Booms, Busts, Breakouts & Bets: New York Jets
As the mercury rises and we inch closer to training camp openings, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Derek Brown, profile their favorite Booms, Busts, Breakouts and Bets for every NFL team. Giddy up, gamers. Today’s topic: The J-E-T-S.
Fantasy Football Booms - Jets
Michael Carter, RB
The newest addition to the Jets' backfield is set to soar behind an improving offensive line that should transition seamlessly to a zone-heavy system. New York added Alijah Vera-Tucker to a group already consisting of Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern and Alex Lewis. Last season among 213 offensive linemen with 100 or more run-blocking snaps, McGovern (37th), Lewis (39th) and Becton (53rd) all finished among the top 55 linemen in zone run-blocking grades per PFF.
Carter's Sonic the Hedgehog-like agility (98th percentile) will excel in Mike LaFleur's rushing scheme. Last year at North Carolina, 56% of his rushes were on zone concept plays. LaFleur helped oversee a San Francisco offense ranked 11th, 2nd, and 14th in rushing attempts over the last three seasons, so the rushing volume will be there for the taking. Last year's fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine and castoffs Tevin Coleman, Josh Adams and Ty Johnson are easy obstacles to hurdle on his way to a top-24 fantasy running back season. — Derek Brown
Michael Carter, RB
The Robin to Javonte Williams’ Batman at North Carolina, Carter played the role of unheralded sidekick at the collegiate level. Though he wasn’t a main character, his toolbelt displayed impressive gadgets, routinely levying BOOMS! and POWS! on the competition.
An Oompa Loompa Maurice Jones-Drew type in frame, the 5-foot-8, 205-pound rusher uses his low center of gravity to his advantage. Highly elusive, contact balanced, deceptive, explosive and sure-handed (83.3 catch percentage in ‘20) he thrived with the Tar Heels whether on inside or outside runs. Last fall, he finished inside the top-eight nationally in broken tackles per 100 touches (4.5) and yards after contact per attempt (4.47). More impressively, his 29 carries of 15-plus yards led all Division I.
New York’s marginality at the RB position outside Carter paves the way for instant touches. If he picks up protections quickly in training camp, he could emerge as a 14-16 touch per game contributor. Behind an upgraded offensive line, he could step in and pay a mid-range RB2 dividend in 0.5 PPR formats. This summer expect his ADP (RB40, 107.1) to rise with the mercury. — Brad Evans
2021 Fantasy Football Busts - Jets
Zach Wilson, QB
On the surface, the baby-faced Wilson looks like your everyday maître d’ at any number of Salt Lake City Outback Steakhouse locations. Unequivocally, he’s a talented kid blessed with a Howitzer arm, but jumping from BYU to the NFL will not be without its fair share of bumps. Yes, he’ll be a stream-only option in standard formats, but for those superflexers in attendance, going the extra dollar for the youngster isn’t recommended. However, gamblers should give the OVER 3,800.5 pass yards a long, hard look.
Wilson’s future with the Jets is bright. Added speed on the roster combined with enhanced o-line bulk point to fruitful down-the-road gains. Still, there’s a significant learning curve. His 250- to 300-yard rushing appeal raises the floor, but Trey Lance and Ryan Fitzpatrick are smarter targets for the discount QB crowd. — Brad Evans
Zach Wilson, QB
From Patrick Mahomes' comparisons to Chipotle orders, fantasy gamers are being set up for heartbreak this season with Wilson. He could struggle out the gate to pay off on the hype on several avenues. The Jets could look to limit his passing volume behind a porous pass blocking line, making the leap from small school superstar to the bright lights of the big apple. I know it sounds strange considering how much I professed love for their run-blocking abilities, but George Fant, Lewis and McGovern allowed pressure or hurries on 8.5% of their pass-blocking snaps last season. New York ranked 29th in adjusted sack rate allowed.
In an offensive scheme that led to 20th, 29th and 16th rankings in pass attempts the last three seasons, Wilson's upside is capped, and he doesn't have the wheels to make up for it rushing. His mobility's been praised, but for a quarterback that's never surpassed 254 rushing yards in any collegiate season, it's being overstated. NFL Draft hype has Jedi mind tricked many. This is not the fantasy quarterback you seek. — Derek Brown
Fantasy Football Breakouts for the Jets
Denzel Mims, WR
After having his rookie season derailed by hamstring injuries that cost him six games, Mims is primed to show off his top-shelf athleticism this year. If Mims' body wasn't betraying him, then Jets' quarterback play was. He suffered through the inadequacies of Joe Flacco and Sam Darnold, seeing a catchable target rate that ranked 107th (57.8%) in the NFL.
Gase's prodigy passers bungled throws at all levels of the field, but it was most apparent on deep shots, which accounted for 29.6% of his target volume. Mims showed the ability to separate in the short and intermediate areas, logging a 65.5% catch rate on throws 0-19 yards from the line of scrimmage. If New York's passing concepts hold any resemblance to the 49ers', he will see more short passes in space this year from Wilson. Mims is a yards-after-the-catch powder keg waiting to explode in 2021. — Derek Brown
Elijah Moore, WR
Moore moves with the quickness and shiftiness of a sugar-fueled toddler. He may be small in stature (5-foot-8, 185 pounds), but his spirited play shouldn’t be underestimated. Capable of racing past opponents in the blink of an eye, he showcases the speed, reliable hands, evasiveness and route savvy to make an instant impact. On 101 targets last season with Mississippi, he posted terrific positive percentages whether versus man (78%) or zone (75%) coverages. Additionally, he finished top-20 nationally in YAC per reception (6.1) and yards per route run (2.1).
Jamison Crowder is a hurdle for the rookie, but he has all the qualities to develop into a premier slot weapon sooner rather than later. If he and Wilson immediately click, it’s possible he overtakes the veteran or pushes him for playing time. It’s also possible Crowder and his exorbitant salary are sent packing come cut-down time. Whether on intermediate routes or long bombs Moore is equipped to gash defenses. Oozing with upside for dynasty league crowds, he’s a top-flight late-round stash in 12-team yearly leagues (WR66, 172.6 ADP). — Brad Evans
Best Bets for the Jets 2021
(Use the FTN Prop Shop to uncover the best lines across legal sportsbooks)
New York Jets OVER 6.5 Wins (+127, DraftKings)
The Jets face six teams with projected win totals of 7.7 or lower, so asking for a surprise notch in the win column versus the Denver Broncos or Tennessee Titans could carry them over this line. — Derek Brown
New York Jets +4.5 Week 1 at Carolina (-113, DraftKings)
The Sam Darnold Bowl may be on par with a ‘thrilling’ postseason college football tilt between middling Sun Belt/Conference USA teams, but for those with interests in Jersey, it holds a special meaning. Bank on the revamped Jets to hang tough versus a rather bland Panthers D. — Brad Evans