The 2017 New York Jets should be a great fantasy team…to stream defenses against.
2016 Review: The 2016 Jets fantasy value was something to forget. Of their top three players in fantasy drafts, that were all top 25-ish players overall (Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Matt Forte), all three were easily considered busts by the end of the year. The Jets did produce the 12th best rushing game and the 25th most productive passing offense, so they weren’t the very worst offense overall. But the only relevant player by the end of the year was Bilal Powell who averaged 5.5 per carry in 2016. With the Fitzpatrick holdout blowing up in their face, some reported locker room meldowns, and many stars going down with injuries, the 2016 Jets were an excellent team to make jokes about. They were also arguably the most disappointing team in 2016 after being a fairly productive offense in 2015.
2017 Changes: There were not many positive changes regarding fantasy output this offseason for the Jets and the Browns thank them for this (since everybody is now making Jets jokes instead). Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Clady are all gone. The only semi-significant addition to the offense was Josh McCown. When you sign McCown that means three things. 1) You get an experienced “kindergarten teacher” as Todd Bowles said himself. 2) You want a lottery pick next year. 3) You get an excellent rate on moving your furniture (because he moves a lot). In all seriousness, nobody signs McCown at this stage in his career because they want to “win now” and make no mistake about it. The Jets are creating cap room and looking to their possible future talent this year.
2017 Outlook: It seems crystal clear that the Jets desire a QB for the future, but they didn’t see that guy in the last draft (and obviously don’t have much faith in their current ones). With many interesting pending free agents at QB in 2018 and a potential high pick in the draft, the Jets are tanking this year to acquire that guy next year or at least have some cap space to use to build for the future. The real gameplan here is trying to build a competitive team by 2023 when hopefully Tom Brady is retired. As for this season, the Jets will likely start three different QBs, shift to Bilal Powell as the uncontested top back, and hopefully find a reliable target to lock in on as well. In other words, the Jets are a dumpster fire within a dumpster fire.
Most Reliable Fantasy Player: Bilal Powell is ironically the most reliable player on this team, but he’s technically not the starter on most fantasy website’s depth chart as of today. The Jets invested in Powell when they inked him in 2016 for a 3 year deal earning nearly $12 million dollars. He’s also the preferred passing option out of the backfield with 58 catches last season. Powell also averaged 1.8 more per carry than Forte on the ground last year (5.5 vs 3.7) as well. Oh and in his final four games, Powell averaged 138 total yards per game. Look to snag Powell in the 7th round or the mid-to-late 20s at RB making him a possible flex play to start the year that could end up being a very solid RB2 by season’s end.
Biggest Potential Bust: Of course this leaves Matt Forte as the RB you don’t want to own in New York. In the final two months of 2016, the former Bear only saw more than 13 carries in a game once. Typically an excellent player out of the backfield, Forte only had three or more catches twice in 2016. Although Forte may be considered the Jets starting RB, he’s not worth taking in the top 35 at the position this season. With a high likelihood the Jets are playing for a lottery pick, he shouldn’t be featured much in the second half of the season either considering his age and unlikelihood to be on the team next season.
Best Sleeper: The Jets actually have (or should I say had?) two gifted young wideouts in Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. Enunwa has been ruled out for the season, so that leaves Anderson who may need to deal with a suspension. Anderson was the preferred wideout late in the season seeing over ten targets in two consecutive games in December and scoring nine or more fantasy points in three out of his last five games. Anderson is more of the deep threat than a reliable route runner, so we shall see what develops in this passing game. With Marshall and Decker gone, somebody will need to see those targets and obtain those garbage time catches. The only problem is receiving passes from possibly three different QBs in 2017.
Overrated Sleeper: Whether you prefer Enunwa or Anderson, don’t draft Austin Sefarian-Jenkins who picked a terrible time to give up drinking. McCown has had some success with TEs in the past, but how long will he play for and can ASJ finally overcome his terrible route running and drop issues? ASJ has always disappointed in the sleeper category and I don’t really care if he’s lost 30 pounds and is improving his public image. ASJ could offer a little value down the road, but I’d prefer to wait and see what he does rather than wasting a draft pick on a guy that’s never consistently delivered. Currently, there are at least 25 better options at TE.
Most Intriguing Fantasy Factor: The QB trio of shittiness is the clear winner. There is no guarantee that McCown will be the man from day one. He’s competing with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg for the dishonor. Petty seems like the safer bet of the two QBs under 50 years old to play, but with a QBR rating under 20 last year (3 TDs and 7 INTS) he seems about as promising a longterm answer as McCown does. That leaves Hackenberg, who reportedly was killing babies with his errant passes into the crowd at minicamp. With that being said, he’s still the best option for the longterm and seems like a safe bet to at least close out the season and seal that lottery pick.
One Surprising Stat: The 2016 Jets were surprisingly not among the very worst in any offensive statistic besides from the most important one – total points. With 17.2 points/game, the Jets bumbled their way to the finish line as one of the worst overall offenses.
One Thing I Was Right About (Last Year): I didn’t like Matt Forte as a low end RB2 option and feared him not being able to close out the season considering his age.
One Thing I Was Wrong About: Pretty much everything else. I wasn’t crazy about Marshall or Decker, but I thought their values were fair. I didn’t think Powell was that much or really any better than Forte either.
Best Pornstar Name: The Jets are lacking in every regard on offense including in the coveted category of “Player Names that Sound Like Porn Stars”. I’ll go with Bilal Powell because he’s the only relevant player they have and he probably delivers that Adam West-esque “Pow!” in the sack.
Final Thought: The Jets’ greatest loss this offseason was Jessie James Decker.