QB Sam Darnold – As a two-year starter for USC, Darnold passed for 7,229 yards with 57 TDs and 22 Ints. Sam has a good feel for the pass rush with the ability to slide in the pocket to create a longer passing window. He won’t be a running threat, but Darnold can convert scoring plays at the goal line and extend drives with his legs. If given an open field, he’ll take the long run. Most of his throws came out the shotgun. He has vision and the ability to locate his secondary receivers with quick decision making. He throws the ball well on the run while needing to improve his spiral when rushing his throw under duress. Darnold will trust his arm to make tight throws in coverage. At age 20, he looks poised to have a long career in the NFL. In 2018, Sam should get an opportunity to start many games. However, New York has a poor offensive line and a below average offense. In his first season in the league, Darnold projects to be more of a game manager on a team that wants to keep game score in line. I don’t see him starting in Week 1 and when/if he gets a starting opportunity, he will be a below par Fantasy option.
QB Josh McCown – In his 15 teams in the NFL, McCown has a 23-50 record with a boring completion rate (60.4) and a poor TD to INT ratio (97:78). Despite his poor resume, Josh played the best ball of his career at age 38 for the Jets behind a weak offensive line and questionable receiving talent. McCown completed a career-high 67.3 percent of his passes in 2017 with 18 TDs and 9 Ints. New York will give him a chance to win some games out of the gate, but the future of the franchise will steal his job at the first sign of trouble. Low upside in TDs with no upside in playable value in 2018 in the season-long games.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – After a nice season for the Vikings in 2015, Bridgewater looked on the verge of being an upside ball control QB. A preseason knee injury cost him his starting opportunity and the last two years. When at his best, Teddy had an 11-5 record in Minnesota while completing 65.3 percent of his 447 passes for 3,231 yards with 14 TDs and nine Ints. He also ran for 192 yards on 44 catches with another three TDs. His age and upside may point to him offering more to the Jets than Josh McCown as a starting QB in 2018 until Sam Darnold is ready to seize the job. Even with talent, Teddy has to prove he’s over his injury. Just a player to follow over the summer.
QB Christian Hackenberg – Over three seasons at Penn State, Hackenberg completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 8457 yards with 48 TDs and 31 Ints. His completion rate declined in each season in the college, which isn’t a great sign for his development long-term in the NFL. With no clear answer at QB headed into the draft in 2016, New York invested in Hackenberg with their second-round pick. He has NFL size (6’4” and 223 lbs.) and arm strength with solid quickness and speed. Christian shows the ability to read defenses pre-snap with the skill set to make all NFL throws. His biggest liability is his accuracy. Hackenberg needs to improve his mechanics while improving his ability to move within the pocket to limit the damage in sacks and turnovers. He will need time to develop, which puts him in line to be a long-term backup in New York.
RB Isaiah Crowell – In each of his four seasons in the NFL, Crowell saw his carries rise (148, 185, 198, and 206) while starting 32 games over the last two years. He scored 19 rushing TDs in his first 48 games, but only two TDs over a full season in 2017. Isaiah has never had over 1,000 yards rushing in a season. His pass catching ability showed growth in 2016 (40 catches for 319 yards), but Duke Johnson was the primary receiver in Cleveland over the last the last three years. In 2017, the Jets ran the ball 383 times for 1,523 yards and eight TDs. Their RBs caught 82 of 109 targets for 678 yards and one TD. I expected to have a similar role as his last two seasons with the Browns. At best, Crowell will see about 250 combined touches with about 25 coming in the passing game. He opportunity projects to about 1,100 combined yards with five to seven TDs. Weak third RB option for a Fantasy owner in PPR leagues while being projected for about ten Fantasy points per week.
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RB Bilal Powell – Over the previous two seasons before 2017, Powell was at his best late in the year as a high-volume pass-catching back with early down chances after an injury to Matt Forte. Fantasy owners expected more upside out of him last year with a better path to playing time. Bilal did set a career high in rushing attempts (178), rushing yards (772), and TDs (5), but the Jets failed to get him involved in the passing game (23/170). In 2015 and 2016, Powell caught 105 of 138 combined targets for 776 yards and four TDs. His game isn’t explosive even with four runs over 40 yards in 2017. His opportunity looks shot on early downs with Crowell added to the roster, and New York would love to get Elijah McGuire move involved in the passing game. Tough call on Bilal’s value this season. Possible 125 touches for 500 yards with minimal TDs with a rebound in catches. More of an insurance policy than an upside Fantasy investment.
RB Elijah McGuire – Over four seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette, Elijah rushed for 4,301 yards with 42 rushing TDs. His yards per rush declined in each season (8.4, 7.6, 5.0, and 4.9) despite rising rushes (103, 166, 209, and 232). He finished with 130 catches for 1,394 yards and another 10 TDs with declining value in his yards per catch (17.5, 10.4, 8.9, and 8.2) in each season as well. He did play through a foot injury in 2016 that limited his explosiveness. Overall, he needs to improve his ability to pick up the blitz before playing on early downs. McGuire has more speed than short area quickness while needing to improve his vision and decision making. In his rookie season, Elijah had 105 touches for 492 combined yards with two TDs and 17 catches. He gained only 3.6 yards per rush while showing explosiveness in the passing game (10.4 yards per catch). His pass blocking came in about the same as Powell, which tells me New York will get him more involved in the passing game in 2018. Possible 50+ catches if he can handle his pass project assignments. His game should offer more overall upside than Bilal Powell as the second RB for the Jets.
