New York Jets
2016 was a long year for Todd Bowles after making a nice step forward in his rookie season as head coach (10-6). Last year New York ended up 5-11 with a huge drop in offensive play (30th in points scored and 26th in yards gained) compared to 11th and 10th in 2015. Ryan Fitzpatrick was unable to repeat his success, which was a big part of the issue. In his career, Bowles has 17-18 record as head coach. His coaching history comes for the defensive side of the ball. John Morton will take over the offensive coordinator after spending the last six seasons in the NFL as the wide receiver coach for the 49ers and Saints. This is a step up in job. New York regressed on the defensive side of the ball (11th in yards allowed). The Jets ranked in the top 11 in yards allowed on defense in each of the last eight seasons, but they tend to still fail in points allowed (28th in 2016). Last season they allowed 95 more points than 2015 (314) while also scoring 112 fewer points. Kacy Rodgers returns for his third year as the defensive coordinator. Over the previous 12 years, Kacy primarily works as a defensive line coach. New York has missed the playoffs in each of the last six seasons.
When the best player added in free agency is a kicker (Chandler Catanzaro), you know it’s going to be a long season for the Jets in 2017. New York cleaned house at the QB position by releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. Veteran Josh McCown was brought in to compete for the starting quarterback job. The Jets decided to move on from WR Brandon Marshall and CB Darrelle Revis. Both players had regression in their skill set in 2016. Marshall still has a chance to be productive in the right system. T Kevin Beachum will compete for a starting job in 2017 after being a losing option the Jaguars last year. CB Morris Claiborne should improve New York’s secondary after playing well for the Cowboys. WR Quinton Patton was added for depth at wide receiver.
New York had nine picks in this year’s draft with five coming after the fourth round. They invested four picks on their secondary. In the first round, New York went with S Jamal Adams. He’ll be very good in run support while understanding offensive play development. Adams tends to play it safe rather than leave the opening for big plays. Jamal will handle most TEs in coverage while being challenged if mismatched with top WRs. His best value will come when moving forward as an attacker.
The Jets doubled down at safety with Marcus Maye in the second round. His best value will come as a read and react guy in coverage, but teams will look to beat him deep if he gets matchup one-on-one with a top WR. Maye reads the QB well, but the best QBs in the NFL will set him up for mistakes. Marcus has an excellent feel for the game with his judgment being one of his better assets while having enough physical talent to add value against the run. His game will offer more upside with some coaching to minimize his mistake in decision making in coverage.
In the sixth round, they invest in two CBs – Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones. Clark is a big CB (6’3” and 220 Lbs.) who’s best talent will come in press coverage. His transition in route coverage tends to be below par leading to weakness against elite WRs with a combination of speed and size. He’ll have no chance against quick WRs if they break press coverage. Looks more of short area player with some value in deep coverage when the field works in his favor. Jeremy will bring physically to the CB position. Jones projects more of a project due to him needing to add bulk and strength. He has athletic ability with enough to speed to develop as contributor one special teams early in his career.
With their 3rd and 4th picks, New York addressed their issue at WR with ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen. Stewart will be a threat in the open field when he gets the ball in his hands. He has the talent and moves to shake CBs, but ArDarius needs to clean up his route running to improve his value. His hands need improvement while offering enough speed to make a play in the deep passing game. Hansen doesn’t have one trait to gain an edge at the next level. He’ll give the appearance of a threat off the line of scrimmage, but his route running and transition doesn’t create a winning window consistency at the next level. Chad will need to improve his overall game to be a factor in the Jets’ passing game.
TE Jordan Leggett was added in the fifth round. He seems to be a front-runner who has some quit in him if game flow or the ball doesn’t find his way. Leggett has solid short area quickness while needing to add fight to his game so that he finishes plays. Jordan needs to attack the ball when it’s thrown his way while improving his sense of urgency. He’s played in big moments where he tends to shine. Greatness may lie within, but his mindset points to settling for less.
With their second pick in the fifth round, New York bought DL Dylan Donahue. His best assets will be his short area quickness and competitiveness on every play. Dylan will have the most value attacking the line of scrimmage, but he may need a free run to be production. His game takes a step down if his opponent can land a winning punch. He’ll have to earn his way at linebacker in the pros.
