The New York Jets are one of those teams that won’t excite many readers or investors in Fantasy Football. I started this series covering Jacksonville and Washington. I want to highlight a couple of critical points that I made at that time:
Be mindful not to ignore a team with unfavorable – or what we assume to be unfavorable situations.
*Introducing one or two new external variables can create a fantasy gold mine out of what was previously a vacuum – a new offensive coordinator, an upgrade to an offensive line, or a scheme change to make an impact. Sometimes, hidden internal variables such as the addition of a veteran that change the locker room, or the trading of some random quarterback for a 2nd rounder can shake things up and create a volume “vacuum” in a new place.
*There is the added benefit of expanding your comfort zone by becoming familiar with players – and teams – that you usually have on your (un)conscious “no draft list.”
Have a basic understanding of how probable is it that you could be right – or wrong – when you look at any team’s landscape.
New York Jet Wide Receivers of note for comparison:
- Robby Anderson – 6-3, 190 lb
- Quincy Enunwa – 6-2, 225 lb
- Jermaine Kearse – 6-1, 209lb
- Terrelle Pryor – 6-4, 228 lb
Player ADP comparison – Dynasty Outlook (courtesy of Dynastyleaguefootball)
The Projected Target Number is based on three things 1) projection totals from 2015-2017 (both years from pro football reference), 2) projections from 4for4.com, 3) Catch Rate % from 2017.
State of the New York Jets “Union” to consider:
New Offensive Coordinator: Jeremy Bates
It’s always interesting when a new coordinator is introduced. Sometimes there’s a period of adjustment. Other times the change provides an immediate boost in production. According to Warren Sharp data and statistics, one of the most significant barriers in 2017 under previous OC Johnny Morton was that the Jets were insanely predictable. Insanely predictable usually means insanely inefficient. Based on data collected, they ran 50% of the time on first down when trailing, and they had only a 36% success rate. The NFL average was 63% passing when trailing. New York wasn’t terrible last year – they just were awful at adapting to game script. They trailed in only 7 of the 16 games they played last year but had a 34% success or worse in the 2nd half of games on 2nd and 3rd downs.
Exit Stage Left:
There is a target vacuum based on last years’ players exiting. Jalin Marshall, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (74 targets), Jeremy Kerley (27 targets), Matt Forte (45 targets) account for most of this. I think of all of these players, Seferian-Jenkins will be the only one who is missed. Because Seferian-Jenkins’ replacement is Clive Wolford (115 targets in 3 years at Oakland), there is a significant volume ready to be absorbed by “someone.” As far as Forte, It is likely that the trio of Isaiah Crowell/Bilal Powell/Elijah McGuire (when healthy) will share and absorb his targets.
Ease of Schedule:
According to Warren Sharp’s statistics, New York has the 6th easiest schedule this year and the 10th softest slate of Pass Defenses in the league. That schedule is fantastic if the Jets decide to indoctrinate Sam Darnold with experience quickly. Even if he sits and learns behind McCown for a bit, they are going to be able to run their offense significantly better than last year.
New Captains Running the show: In 2018, Sam Darnold and Josh McCown will control the reins. A couple of things to note here, McCown is a cerebral player, and his ability to move in the pocket and avoid mistakes brings stability to the passing game. Veteran leadership should help Darnold transition into a stable pocket presence that the Jets have sorely missed. McCown’s playerprofiler metrics are comparable to Darnold in physical attributes. Darnold’s speed scores are slower than McCown’s, but using game tape, and wonderlic scores, Darnold has the look of a quarterback who understands how to control and read the field.
1) Sam Darnold looks like he could be Josh McCown’s son. Don’t believe me? Check this out, but fast forward to the 44-second mark. This may be just a bit of cosmic karma, telling us that everything is going to be alright.
2) Darnold and McCown should be able to pound throws on the outside to Robby Anderson and whoever lines up on the other side with accuracy. I mention this later, but Anderson and Enunwa have never had the most efficient catch rates. All the blame can’t fall on their shoulders. If Darnold/McCown can target both consistently, and even get some much-needed help from the running game, the efficiency of this offense may surprise.
3) A healthy Enunwa is a beast in the slot. If he’s a check-down option, wait for his targets to fly. I cover this a little bit later, but his combination of speed and size will lead towards a reliable presence that a rookie quarterback must have.
4) Bryce Petty, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Geno Smith are safely outside of punching distance, pun slightly intended. This is very telling. The legitimacy of a true lead QB1 for the Jets has been lacking to a point where it has been difficult to appreciate the actual output Anderson, Kearse, Brandon Marshall, and Enunwa gave over the past two years. I believe this year that changes.
Draft Capital of each player:
Usually, Draft Capitol Plays a huge role in how invested a team is in a young, unproductive wideout (hello there, Corey Coleman). In this case, New York is merely evaluating what they have. They have a large amount of cap room, and very little invested in their current Wide Receivers. Robby Anderson stands in as an Undrafted Free Agent (more due to off-season troubles than talent), Enunwa was a 6th round pick (2014), and Pryor was a supplemental draft pick way back in 2011. Kearse and Pryor are bridge players that will likely be jettisoned from the roster next year.
