The Jets have made some big changes in the off-season, welcoming some new faces (brand new coaching staff, including new head coach Todd Bowles) as well as opening their arms to some returning players (Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie).
Of course, the team has also been plagued with much unwelcome off-field incidents as well. Everything from Muhammad Wilkerson's threatened holdout to Sheldon Richardson's failed drug test and subsequent arrest. Then, of course, there was the infamous Geno Smith jaw-breaking incident. You can't say that these Jets haven't at least been entertaining!
Ryan Fitzpatrick was expected to be a backup quarterback for the Jets this season, but that was before Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw at the hands of a teammate in a locker-room fight in August. Fitzpatrick will now start Week 1 and hold the job until Smith returns, and if he plays well he could be the starter all year. We know Fitzpatrick isn't an exciting Fantasy quarterback, but being reunited with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey could help his outlook. Gailey coached Fitzpatrick for three seasons in Buffalo from 2010-12, and Fitzpatrick had 71 touchdowns over that span and two years with at least 3,400 passing yards. He also had 54 interceptions over that span, which tells you why Fitzpatrick is better suited as a backup, but he also benefits playing with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker for the Jets. He could emerge as a streaming option during the season, but he should not be drafted in the majority of leagues.
Jets quarterback Geno Smith was set up to start for the team this season before suffering a broken jaw at the hands of a teammate in a locker-room fight in August. He is now expected to be out 6-10 weeks, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will open the season as the starter ahead of Smith. Not many Fantasy owners were targeting Smith in standard re-draft leagues, but he did show some optimism this offseason with strong play, according to reports. He also got a new weapon in Brandon Marshall to pair with Eric Decker, and he could have emerged as a streaming option. That could still happen once Smith is back from the jaw injury, but he could also remain in a reserve role if Fitzpatrick starts off the season playing well. Keep an eye on Smith's recovery, but he's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues.
If something were to happen to Fitz during those early weeks that Smith is healing, rookie Bryce Petty would be rushed into action. Not much is expected from the fourth-round selection, but if he were to take control of the position... Well, given that neither Smith nor Fitzpatrick are top drawer options, stranger things have happened. Obviously Petty holds little value in fantasy -- although, he could be worth a long look in Dynasty formats.
Chris Ivory will head into training camp expected to compete for the starting job with offseason addition Stevan Ridley. The winner of this battle will likely be a No. 3 Fantasy running back at best, but this is a good offensive system to be a part of with new coordinator Chan Gailey. The problem is Ivory and Ridley are similar and offer little as a receiver, which could allow Bilal Powell to also play a role. Ivory did well in 2014 as the lead running back for the Jets ahead of Chris Johnson. He had 198 carries for 821 yards and six touchdowns and 18 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, which allowed him to finish as the No. 19 running back in standard leagues. He had double digits in carries 12 times in 2014, and eight times he either scored a touchdown or had at least 90 total yards. If Ivory remains the starter with the chance to get double digits in carries on a consistent basis then he?s worth a mid-round pick. But if Ivory is in a part-time role behind Ridley and Powell then he?ll only be worth a late-round selection.
Stevan Ridley signed with the Jets this offseason, and he's expected to compete with Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy for the starting job, assuming his injured knee is OK after suffering a torn ACL last year. It won't be hard for Ridley to beat out Ivory or Stacy since this is a new regime for the Jets, and they could want their own guy in the backfield. It will all depend on Ridley's health and which type of player shows up since Ridley has shown flashes of talent during his first four years with the Patriots. In 2012, Ridley was a standout Fantasy option with 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, which made him a Top 10 running back in standard leagues. But fumble problems put him in coach Bill Belichick?s doghouse in 2013, and he suffered the ACL injury in Week 6 last year, which ended his season. Even if Ridley is the starter he will likely lose passing-down work to Bilal Powell (Ridley has 23 career catches), but Ridley has proven to be a solid runner between the tackles and could work at the goal line. If Ridley is the starter then he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues. But if he's in a part-time role behind Ivory, Stacy and Powell then he?ll only be worth a late-round selection, if he's drafted at all.
