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2022 Player Outlooks: N.Y. Jets

By Nick Caron | 7/13/22 |

Zach Wilson

QB Zach Wilson
(2021 QB Rank Ė No.30, 15.0 FPts/G)

2021 No.2 overall draft pick Zach Wilson had a rough start to his NFL career, leading the Jets to the fifth-lowest total points scored and just four wins while personally reaching 250 passing yards just twice all season. In fact, Wilson failed to reach even 200 yards through the air in over 50 percent of his games. Certainly, the team came in with low expectations, but itís hard to make the case that Wilson showed us much to be excited about regarding this franchise. Worse yet, despite a lack of yardage through the air and only throwing nine touchdowns, Wilson also threw 11 interceptions. Needless to say, Wilson was the worst of both worlds: no real high ceiling games and some truly horrendous floor games.

While his 11 interceptions were not a good number, a true red flag for Wilson is that he was actually lucky to only have thrown that many. There were countless other times when Wilson threw the ball into coverage and the defender just failed to come up with the ball.

The Jets did add a veteran tight end in C.J. Uzomah and wide receiver Garrett Wilson in the first round of the NFL Draft, while only losing Jamison Crowder in free agency. Overall, this is probably a weapon upgrade for Wilson at least in the long run, but itís still a group of relatively unproven players with a quarterback that looked downright awful at times as a rookie.

Wilson did show off some decent mobility late in the season, but heís unlikely to contribute a ton of fantasy points in that category. His four rushing touchdowns were a number that helped boost him up a bit in the overall fantasy rankings, although he didnít show any breakaway speed or particularly impressive elusiveness as a runner.

This all sounds very negative, but if youíre looking for some positivity it probably comes in the form of relative job security. With only Joe Flacco on the roster and no real prospect of being a playoff contender in 2022, itís hard to believe that the Jets will move on from Wilson even if he has another terrible season. Wilson should remain the starter for the Jets at least through 2022 as long as he remains healthy. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, the upside just isnít here and he really shouldnít be owned in anything other than deep leagues where youíre starting more than one quarterback per week.

RB Breece Hall
(2021 RB Rank Ė N/A)

The top player in most rookie fantasy drafts, running back Breece Hall is probably the only player in this Jets offense who we should have any real excitement about going into the 2022 season. Hall was a mega-producer during his three years at Iowa State, accumulating nearly 4,000 rushing yards and scoring 56 total touchdowns before declaring early for the draft. Hall will have to compete with Michael Carter who was not particularly special in his rookie season of 2021, but does have a leg up in terms of experience and heís still young in his own right.

Whatís likely to happen in 2022 is that Hall and Carter begin the season by splitting the backfield in a relatively equal timeshare. In an offense thatís not expected to be very good, that type of situation can lead to some real frustration for fantasy managers. If youíre drafting Hall, understand that you might not get what youíre hoping for him until at least a few weeks into the season, if not something like halfway through the year. Weíve seen this type of situation play out so many times in recent years, even with players like Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor who are among the best pure runners in the league. Most NFL coaching staffs just do not allow their rookie backs to see a full workload right out of the gate and it often times leads to those players not reaching their full season potential as rookies.

If you do end up drafting Hall, youíre going to want to stay the course with him. Heís a player you do not want to trade given the upside that he does have if he does end up becoming the teamís bell cow back. You canít panic if he starts off slow. If you donít land him in the draft, however, youíll want to pay close attention to his usage patterns throughout the season. If you start to see his snap counts going up while he hasnít yet broken out in fantasy points, thatís the time when you want to strike with a trade on your unsuspecting and frustrated leaguemate.

The Jets offense isnít one that we should be expecting an elite fantasy running back to come out of this season, although all that it takes is the trust of the coaching staff for a stud talent like Hall to start delivering weekly RB2 fantasy numbers with some RB1 weeks mixed in when he gets into the end zone.

RB Michael Carter
(2021 RB Rank Ė No.29, 8.6 FPts/G)

Dynasty managers who roster Michael Carter were dealt a devastating blow this offseason when the Jets drafted Breece Hall with the 36th pick in the NFL Draft. The teamís decision to draft Hall is, unfortunately, a strong indication that they donít see Carter being their long-term solution at running back. There have been times in the past, such as Seattleís backfield of Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson, where weíve seen teams invest early round picks in running backs only to have a player already on the roster hold them off for years, but those situations are few and far between. Typically, when a team drafts a running back with a premium pick, that back is eventually going to be given every opportunity to show his worth.

For Carter, preseason usage is going to tell us a ton about how the team currently views him. If heís on the field for the majority of the first team reps with Zach Wilson at QB, then fantasy managers can feel confident that heíll at least start the season in a timeshare with Hall, or potentially even as the teamís top back. In that scenario, Carter could have some early season value and wise managers could reap those benefits before trading him away to some naive manager who doesnít see the writing on the wall. While offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur hasnít really been a coach whoís given any one back a true ďworkhorseĒ role in the past, itís also worth considering that heís never really been tied to a back who has the physical tools and upside of Breece Hall. Thereís a reasonable chance that Carter is phased out of the offense or becomes just a complementary back by the midway point during the season and thereís almost no chance that he develops into a truly valuable fantasy piece without an injury to Hall in conjunction with a general improvement in his own performance.

