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Fantasy Football 32: New York Jets

Geno Smith

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

 

It had to be done sooner or later, right? Wait, I don’t actually have to cover the Jets?

Well, see you later.

Okay, all kidding aside, the New York Jets are a professional football team, and thus, must be covered in the Fantasy 32 series. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be 32. It would be like … 31. On paper last year, the Jets had the worst offense in all of football, and it wasn’t really close. However, they addressed that need quite a bit this year, bringing in a running back, receiver and quarterback to add depth. Heading into 2014, the Jets aren’t quite the laughing stock of fantasy football. Nope, that title probably belongs to the Oakland Raiders, who we will get into sometime soon.

As for the Jets? Well, it can’t get any worse than last year, can it?

Depth Chart

Jets Depth Chart

Quarterback

When the Jets selected Geno Smith in the draft last year, they were hoping they had found their franchise quarterback.

They didn’t.

Smith was insanely turnover prone during his rookie campaign, throwing 22 interceptions (3rd-most) and losing three fumbles. He also held onto the ball too long, being sacked 43 times, tied for the 5th-most in the NFL. Dating back to his days at West Virginia, accuracy has been an issue for Geno, and during his first NFL season, he completed just 55.8 percent of his passes. It was a dizzying season for Smith and Jets fans, so the team brought in veteran passer Michael Vick during the offseason. All early signs are pointing towards Rex Ryan giving Geno the first crack at the starting job, but, of course, neither of these guys are very fantasy relevant, especially when you consider how deep the position is. However, it is worth noting that Smith was actually very serviceable towards the end of the season, ultimately finishing the year with five games of 20-plus fantasy points. Using the RotoViz Game Splits App, I looked at his production during the final five contests.

geno splits

 

Smith averaged 18.4 fantasy points per game during the final five games of the season, but his weekly inconsistency was troubling during the course of the season. Just look at his numbers from the first 10 weeks of the season, and it’s no wonder why he couldn’t be trusted in fantasy circles.

Geno Finishes

 

Still, many will probably look at Smith as a streaming option for weeks this season, and I actually understand it. Added weapons and a very favorable schedule, Smith will be nothing more than a streaming candidate for fantasy purposes.

Running Back

Man, if this were Madden 2009, the Jets would be a sweet team to use. Vick and Chris Johnson would make quite the duo. Sadly, it’s 2014, and Johnson isn’t the same runner he used to be. The speed is still there, and he can still break off some big plays. However, long gone are the days of the 2,000-yard rusher, as Johnson ranked 45th out of 47 qualified rushers in yards after contact. Most notably, his decisiveness at the line of scrimmage just isn’t there anymore, and instead of bursting through the hole like he once did, he dances, looking for the 70-yard touchdown. By adding Johnson, the Jets now have their own version of Smash and Dash, alongside the power runner, Chris Ivory. But Ivory is more than just a bruising back. He also has big play ability, as his 50 career carries of 10-plus yards indicates. We know Rex and the Jets want to run the football, so one of these backs, if not both, will have value.

The question is which one?

I foresee a bit of a timeshare in New York, hampering both player’s upside. I think Johnson is intriguing because over the last few seasons, he has really, really struggled during the first six or seven weeks of the season, but then turned it around, ultimately finishing as at least a top-15 back.

2011

2011 CJ2K

2012

2012 CJ2K

2013

2013 CJ2K

Johnson has consistently been a slow starter, but he was never punished because the Titans didn’t have anyone to threaten his playing time behind him. This year, that could change, because if he starts off slow, Ivory will take over.

Wide Receiver

Eric, we’re not in Denver anymore.

Going from the Broncos offense to the Jets is like watching a top notch chef make an incredible meal, and then going to eat at a fast food place. Over the last two seasons alongside Peyton Manning, Decker has finished as fantasy’s number seven and eight receiver, insanely reaping the benefits. Decker has made a big impact by scoring touchdowns. Over the last two seasons, he’s found the end zone a healthy 24 touchdowns, thanks to his 49 red zone targets over the last two seasons, good for a top-three rank among wideouts. In New York, he obviously won’t see those looks, as the Jets offense saw just 2.6 red zone scoring attempts per game last year (26th) and 2.9 in 2012 (21st). Decker can still be drafted as a WR3, but nothing more. The targets should be there, but not all of them will be catchable, and he’ll also be the number one option in the passing game, which means he’ll be facing the opposing teams number one corner for the first time in his career.

Notable CB Decker Faces

Revis (2)

Gilmore (2)

Grimes (2)

Tight End

Finally, the Jets brought in an exciting pass-catching tight end in Jace Amaro, who set a single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end last year with 1,352. He offers upside, of course, but how often will he be utilized? Amaro was rarely asked to block during college, and if the Jets want to run the ball per usual, they’ll need a tight end who can block, and Amaro isn’t it just yet. He’s more of a dynasty asset than redraft.

Adam Pfeifer is a lead fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.