As the mercury rises and we inch closer to the open of training camps, our resident fantasy football sickos, Brad Evans and Liz Loza, will profile their favorite booms/busts of every NFL team. Today’s topic: The New York Jets.
The Jets are, undoubtedly, in a rebuilding phase. So which young player has the most BOOM (return on investment) potential this fall?
Brad – TERRELLE PRYOR. No matter how bizarre the plot lines are in “Westworld,” I simply can’t quit the show. The same applies to Pryor.
My abominable failure of a man-crush from 2017 is looking to bounce back after his horrendous stint with Washington. Only a year removed from a 1,000-yard campaign with Cleveland, I like his chances of profiting for fantasy purposes. Unlike his time with the ‘Skins, it’s reasonable to think he’ll be properly utilized in New York and entice far more than the 13.9 percent target share he saw last season.
Though Robby Anderson should reclaim his status at the Jets’ top option and with Quincy Enunwa in the mix, Pryor (202.3 ADP, WR81) has respectable odds of duplicating or exceeding what Jermaine Kearse achieved in green last year (102-65-810-5, WR41), assuming he locks down a starting role in training camp.
Liz – QUINCY ENUNWA. The neck injury is an obvious red flag, but he’s making progress and is expected to participate in OTAs. The Jets need him. Full stop. Emerging in 2016 (with a 34-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick under center), Enunwa managed a 58-857-4 stat line. While those numbers don’t wow (WR40), he did flash after the catch (365 yards) and converted 80 percent of contested catches.
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Jacksonville, Robby Anderson facing a potential suspension, and Terrell Pryor learning another playbook, Enunwa remains New York’s most seasoned and solid pass-catching option. A WR/TE hybrid, the Nebraska product brings size and physicality to the slot. He could also work as a security blanket for a young and developing quarterback… which is particularly beneficial this year.
On the flipside, which player should owners avoid like a vat of homecrafted Fireball?
Liz – ROBBY ANDERSON. Looking like a young Chad Ochocinco, Anderson was a target hog in 2017, averaging over 7 looks per game. A top-fifteen fantasy wideout, the Temple alum was one of the league’s most surprising breakouts. But his production waned significantly without Josh McCown at the helm.
Obviously, Sam Darnold is a better prospect than Bryce Petty, but Anderson is a player who clearly needs direction. With question marks at the QB position, facing possible disciplinary action, and given the addition of Terrell Pryor it’s unlikely Anderson will be given the same number of opportunities in 2018.
Brad – ISAIAH CROWELL. Matt Forte may be sipping umbrella drinks somewhere in the Caribbean, but Crowell isn’t likely to suddenly morph into a reliable RB2 taking over as New York’s primary early-down RB. His 1.55 yards created per carry tallied last season with Cleveland certainly stood out, but he finished outside the position’s top-20 in yards after contact per attempt (2.6) and total evaded tackles. Most appalling, his 0.57 fantasy points per opportunity didn’t even crack the RB top-100.
With Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire also involved, the Jets’ offensive line, which ranked No. 31 in power run-blocking last season, in question and realizing the strong probability Sam Darnold will start the majority of the season, Crowell is a sleep-inducing pick in the middle rounds (102.4 ADP, RB39). Targeting Powell, especially in PPR, nearly 40 picks later (148.7 ADP) is far more sensible.
With SCOTUS plunging a dagger in PASPA let’s start a line on Sam Darnold’s rookie outing. OVER/UNDER 5.5 starts for the greenhorn QB?
Brad – OVER. HAMMER! Josh McCown predates the combustible engine. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater, despite his remarkable recovery, is combustible and a complete wildcard. What does that mean? Darnold, barring a face plant in training camp or the Preseason, will start Week 1 in Detroit. Bank on it.
Overall, Darnold should only be selected in 2QB, dynasty or very deep re-drafts. He does possess the size, arm strength and touch needed to develop into a quality passer, but he tended to force intermediate throws into tight spaces last season with the Trojans, a gunslinger mentality which led to occasional turnover problems. That carries over and his growing pains will throb.
Among this year’s first-year options Baker Mayfield or, for those that find multidimensionality irresistible, Lamar Jackson, are more worthy of a roster spot.
Liz – OVER. The Jets current starting QB happens to be a vet who has gushed about mentoring greenhorn signal callers, and is astutely plotting his next career move to a coaching position. Turning 39-years-old this July, there’s no way McCown stays healthy for an entire 16-week season. In fact, he’s only managed two 13-game seasons in his 15-year career (2004, 2017).
There’s no longer a need for him to gut through a cascade of injuries. Once he gets dinged enough, he can heroically transition to teacher-mode, while helping Darnold work through his “elongated release.” That all happens well before Turkey Day, ensuring plenty of Darnold jerseys are purchased in time for the Holidays.