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Dynasty

Fantasy Forecast: New York Jets

Saving Gase: How Sam Darnold and Co. can put up fantasy points against their coach’s wishes.

2019 in Review

The Jets 2019 season had two major issues: one visible and one invisible. One was their first-year head coach, Adam Gase. I won’t spend too much time on Gase as the fantasy community seems keen on his inability to win games. He has a career 30-34 record as a head coach after being hailed as the OC for Peyton Manning’s historic 2013 season, where he likely did more watching than coaching. Gase hasn’t posted an offense in the top 25 (!!!) in the NFL in the past three seasons. It’s no surprise that the Jets ran the ball more than any other team in 2nd and 10+ situations (@qbwins). This is day one football analytics stuff, and Gase just doesn’t seem to get it. He’ll be at the helm again in 2020, and the Jets will be forced to win despite him, not because of him.

The second, invisible issue, lived inside Sam Darnold’s body from Weeks 2 through 4: Mononucleosis. Darnold came down with Mono after the Jets heartbreaking Week 1 loss to Buffalo. With their franchise QB on the sideline, the Jets lost three straight while scoring a mere 23 points combined. The Luke Falk show was probably the most painful stretch of Jets quarterback play that I’ve seen, and that is saying a lot. The Jets finished the season on a 6-2 streak, but ended up 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 9th consecutive season.

In terms of fantasy, the Jets didn’t offer much, finishing 31st in offensive DVOA. Pre-season RB1, Leveon Bell, finished as an RB3; Darnold barely finished in the top 32, coming in at QB27; and Crowder, a WR3 (WR34), was the Jets best fantasy receiving option just edging out offseason departure, Robby Anderson (WR38), who signed with Carolina in March. At the Tight End position, Ryan Griffin was surprisingly productive, hauling in 5 TDs on 41 targets, but only finished as a low-end TE2. The Jets didn’t have another player finish in the top 50 on offense at their position, which explains why their first two draft picks impacted the offensive side of the formation.

On defense, the Jets were better. They finished the season ranked 10th in defensive DVOA, and Jamal Adams was expectedly a stud. He tallied 75 combined tackles (10 for loss), 13 QB hits, 6.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 7 picks, and a TD.

Using the IDP 123 ranking settings created by Jordan Rains (if you haven’t seen it, give him a follow on Twitter @50shadesofdrunk), 

Adams ranked as the DB4 and the 25th overall IDP player. The Jets lost CJ Mosley for the season in Week 1 who projected to be a significant contributor on defense, and among those playing, the Jets didn’t see any other notable contributions. 

Jets GM, Joe Douglas, kicked off his first draft in New York by selecting Mekhi Becton, an absolute unit of a Left Tackle out of Louisville. Becton, the largest player in this year’s draft, weighing in at 364lbs, adds some much-needed protection for Sam Darnold, who was sacked 2.54 times a game in 2019, top 10 in the NFL among qualified QBs. The Jets traded down from pick 48 in the 2nd round while dynamic playmaker Denzel Mims was still on the board, but were still able to select the Baylor product with the 59th overall selection. Mims’ PlayerProfiler page should make any Jet fan excited. 

2020 is a make or break season for Gang Green at two crucial positions: quarterback and head coach. Darnold should get a bit more slack than Gase, but both need to improve in 2020 to secure their jobs in New York in the long run. While the Johnson family won’t put a playoff mandate on the team, Adam Gase should expect to be fired if he extends the Jets playoff drought to 10 years, and Darnold needs to prove something in order to guarantee his second contract with the team. Gregg Williams and the Jets defense held up their end of the bargain in 2019: it’s time for the offensive to do their part.

Player Photos from NFL.com, Projections from FantasyData.com

Quarterback

Sam “I’m seeing ghosts” Darnold

NamePhotoPosGMSPASS YDSPASS TDINTRUSH YDSRUSH TDPPR Points
Sam DarnoldQB163,52423141102216 (QB27)

Sam Darnold is misunderstood. Many casual fans like to poo-poo the Jets signal-caller, citing his 11-15 career NFL record and unfortunate ghost-related quote during a miserable game in New England. Like many things, it’s easy to be negative when you’re only judging at a glance, but when you take a deeper dive, it’s apparent that the Jets finally have their franchise QB.