WR Robby Anderson – I had my doubts with Anderson in 2017, but he proved to be a much better player than I thought. He had a strong seven-game stretch (35/601/6 on 57 targets) to build Fantasy owners excitement heading to the championship round. Unfortunately, Robby struggled over his last four games (3/27, 5/40, 5/51, and 1/2) while receiving 28 targets. Anderson caught 63 of his 114 passes for 941 yards and seven TDs. He had 17 catches for over 20 yards with three catches netting 40 yards or more. Over the last year, Robby got himself in trouble twice setting up a possible suspension in 2018. His trial date for a couple of felony charges is set for August 6th, so a Fantasy owner needs to be careful when setting his draft value. Big play type WR with scoring ability. His catch rate (55.3) isn’t great, but he did draw plenty of attention for opposing team’s defense in 2017. Buy at your own risk until we have a better picture of his league issues.
WR Terrelle Pryor – After a great season at age 27 with the Browns in 2016 (77/1007/4), Pryor was bust in Washington. He finished with only 20 catches for 240 yards and a TD on 37 targets over nine games. His season ended after Week 10 with an ankle injury. The Redskins gave him 11 targets in Week 1 leading to six catches for 66 yards. In his next eight games, Terrelle had three catches or fewer in all games while never receiving more than five targets in any game. A big receiver with a short resume at age 29. Possible value based on his 2016 success, but his route running was a reason for his failed stint in Washington. I’ll set his bar at 60/900/5 while understanding the risk and reward on both sides of the equation.
WR Quincy Enunwa – Quincy missed 2017 with a neck issue. In 2016, the Jets gave Enunwa plenty of chances to prove his worth. He finished with 58 catches for 857 yards and four TDs on 105 targets as the WR3 for the Jets, which was similar to the opportunity by Jermaine Kearse last year. His downside was tied to four games with only one catch. Over the first five games, Quincy had 27 catches for 284 yards and a TD on 39 targets. From Week 6 to Week 13, he only had one game with over six targets while delivering three playable games (2/73/1, 4/93/1, and 5/109/1). His catch rate (55.2) needs improvement. Enunwa is a big WR (6’2” and 225 Lbs.) who almost offers a TE type skill set. Quincy did have four catches over 40 yards. His path points to growth, but the Jets’ WR core is much cloudier in 2018. With positive reports in August, Enunwa would be worth a late Fantasy pick.
WR Jermaine Kearse – In his five seasons in Seattle, Kearse caught 153 passes for 2,109 yards and 11 TDs on 271 targets. His low resume suggested a boring option in 2017. Jermaine ended up setting a career high in catches (65), receiving yards (810), and targets (102) with the Jets. He played well in Week 1 (7/59) and Week 2 (4/64/2). Over the next eight games, Kearse had fewer than ten Fantasy points in six games before having two great games (7/105/1 and 9/157). With Terrelle Pryor added to the roster, Jermaine should drop another notch in the receiving chain in New York unless Robby Anderson is suspended. Tough buy as a starter for a Fantasy owner without better information.
WR ArDarius Stewart – Over the last two seasons in college, Stewart caught 117 catches for 1,564 yards and 12 TDs. He’ll bring toughness to the WR position with a nice combination of power and speed. His release gives a chance to win the early edge in his routes with enough speed to beat a defender deep. New York will use him over the short areas of the field where his strength offers an edge. Stewart needs to improve his route running while adding more variety to his playmaking ability. In his rookie season, ArDarius caught six of 13 targets for 82 yards.
TE Chris Herndon – Over three seasons at Miami, FL, Herndon had 86 catches for 1,048 yards and seven TDs. His best year came in 2017 (40/477/4) despite missing a couple of games. A torn MCL in November, which gives him a chance to be ready at the start of training camp. Chris will threaten defenses in the deep passing game while needing to improve his route running. His hands remain in question while offering the quickness to beat defenses in the open field or off the line of scrimmage. In 2017, the Jets’ TEs caught 70 passes for 609 yards and four TDs on 103 targets. The TE catch total was much higher than 2016 (18/173/0) and 2015 (8/95/1). Herndon doesn’t have a ton of talent blocking from the starting job, but there will be a learning curve. Only a TE2 in PPR leagues with a wide range of outcomes with falling short of expectations.
TE Clive Walford – Over his first two seasons with the Raiders, Walford caught 61 combined passes for 688 yards and six TDs on 102 passes. Oakland put him on the back burner with Jared Cook added to the roster leading to him being waved over the winter. His NFL resume looks high enough to project him as the early favorite to earn the starting job for the Jets. Clive is only worthy of being a bye week cover in PPR leagues if he’s getting starting snaps.
2018 Fantasy Football: Positional Team OutlooksFantasy Football Rainman Shawn Childs, a six-figure high-stakes career earner and one of the most accurate rankers in the industry, previews the most relevant players at each skill position on all 32 NFL teams! Get ready to DOMINATE your competition as we approach the 2018 Fantasy Football season!