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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

2018 Player Outlooks: New York Jets

Robby Anderson

Suspension coming? Risk-tolerant fantasy owners looking for upside may want to target Anderson.

QB Josh McCown
(2017 QB Rank - No.16, 20.1 FPts/G)

At 39 years of age and with the New York Jets using the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft to select the quarterback of the future Sam Darnold, Josh McCown enters the 2018 season as a placeholder and mentor for Darnold until the rookie is ready to assume the starting role.

McCown is an excellent locker room presence and exactly the type of player any NFL franchise would love to help groom a young quarterback. It also doesnít hurt that McCown posted a career-year in 2017, setting personal records for touchdown passes (18), passing yards (2926), and completion percentage (67.3). In a season in which many Jet fans anticipated that the franchise would intentionally tank to earn a high draft pick, McCown and the New York passing offense was surprisingly good, especially for fantasy purposes.

The uncertainty surrounding how many games he will start before Darnold takes the reigns makes McCown unworthy of a draft selection in anything other than the deepest two-quarterback leagues. However, should the rookie from USC struggle, McCown has enough weapons in the passing game to once again be a viable streaming option, especially Week 6 at home against the Colts.

QB Sam Darnold
(2017 QB Rank - N/A)

The Jets used the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft to select USC quarterback Sam Darnold, a highly touted young quarterback who presumably will be the face of the franchise for the next decade. At 6í4, 225 pounds, Darnold has the prototypical size and arm strength to be a star quarterback in the NFL. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Darnold completed 67% of his passes, with 3086 passing yards and 31 touchdowns in 13 games for the Trojans. As a sophomore last season, Darnold completed only 63% of his throws and threw four more interceptions, but he logged nearly 1000 more passing yards and increased his yards per attempt.

The Jets will likely begin the season with McCown under center as Darnold continues to get acclimated to the NFL. There is no doubt that the job will eventually be his at some point in the near future, but fantasy owners in single quarterback leagues should wait to pull the trigger until Darnold proves to be a viable fantasy asset.

RB Isaiah Crowell
(2017 RB Rank - No.54, 7.2 FPts/G)

Crowell signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Jets after an uninspiring 2017 season with the Browns. The former Alabama State star rushed for a mere 853 yards on 206 carries, with only two touchdowns on 234 total touches.

Crowell burned fantasy owners last season who bought into the hype of the RB building off a 2016 season in which he nearly reached 1000 rushing yards while scoring seven touchdowns. One narrative for Crowell apologists is the argument that the Browns offensive line was terrible last season with the loss of first ballot hall of fame left tackle Joe Thomas. However, that argument holds little water as the Browns offensive line finished as the No.14 overall unit in run blocking according to

As the first and second down running back for the Jets, Crowell will run behind an offensive line that ranked second to last according to ProFootballFocus in 2017. Also, the former Brown will share the backfield with second-year back Elijah McGuire and veteran Bilal Powell, both of whom are more skilled as pass catchers than Crowell.

Despite the negative factors working against Crowell, the amount of volume he will likely garner at the start of the season makes him an attractive draft pick as a flex, or very low-end No. 2 running back. There is always touchdown upside for a bruising RB who will likely get goal line work.

RB Bilal Powell
(2017 RB Rank - No.33, 8.3 FPts/G)

Powell has quietly been the best running back for the Jets over the past three seasons and a viable fantasy asset while averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game dating back to 2015. Although the seven-year NFL vet has yet to rush for more than 1000 yards in a season or receiver more than 178 rushes in a campaign, he continues to be a reliable flex option with excellent receiving skills.

Despite his success running the ball during that span (4.7 yard per carry average), the New York front office and coaching staff do not view Powell as an every-down back, as evident by the signing of Isaiah Crowell this offseason to a three-year contract. Crowell will be the first and second down back, with Powell acting as the change of pace and sharing passing down duties with Elijah McGuire.

Should Crowell continue to underwhelm as he did last season in Cleveland, Powell and McGuire could see a more active role as the season progresses. Until that occurs, neither player has much value outside of a flex start, and the New York ground game might be better off avoided.

WR Robby Anderson
(2017 WR Rank - No.21, 8.6 FP/G)

Anderson enters 2018 as one of the more attractive third-year wide receivers on the verge of a breakout sophomore campaign in which the former Temple Owl caught 63 balls for 941 yards and seven scores. Not only is Anderson a skilled deep ball threat, but he also established himself as a viable all-around receiver and built a solid rapport with Josh McCown in 2017.

Unfortunately, the skilled wideout continues to deal with off-field issues, including a reckless driving charge in January that could result in a suspension from the league. Without any legal matters, Anderson would be in consideration as a top-24 wide receiver heading into the 2018 season with the ability to reach 1000 yards and double-digit touchdowns. His legal issues and questions surrounding how many games he will play have depressed his value closer to the double-digit rounds, making him an attractive pick for risk-tolerant owners looking for high upside.

WR Jermaine Kearse
(2017 WR Rank - No.41, 6.9 FPts/G)

The Jets signed Jermaine Kearse to a three-year $13.5 million contract in 2017 with the hope that the former Seattle Seahawk would become the teamís No.1 wide receiver. Although Robby Anderson, and not Kearse evolved into the No.1 option for Josh McCown, Kearse proved to be an excellent addition with 65 catches for 810 yards and five touchdowns on 102 targets.

Kearse enters 2018 as the No.2 wideout opposite of Anderson, with Quincy Enunwa returning from a season-ending neck injury and free agent Terrell Pryor vying for targets. With so many mouths to feed in the New York passing game the chance of Kearse posting another 100-plus target season may be far-fetched. However, should Anderson miss time due to off-field legal issues and Enunwa and Pryor fail to garner for action in the passing game, Kearse could be a late-round gem in all formats.

WR Terrelle Pryor
(2017 WR Rank - No.95, 3.8 FPts/G)

Pryor was arguably the biggest bust of the 2017 fantasy season after failing to catch on with the Redskins. Owners salivated at the size and speed combination Pryor brought to the table for a Washington team that just lost two 1000-yard receivers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Injuries and poor play limited the former Ohio State quarterback to 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown - not precisely the type of production owners were looking for from a consensus third or fourth round pick.

As the No.4 wide receiver entering camp on a passing offense that ranked 24th in the league in 2017, Pryorís value has fallen to the point where is he going undrafted in most formats. However, he is a player to keep an eye on should injuries or suspensions open the door for more targets mid-season.

TE Jordan Leggett
(2017 TE Rank - N/A)

A knee injury cost former Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett his entire rookie season. The tight end position appears to be an open training camp battle between Leggett and veteran Clive Walford, as the two players look to fill in the void left by Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Leggett has the size and athleticism to be a solid tight end. However, he has yet to catch an NFL pass, and he may still need time to fully recover from his knee injury. Avoiding the tight ends for the Jets altogether is a smart play until further notice.

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