Darnold began the 2019 season off conservatively, but effectively. He threw for 175 yards with a 68% completion percentage and zero turnovers. It was clear he was the better quarterback against Josh Allen 2 INTs and 2 lost fumbles, but the Jets did their thing and blew the game in the 4th quarter after losing their new defensive star, CJ Mosley, for the season. Darnold then missed the next three games with Mono but came back with a vengeance in Week 6.

Darnold had the best game of his career in Dallas out dueling Dak Prescott by posting 338 yards and 2 TDs on only 32 attempts (72%) in a Jets 24-22 victory. Darnold then struggled in Weeks 7-9, posting only 188yds/g and a combined 3:8 TD-to-INT ratio. After the blip, Sam finished strong.

From Week 10 on, Darnold posted a 61% completion percentage, 13 TDs, only 4 INTs, and the Jets went 6-2. As this recap of Darnold’s 2019 shows, he is inconsistent, but the potential is certainly there. A series of 2 tweets from Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) perfectly sums up why I am incredibly optimistic and excited for Sam.

  1. He’ll be 23 years old going into his 3rd season. The Jets can afford to be patient with the youngster and should be, as they haven’t given him the weapons nor the o-line to flourish yet. Joe Douglas did a great job improving the Jets o-line, and the addition on Mims and Perriman, along with Bell, Crowder, and Herndon, give Darnold a solid surrounding cast going into 2020.
  2. Darnold is lethal when he gets protected – just look at those stats! He finished top 12 in all those stats while being pressured at the HIGHEST rate in the league. When he’s protected? Oh, just the most accurate QB in football. Let that sink in.

Ok, so what about his fantasy outlook for 2020? In single QB leagues, I’d be looking to add Darnold as a future piece. He likely won’t start games for you in 2020 outside of bye weeks or potential injuries, but having Darnold as your QB2 or QB3 paired with a veteran backup like Rivers or Big Ben is the perfect way to play it behind your starting QB. In Superflex, I’d be more aggressively targeting Darnold. He should be around the league for another 15 years. We know he has the talent. Buy in now and reap the benefits of a future perennial QB1.

Running Back

NamePhotoPosGMSRUSH YDSRUSH TDRECREC YDSREC TDPPR Points
Le’Veon BellRB158765594152228 (RB15)
Frank GoreRB16508212104191 (RB59)
Lamical PerineRB16198114149159 (RB70)

Lev Bell disappointed in his first year with the Jets after a promising Week 1. He finished as the RB21 in PPR leagues after being drafted as the RB6. His ADP now sits at RB16 in redraft and RB22 in dynasty. Despite Bell’s struggles, he did look great in 2019. He broke tackles all over the field. The issue was that most of these were behind the line of scrimmage, turning 3-yard losses into 2-yard gains.


I see Bell as a better redraft investment than dynasty due to his age of 28, and heavy career workload. Bell can easily vault back into his old RB1 range with improvements across the board around him on offense, but I’d be wary of investing in Bell in dynasty unless you’re one RB away from making that championship push.


One thing to note is the potential of a trade. Rumors have swelled about the Jets trading Bell if they find themselves out of contention. If Bell and his hefty contract are to be traded, it would only really make sense for him to go to a contender, likely with a better offense and more potential for fantasy points. Another reason to target Bell in redraft, but regardless of team, it’s tough to get excited long-term about an RB that’s already 28.

Something Old, Something New

Behind Bell, there’s nothing much of intrigue. Frank Gore and Lamical Perine will throttle each other’s production. Gore should get some goal-line work, and Perine will likely be more involved in the passing game than Gore, but not by much. The only way either of these two get run is if Bell does get traded. If so, Perine could become very interesting very quickly. He’s worth a stash if you want to bank on a Bell trade, but you will likely be left holding the bag and dropping him at some point.

Wide Receiver

NamePhotoPosGMSRECREC YDSREC TDPPR Points
Jamison CrowderWR16768285189  (WR35)
Breshad PerrimanWR16508335164  (WR43)
Denzel MimsWR16374794109  (WR81)

Pick a Card, any Card

Jamison Crowder

The Jets receiving corps is very hard to project. FantasyData projects Crowder to get a 34% target share, Perriman 23%, and Mims 18%. This seems about right to me. Crowder should prove to be the consistent producer he was last season, but will face stiffer competition for targets in 2020 with the departure of low-volume deep threat, Robby Anderson, and the additions of Perriman and Mims.