Elijah McGuire is one of the top pass catching RBs in this year’s draft, but he doesn’t have the skill set to pass protect at this point of his career in the NFL. McGuire runs hard with acceleration and quickness, but his vision and patients hurt his ability to break into the second level of the defense. Overall, there is upside in this sixth-round selection if he stays healthy.
The Jets finished 12th in the NFL in rushing yards (1802) with 10 TDs. They didn’t have one run over 40 yards in 2016. New York had 49 runs over 10 yards and 39 negative runs. Their offensive line allowed 35 sacks and 95 QBs hits (6.4 percent). This offense ranked 27th in passing yards (3466) with 16 passing TDs and 25 Ints.
LT Ben Ijalana doesn’t look like an asset headed into 2017. He’ll battle for the starting job at left tackle while offering minimal upside. His biggest threat for playing time will come from Kelvin Beachum who played poorly in 2016 after tearing his ACL in 2015. New York signed him to a three-year $24 million deal, so Beachum is getting paid like a starter.
LG James Carpenter was the Jets’ best offensive lineman in 2016 while offering upside as run blocking. Seattle selected him in the first round in 2011 (25th).
C Wesley Johnson is expected to take over at center with Nick Mangold no longer on the roster. He started nine of the last ten games in 2016 while grading just below league average at his position. The Steelers drafted him in the 5th round in 2014.
RG Brian Winters played much better in 2016 while developing into a league average player at his position. Winters was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
RT Brandon Shell battled a shoulder injury after getting drafted in the 5th round in 2016. He started the last three games last year due to multiple injuries on the Jets’ offensive line. He may have upside as a run blocker, but his technique isn’t where it needs to be which invites some risk in pass protection. Many of his battles will result in draws, so a RB will have a small window to clear the defensive line on his side of the field.
This line won’t be an edge, and I expect it to rank in the bottom third of the league. Their best chance of success will come if New York can play from the lead in a ball control offense.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing TDs touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing TDs (TDS).
This information is based on 2016, which will work as our starting point for 2017. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2016 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2016.
2016 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL last year.
2016 Adjustment is based on the 2016 league average and the 2016 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat and the basis for strength of schedule.
New York will face six teams with risk against the run (BUF X 2, CLE, DEN, and MIA X 2). They have what appears to be three bad matchups for their rushing offense (NE X 2 and CAR).
On the passing side, the Jets have one bad matchup (DEN) and three poor matchups (BUF and JAC). The Bills can be beat on the ground so their stats may be skewed. Their best matchups for the pass will be NO and ATL). I expect the Falcons to be improved in the secondary in 2017.
New York would like to be balanced on the offense. Game score led to them rushing the ball 43.1 percent of the time. It would be tough to expect a rise in the passing offense based on the offensive line, quarterback, and receiving options.
Josh McCown (QB)
To me, the Jets are in the process of building an offense. This tells me they should be playing a young QB to develop. Todd Bowles won’t have that liberty, so I’m sure he’ll try to win early in the year, which may mean starting a veteran QB. In this case, McCown will be throwing the ball for New York in Week 1. He’s been in the league since 2002 with his best chance to start for the full year coming in 2004 (13 starts). In his career, Josh has an 18-42 record that includes a 2-20 record over the last three seasons. His arm looked exceptional in relief of Jay Cutler in 2013 when McCown passed for 1829 yards with 13 TDs, one Int, and a 66.5 percent completion rate. The downside here is that Josh can’t make the players around him better. New York has a pass-catching talent at RB with one proven NFL wide receiver in Eric Decker. This doesn’t add up to a winning opportunity for McCown plus New York’s offensive line isn’t an edge. No value here and I expect a short window to start.
Bryce Petty (QB) – Petty was a two-year starter for the Baylor Bears where he threw for 8195 yards and 61 TDs with 10 Ints. His senior season was a slight step back from his junior year in yards (3855 – 4200), TDs (29 – 32), and Ints (7 – 3), which led to him falling from 10th in Heisman voting from 7th in 2013. Bryce had 178 rushes over his last two seasons in college for 310 yards with a surprising 20 rushing TDs. Baylor’s’ offense was explosive, which gave him a huge edge in passing in some games. In 2014, he threw for 400+ yards twice and 500+ yards in two other games. His ability to read defenses is a long way away from being ready to lead an NFL team plus he needs to improve his throws when under pressure. Petty has the size (6’3” and 230 lbs.) that NFL teams want from the QB position with probably only a league average arm. His quickness and athletic ability will allow him to create a larger passing window at the next level with the Jets. New York gave him four starts in 2016 leading to 809 yards with three TDs and seven Ints. His season ended in late December in 2016 due to a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that required surgery.