Zac Stacy was great as a Fantasy running back during his rookie season in 2013, but he became a forgotten man last year once Tre Mason emerged. In 2013, Stacy had over 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns as the featured rusher for the Rams. But he was replaced in 2014, and he finished with just over 400 total yards and one touchdown. When the Rams drafted Todd Gurley with the #10 overall pick, Stacy read the proverbial writing on the wall and asked to be traded -- which is how he found his way onto the Jets' roster. Unfortunately for him, the Jets' backfield is also very crowded with multiple players standing between him and the field. He probably is not draftable in fantasy at this point. He will hold fantasy value (as a waiver wire possibility) in the event that he fails to make the roster and is acquired by a RB-needy team -- or if there is an injury to one of the other Jet running backs.
Last but lost least is Bilal Powell, who probably has the most clearly defined role: that of a 3rd down back. If we are to read the tea leaves correctly -- meaning that Chis Ivory emerges as the team's #1 RB -- then Powell would be the only other truly relevant fantasy option in deeper PPR leagues.
A season full of injuries, weekly distractions and, ultimately, sagging stats pointed Brandon Marshall's arrow in a down direction. As a result, the Bears traded Marshall to the Jets this offseason, putting the veteran on his fourth different team. At 31 years old, coming off of an injury-shortened season and working with the likes of Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, there isn't much excitement about Marshall's outlook for 2015. But we must admit that he has some appeal as a co-No. 1 receiver opposite Eric Decker in an offense that should wind up being fairly pass-friendly (this isn't Rex Ryan's Jets anymore). It wouldn't be a surprise to see Marshall post some good numbers, presuming he stays healthy. Marshall should be viewed as a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver in standard and PPR leagues. Don't be surprised to see him go between 55th and 70th overall in your leagues.
The expectation for Eric Decker in 2014 was he would be a disaster going from the Broncos to the Jets, and his stats definitely declined with Geno Smith throwing him passes compared to Peyton Manning. But Decker was far from a tragedy with 74 catches for 962 yards and five touchdowns. We hope the Jets can get better quarterback play this season from either Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Decker will now share targets with Brandon Marshall, who was acquired in trade from Chicago. Decker led the Jets in targets last season with 115, but his Fantasy value will take a hit with Marshall now in the fold. He is only worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues, and his production from 2014 is likely a best-case scenario for his value given the expectations for the passing attack with the Jets.
Jeremy Kerley has the chance to be the No. 3 receiver for the Jets this season, but he will struggle for targets and has minimal Fantasy value. The Jets added Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith this offseason to go with Eric Decker, which means Kerley won't get much production. The Jets also have a shaky quarterback situation with Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick as the expected starter, which hurts Kerley's output. He finished 2014 with 38 catches for 409 yards and one touchdown, and it's unlikely to expect much more from him this season. Kerley is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues.
Jace Amaro is hoping to make a big leap in his second season, and he's a tight end to target with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues. Amaro had a quiet rookie season with 38 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns on 53 targets. But the expectation is Amaro can improve playing for new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who uses a similar system that Amaro played at Texas Tech. We don't advocate drafting Amaro as a starting tight end in most leagues, but if you're looking for a sleeper with upside, Amaro is a good option as a flier. He has a lot to prove, and he has to overcome the poor quarterback situation in New York with Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick. But the talent is there in a quality system, and Amaro is someone to watch in training camp with the hope he can become a sophomore sensation.
The good thing about kicking for an offense that can't finish drives is you'll get a ton of opportunities to kick, as Nick Folk has found out over the last two years.
He attempted just 23 PATs, but put up a league-high 39 field goals, connecting on 32 of them. Despite the subpar offense, Folk finished as a borderline starter last year in fantasy scoring among kickers. We believe that he has a great shot at duplicating that feat once again this season, making him a decent option in the final round on Draft Day.
Rex Ryan's squad topped double-digit fantasy points just once last season and finished as fantasy's No. 27 unit. As they did in 2013, the Jets struggled to generate takeaways, forcing a league-low 13 turnovers. That number should go up in 2015 thanks to the off-season additions of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in the secondary. The Jets also have one of the league's better front sevens, which includes emerging stars Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and rookie Leonard Williams. New coach Todd Bowles should be able to transform this unit into a viable fantasy option.