the middle of the defense. He weighs 360 pounds. He uses his thigh as anvil, could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing. He demands double triple teams! Jenkins used to jog around the block with a fridge on his back! He can control the line of scrimmage as good (and perhaps better) than any player in the game! He wears a live rattlesnake as a condom!

Did I ever tell you about the time he was in a production of The King and I? On opening night, Jenkins chloroformed the entire cast and slowly eats them in front of the audience for two hours! The production got pretty good reviews.

I could go on but I don't think there's a need. You've seen the video. You've heard the stories. He's a defensive football player of Braskyesque proportions. And the Jets are going to use some combination of Sione Pouha (91), Howard Green (95), Marques Douglas (93), Mike DeVito (70) and Ropati Pitoitu (79) to replace No. 77. A four-time Pro Bowler, Jenkins will be missed. Opposing quarterbacks will have slightly more time. Offensive linemen will get to David Harris and Bart Scott a little easier. And running backs won't be engulfed like saplings in a wildfire.

As this helpfully highlighted image from the Jets' Week 4 Game in New Orleans shows, opponents have sent as many as three players to deal with Jenkins. And it generally didn't matter. The Jets' defense held Drew Brees's offense to 10 points. With Jenkins, the Jets defense is very good and occasionally great. Without him? Less so.

All of this means that you should go pick up Raiders running back Justin Fargas off the waiver wire in your fantasy football league. Now. The Jets are visiting Oakland this weekend and Fargas is seemingly the top guy in the Raider backfield. With Darren McFadden out of the picture thanks to a knee injury of his own, Fargas has seen his carries increase each of the last three weeks. Against the Eagles this past Sunday he turned 22 carries into 87 yards and a touchdown. He also threw in one catch for 11 yards.

For those of you not familiar with the work of Mr. Fargas, he's just the guy that has ended being the Raiders No. 1 back in terms of yardage in 2008, 2007 and 2006 no matter who the club drafted or signed to complete that task. The top guy was supposed to be some combination of Lamont Jordan, Michael Bush and McFadden but it was Fargas each time. He's not anyone's idea of an on-purpose starter in the NFL but he does seem to get the job done in a Sammy Morris sort of way when given the chance . On Sunday, he'll face a Jenkins-less Jets' run defense. The Raiders will have every reason (although the only reason they need plays quarterback for them) to want to establish the run. And to actually believe they can. During a week when so many NFL teams are on a bye, Fargas is just the plug-and-play guy to get you decent yardage and hopefully a score.

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