Carterís price isnít significant as heís being selected in the double-digit rounds of most drafts and heís really a player who fantasy managers should be drafting if he looks like heíll be the top back in the offense to start the season. Even then, though, you should be looking to offload him early in the year before youíre left holding the bag.

WR Elijah Moore
(2021 WR Rank Ė 46, 8.7 FPts/G)

Rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore was dropped into a terrible situation in 2021 as he joined a bad Jets team with a new coaching staff and a seemingly in-over-his-head quarterback behind center. As should be expected, Moore started the season off slow, catching just nine passes through his first five professional games. From that point on, however, Moore really showed the type of explosive playmaking ability that should have fantasy managers intrigued heading into 2022.

Moore went on to catch 34 passes for 453 yards and five touchdowns over his final six games before he suffered an unfortunate quad injury that would end his rookie season. We certainly canít take that six-game sample size and simply extrapolate it out, but a would-be 900-yard, nearly double-digit-touchdown season has fantasy managers excited about the second-year receiver heading into their drafts.

Moore is currently being selected around the likes of DeVonta Smith, Hunter Renfrow and Amon-Ra St. Brown who are all also relatively young players who significantly outperformed Moore in the 2021 season. Like Moore, they all also saw their teams add at least one significant wide receiver to their roster, whether it was through the draft or free agency. The difference between Moore and these players, however, is that Moore provides explosive upside that the others have not yet shown throughout their careers. Certainly, the other players could be argued as more reliable and less risky, but if any of them is going to break into the top 10 of fantasy receivers here in 2022, the chances are pretty strong that itíd be Moore.

WR Corey Davis
(2021 WR Rank Ė 62, 8.1 FPts/G)

After multiple horrible seasons in Tennessee, Corey Davis finally broke out with the Titans, catching 984 yards and five touchdowns in an injury-shortened season. This performance came at the right time for Davis who then signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Jets that contained huge guarantees. He then proceeded to step on the field for his new team and look a lot more like the Corey Davis of old than the one we saw in 2020. Davis played in just nine games, but caught just 34 passes for 492 yards and four touchdowns in his first season for New York.

At 27 years old, Davis is just now approaching his physical prime, but heís still only produced one season with over 900 yards and heís never exceeded five receiving touchdowns. Now competing with 2021 second round draft pick Elijah Moore and 2022 top-10 pick Garrett Wilson for targets, things are not looking particularly great for Davisí prospects of ever reaching that elusive 1,000-yard mark. Without an increase in targets, which heís unlikely to see as the offense continues to add more talent, Davis will likely spend most of this upcoming season floating around the bottom of fantasy rosters and on the waiver wire, waiting to be picked up as a bye week replacement for managers in need. Heís the kind of player who can produce some decent fantasy games from time to time, but heíll also drop total duds on a fairly regular basis and that makes him very difficult to start in traditional leagues.

WR Garrett Wilson
(2021 WR Rank Ė N/A)

The Jets invested heavily in revamping their offensive weaponry in 2021 when they brought in Corey Davis and then drafted Elijah Moore with an early second-round pick, but they werenít done yet. This offseason saw New York use a top-10 pick on Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson who went for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior for the Buckeyes before declaring for the Draft.

Wilson brings an interesting skill set that should allow him to get on the field right away. Unlike most collegiate receivers, Wilson was moved all around the field, spending time both outside and in the slot throughout his three years in one of college footballís most productive offenses. His versatility is certainly one of his strongest assets and the NFL is trending toward prioritizing those types of wide receivers. Wilson is a big play threat with strong hands and while he lacks top-level route running, he has the ability to turn short passes into big gains which is exactly what the Jets offense needs given Zach Wilsonís questionable accuracy.

Heís more of a dynasty asset than someone who fantasy owners should be excited about for 2022, but an injury to Moore or Davis - both of whom missed significant time in 2021 - could mean every down work for Wilson, which would certainly boost his fantasy value. This isnít expected to be a high-volume passing attack, though, so donít invest a top-100 pick on him in seasonal leagues.

TE C.J. Uzomah
(2021 TE Rank – 17, 5.0 FPts/G)

Longtime Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah had the most productive season of his career in 2021 when he connected with Joe Burrow for 49 receptions, 493 yards and five scores, all of which were career highs. The Bengals opted to not re-sign Uzomah, however, and the tight end now finds himself in New York with the Jets, helping to bring some veteran experience to an otherwise extremely young and inexperienced group of offensive playmakers.

Uzomah was not the only tight end that the Jets brought in, however, as they also signed former Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin to a deal. Conklin signed a three-year, $20.25 million contract with $10 million guaranteed, which is a little less than what Uzomah got at three years, $24 million with $15 million in guarantees. This discrepancy isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things so we shouldn’t be completely certain that Uzomah is going to be the top tight end on the roster, but teams typically give us some pretty good insights into their thinking when they make financial decisions like these.
Realistically, this is probably going to be a committee approach at the tight end position which isn’t going to give us much fantasy value. Sure, Uzomah might see more targets this year, but what’s that going to give us? 40 catches? This is a situation to avoid in a bad offense with better, younger pass catching weapons out wide.

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