Christian Hackenberg (QB) – 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 the defense 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 limited the damage in sacks and turnovers. He will need time to develop.
Matt Forte (RB)
Forte was a tough player to time in 2016. He looked like a workhorse back after the first two games (264 combined yards with three TDs and seven catches on 59 touches), but he failed to gain over 65 combined yards in each of his next four games with declining touches each week (17, 16, 14, and 10) during this stretch. Just when Fantasy owners placed him on the bench, Matt delivered 154 combined yards with two TDs and four catches (34 touches). His game held value over the next three games (304 combined yards with three TDs and five catches). Over the last four games, Forte only had 155 combined yards with seven catches). His season ended late in December with torn meniscus that required surgery. This issue was part of his failure early in the year. Also, he had a shoulder injury late in the year. Even in a down season, Matt had over 1050 yards with close to 250 touches. He’ll start the year at age 31 with plenty of competition from Bilal Powell for playing time. Great pass catching resume with fade in his skill set on early downs. I’d love to write him off, but I know he’ll be discounted this draft season. Let’s just call him an RB3 at best with more risk than reward.
Bilal Powell (RB)
For the second straight season, Powell was a factor in the championship weeks of the playoffs in the high-stakes market. In Week 14, Bilal had 179 combined yards with two TDs and five catches. The following week he had 162 combined yards with 11 catches. His other game of value came in Week 17 (137 combined yards with a TD and three catches). Over the first 12 games of the season, he only had one game with over 45 yards rushing while delivering four games with six catches or more. Thanks to his success late in the season, Powell averaged 5.5 yards per rush, which was well above Forte (3.7). Over the last two years, he has 105 catches for 776 yards and four receiving TDs. As intriguing as he may be, Bilal will turn 29 in October.
Elijah McGuire (RB) – Over four seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette, Elijah rushed for 4301 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 1394 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.
Other options: Brandon Wilds, Romar Morris
Eric Decker (WR)
After four straight productive seasons in the NFL, Eric had his season cut short after three games due to a hip injury that required surgery. New York expects him to be ready for opening day. Over the last 4+ seasons, Decker averaged 5.2 catches per game for 70 yards and 0.66 TDs on 8.10 targets. He has three years with double digit TDs and three years with over 1000 yards receiving. His skill set works best as a WR2 in an NFL offense. Last season New York completed 203 passes for 2798 yards and 13 TDs on 388 targets to the wide receiver position. Viable WR3 in the Fantasy world with a chance at 80+ catches and 1000+ yards, but his TDs won’t match his previous success without a step forward in QB play.
Quincy Enunwa (WR)
The Jets gave Enunwa plenty of chances to prove his worth in 2016. He finished with 58 catches for 857 yards and four TDs on 105 targets as the WR3 for the Jets. 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). Over the last five weeks of the season, he was passed on the depth chart by Robbie Anderson in multiple games leading to four short games (3/29, 5/64, 1/30, and 5/81) and no TDs. 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 with a floor of 60/900/5 in 2017.
Robby Anderson (WR)
Anderson flashed over a three-game stretch from Week 13 (4/61/1 on 12 targets), Week 14 (6/99 on 11 targets), and Week 15 (4/80/1 on six targets). The Patriots’ defense took him away from the QB in Week 16 (no catches on three targets). Over the last 13 games of the season, New York gave him WR3 snaps. He only had one game with more than four catches and six targets or fewer in 10 of his last 13 games. Deep threat with a wide range of outcomes over the course of the season.
Charone Peake (WR) – When looking at the depth at WR for New York headed into this year, Peake is a player who at least has talent with projectable upside. He has sub 4.50 speed while only benching 225 lbs. 12 times in the 2016 NFL combine. His short area quickness is much too slow to have value working the short areas of the field. After battling injuries for a couple of seasons at Clemson, Peake makes a slight step forward in his senior season (50/716/5). New York needs a deep threat to stretch the field so his athletic ability may lead to him getting a better than expected look this summer. In his rookie season, Peake caught 19 of his 35 targets for 186 yards.