Breshad Perriman

Perriman will likely produce a similar final fantasy point total to Crowder, but on fewer targets — he’ll replace Robby Anderson in that sense. The sleeper of the group here, who I’ve already mentioned, is Denzel Mims. I see a real possibility for Mims to develop a quick rapport with Darnold and become a lethal young, dynamic duo. My hot take for 2020: Denzel Mims outscores all Jets pass-catchers in fantasy points.

New Kid in Town

PlayerProfiler.com

Mims should make a year one difference in New York alongside consistent slot-producer Jamison Crowder and new addition Breshad Perriman. Mims has blazing speed as evidenced by his 96th percentile speed score and 90th percentile bust, and can catch almost anything thrown his way (95th percentile catch radius). Mims dominated at Baylor with an 85th percentile dominator rating and 80th percentile YPR and broke out before turning 20.

Tight End

NamePhotoPosGMSRECREC YDSREC TDPPR Points
Chris HerndonTE16455313116    (TE21)
Ryan GriffinTE1612107129     (TE55)

Chris Herndon failed to make an impact in 2019, playing in only one game after coming back from suspension and then winding up on season-ending IR due to a fractured rib. Ryan Griffin surprised with 5 TDs and was very useful as a TE stream in certain weeks, but that’s not something we’d expect to continue. The Jets coaching staff has said they cannot wait to “unleash” a healthy Herndon in 2020, and neither can I. Herndon is the only pass-catcher still on the team from Darnold’s rookie season so that rapport is already there. As a rookie, Herndon had over 500 receiving yards and 8.5 yds/target. Who else has done that since 2000? Rob Gronkowski, Mark Andrews, Aaron Hernandez & Noah Fant. Herndon is going as the TE16 in redraft and TE28 in dynasty — almost free. Go get Herndon in all formats. Hope for a 2020 breakout, but hold for 2021 if it doesn’t happen — he’s only 24.

IDP

NamePhotoPosGMSIDP 123 Pts
Jamal AdamsSS16223
Blake CashmanILB16176
CJ MosleyILB16162
Jordan JenkinsOLB16153

Jamal Adams

The Jets IDP star is obvious: Jamal Adams. He’s a surefire top 10 IDP pick, especially in dynasty, at the age of 24. Adams is the best safety in the league and can be a cornerstone DB IDP asset in dynasty.

Linebackers

In IDP scoring in general, and especially IDP 123 scoring, linebackers reign supreme, but the Jets likely won’t have a top 100 IDP redraft asset outside of Adams. Cashman, Mosley, and Jenkins are solid depth pieces at LB.

Did You Say Sleeper?

If you’re looking for an IDP Sleeper on the Jets roster, I would take a look at Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi, the 3rd year Defensive Tackle out of UConn. Foley was the Jets 6th round pick in 2018 and became a consistent disrupter of offenses last season after only getting three snaps in his rookie campaign. He didn’t light up the box score, which is what you’re looking for in fantasy, but his impact on defense should not be understated, and with some luck will translate into solid fantasy points in 2020 with an increase in usage. Fatukasi racked up 8 TFLs in run defense (5th among DTs) on only 205 snaps against the run (64th amongst DTs). In Weeks 6-10, Foley was PFF’s 3rd highest graded D-lineman, only trailing the best in the game, Aaron Donald, and x5 Pro Bowler, Calais Campbell. Monitor Foley on your waiver wire and pick him up in deeper leagues.

Credit: Getty Images

Conclusion

To wrap it up, here are my high-level takes on the Jets in 2020 for fantasy:

  • Target Darnold in Superflex.
  • Get Bell in re-draft if you need another RB, fade in dynasty.
  • Mims will shock everyone and finish as the Jets best fantasy producer at WR.
  • Get Herndon everywhere.
  • Jamal Adams is a stud, but there’s not much after him on D.

You can follow me @DynastyStump on Twitter to follow along as I yell into the Twitter machine on Sundays about my beloved Gang Green. 

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