Robby Anderson – 2018 cap $633,334, Restricted Free Agent 2019
Quincy Enunwa – 2018 cap $2,914,000, Unrestricted Free Agent, 2019
Jermaine Kearse – 2018 cap $5,000,000, Unrestricted Free Agent, 2019
Terrelle Pryor – 2018 cap, 4,500,000, Unrestricted Free Agent, 2019
According to Over the Cap, New York is 17th in Spending in 2018 for Wide Receivers. That number is mostly due to the expiring contracts that Kearse and Pryor carry as insurance. In 2019, the Jets are next to last in contracts guaranteed, barely over the Giants (knock knock, Odell Beckham Junior extension time!). 2018 is a big, big evaluation year for the Jets. The team will have tons of money to spend next year, and if they have gotten the right quarterback of the future, plenty of places to spend it.
Probability of reaching projections for each Player: (According to ADP and Projections)
Quincy Enunwa: Current Cost 13th round Dynasty pick)/19th round Redraft
Chances of reaching Projections: Most Often: 80-95% Likely.
Look, nobody can predict health. Yes, neck injuries are scary, and I don’t think there are too many more unpredictable or unsafe injuries to try to come back from. That injury risk factors into this projected outlook. But Enunwa looks great, minus his current nagging thumb injury. The Jets have been rotating him into team practices and keeping him fresh. If he’s rotating in the slot and outside, I can see him having as many, if not more, targets than Robby Anderson.
Enunwa has the opportunity to be a WR1 for the Jets, and that is what the Jets are evaluating him as. One other thing to keep in mind. He is a freaking BEAST at 6’2 and 225 pounds. Check out Enunwa’s PlayerProfiler.com metrics. What is exciting is to see his speed score in the 96th percentile, along with that size. His best comparable is Josh Gordon, who Enunwa has a higher speed score metric (96th percentile to 85th percentile), at comparable height/weight metrics. Enunwa should also function as an important safety valve if Darnold is leading the show. So if he is being selected as a 13th round Dynasty pick? Shut the Front door and get out of town – that’s value! Take a look at some of his highlights below:
Chances of reaching these projections: About Even – 40-60%
Jermaine Kearse has seen an increase in targets since 2015 when he was in Seattle. It’s difficult to project Kearse having an extreme increase in targets, even with more opportunity. Kearse also has the most efficient catch rate of all WRs on the Jets Roster, with 72.1% in 2015, 46.1% In 2016, and 63.7% in 2017. I don’t think Kearse will be a safety valve by any means for anyone, and I’m not sure if the targets will be there. If they are, he at least has been efficient in making them count. If you pay for a 20th round draft pick, you could do a lot worse than Kearse. He’s a pretty safe gamble, even if the projections feel too high.
Robby Anderson: Current Cost 9th round Dynasty/9th round redraft
Chances of reaching these projections: Very likely – 90-98%
I have no idea if Anderson will be suspended or not for some of his off the field antics. Assuming he is not, Anderson already looks to have a great rapport with Sam Darnold in two days of training camp. Robby Anderson is also in a contract year. A restricted Free agent after this year, if he plays close to projections, then he is in the market for a big contract at 25 years old. I can easily see him reaching 110 targets. What’s fantastic about 2018 is that he finally should have some quarterbacks who can help his efficiency, so those targets are meaningful. If his efficiency goes up, which I am betting on given the improvements at quarterback, he is going to have an outstanding chance of beating the projected numbers and being a bargain in the 9th round.
Terrelle Pryor: Current Cost 18th round Dynasty/ 20th round redraft
Chances of Reaching Projections: Likely, Probable (60-85%)
We talked about health as a factor, but Terrelle Pryor just shed a walking boot a couple of weeks ago, and um…he just said that he doesn’t feel good very often. Taking this in stride, Pryor still has reasonable projections. If any other wide receiver gets hurt, (and Pryor stays healthy), then he is going to get more than 47 targets. Pryor should also be able to be efficient with those targets, given the stability of McCown, and talent of Darnold. As an 18th round Pick, he’s worth gambling on. Given that he is gambling on himself with a 1-year contract, he could turn out to have long-term value in the next three-year window.
Conclusions: Dynasty Outlook
Robby Anderson: His current cost in Dynasty price based on Average Draft Position is the most expensive but the short and long-term return are fantastic.
Quincy Enunwa: If he is healthy, the price that he has is ridiculous. Fantasy players have forgotten about 2016. Use that to your advantage.
Jermaine Kearse: He has the safest floor of any of these players with his efficiency. I’m not sure what to expect from him this year, but Kearse has the opportunity to be a very short-term sneaky buy.
Terrelle Pryor: We talked about health, but Pryor is an amalgamation (I love that word) of circumstances that makes him a player to avoid. Pryor has an injury history. He’s older (29), with a checkered history of production. He comes with extreme highs and extreme lows that make it hard to rely on him consistently. Pryor does provide a chance for you to bank on his production from two years ago, just as Washington tried to do last year. If he steps in and starts producing, you should be able to generate a fair return based on his history in Cleveland and his athleticism. He is someone that I would hold and sell.
Buy: Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa – Both have a lot to prove this year. But if they can live up to their talent, I would prefer to be a buyer now: the rewards in 2019 and beyond should be profitable.