Other options: ArDarius Stewart, Quinton Patton, Chad Hansen, Myles White, Frankie Hammond
The troubled Jenkins will be suspended for the first two games in 2017 due to a DUI last September. He’s never played over nine games in any season in the NFL, but Austin did show upside over seven games in 2015 with the Bucs (21/338/4 on 39 targets). In 2015, the Jets only completed eight passes for 95 yards and a TD on 23 targets to the TE position. That number grew to 18/173 on 28 targets in 2016. The offensive personnel won’t be the same for the Jets in 2017, but I can’t see a great opportunity for the TE in this offensive. Waiver wire option with the best value coming as a bye week cover.
Jordan Leggett (TE)
Over the last two seasons at Clemson, Jordan caught 86 passes for 1261 yards and 15 TDs. He averaged 16.0 yards per catch in his senior season. Enough quickness to work the short areas of the field while offering value in the deep passing game. Leggett just needs to commit to the game. Possible upside with short-term value.
Other options: Braedon Bowman, Eric Tomlinson, Jason Vander Laan, Brian Parker
Chandler Catanzaro (K) – After making 57 of 64 field goal attempts (89.0 percent) over his first two seasons in the NFL, Chandler slipped to 75.0 percent in 2016. Over the last two years, he’s missed nine of 105 extra points. His leg has been respectable from 50 yards or more (5-for-11) so far in his career. Last season the Jets had 31 field goal attempts while scoring only 28 TDs last year. Steady kicker playing in a low scoring offense. His best value will come in a couple of favorable games over the course of the long season.
Just like the other teams in the AFC East, New York has two tough matchups against the Bills for their run defense. The rest of their run schedule looks about neutral with the best two matchups based on 2016 looking like Denver and the Chargers.
New York will be tested in the passing game by the Saints, the Falcons, and the Patriots twice. They do have eight games that look favorable (BUF X 2, MIA X 2, CLE, DEN, KC, and JAX).
The Jets slid to 11th in rushing yards allowed (1581) while allowing 11 rushing TDs. Ball carriers gained 3.7 yards per rush with about league average rushing attempts per game (26.8).
New York finished with about league average in passing yards allowed (3898) with 30 passing TDs. They only had eight Ints and 27 sacks. This defense needs to improve their pass rush while upgrading their playmakers in the secondary.
DE Muhammad Wilkerson battled an ankle injury for the most for the 2016 season, which led to dropping off in production. Over his career, he’s been a great stopper with value in sacks. He signed a big contract last summer, so Wilkerson needs to be productive to earn the rest of his future dollars. DE Leonard Williams showed growth in his second season in the league after being selected in the first round in 2016. Williams as an asset vs. the run while delivering seven sacks. DT Sheldon Richardson has upside against the run with the ability to attack the QB. His game offered more value in his first two years in the league after being drafted in the first round in 2013.
The fourth first-round pick in this defense is linebacker Darron Lee who the Jets added in 2016. His game needs to make a step forward in all areas. He has a nice combination of speed and quickness with excellent vision and anticipation. Lee doesn’t have the ideal size (6’1" and 232 lbs.) plus he needs to add more strength to win more battles at the point of contact. His style of play should work well within the Jets’ defensive structure. LB Jordan Jenkins finished as a neutral player in his rookie season after New York drafted him in the third round. Jenkins needs to add more upper body strength. His instincts offset his lack of quickness and speed. Jordan’s game is built on power with his best value coming close to the line of scrimmage when on the attack. LB David Harris looks to be past him prime at age 33. He has four seasons on his resume with over 100 tackles. New York will need to improve his slot on the roster. The last linebacker spot looks to be up for grabs with no one offering impact upside.
CB Morris Claiborne missed nine games in 2016 while also missing 23 games over the previous three years. He played well last year, but he’s tough to trust. He’ll improve the position while New York hopes to find the next upgrade in the next draft. CB Buster Skrine tends to be a liability, but he can handle his position against the weaker teams in the NFL. The Jets have three safety options drafted in the first two rounds. S Calvin Pryor will have a short window to hold onto his job as the Jets didn’t exercise their option on him for next season. There is a chance that rookies Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye start in 2017. Both players are expected to help in run support.
New York will have a solid run defense, but they are young in the secondary with potential weakness at cornerback. With a better pass rush, New York will cover up some of their weakness in pass coverage. Overall, they have five first round draft picks on this defense. Possible backup Fantasy defense with matchup value.