The New York Jets got a fresh start with Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson replacing Sam Darnold and Adam Gase. Unfortunately, they pretty much had the same results. The Jets were one of the worst teams in the NFL, and one of the worst teams for fantasy football options in 2021. What should we remember about their doomed campaign as we look forward to 2022 fantasy football drafts?
- The Jets had the #2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and they used it in a… questionable way, so far. They took Zach Wilson with that pick, and let’s just say that his rookie year didn’t go how the New York Jets had hoped. That’s because, from a passing perspective, Zach Wilson wasn’t good at anything. Not a single thing. Don’t believe me? Just mosey over to his playerprofiler.com page. His pressured completion percentage? 35th. His clean pocket completion percentage? Also 35th. A casual reminder goes here that there are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. He did this while being 20th in air yards per attempt and #32 in total yards per attempt. Granted, the Jets did him no favors, with 41 dropped passes on the season, but his true completion percentage? 67.4%. That was the 28th. He was eighth in rushing touchdowns, but that won’t carry his fantasy value.
- Wilson’s fellow rookie Elijah Moore battled injuries his rookie year, and he finally got the ball rolling around week nine. From week nine to thirteen (when he succumbed to another injury), Moore averaged 5.6 receptions and 0.6 carries for 84.6 yards per game, scoring five touchdowns in those five games. The Jets can’t be as bad as they were in 2021, and Elijah Moore dominated targets down the stretch, making him a great value in 2022 redraft drafts as an upside WR4.
- Now, I wasn’t a fan of the hype surrounding Michael Carter this draft season. I literally advocated taking James Conner over him because they were both about RB30, and James Conner had done it before. No, this isn’t a James Conner victory lap cleverly hidden as a Michael Carter fact. Okay, maybe a little bit. Anyway, Michael Carter had the fourth-most 12+ touch games among rookie running backs, which is saying a lot, considering that Elijah Mitchell, Javonte Williams, and Najee Harris were all vital parts of their teams’ offenses from the jump. What you want to remember for Michael Carter’s 2022 is this: the Jets’ offensive line must get better to buy in on Carter. He had a #14 juke rate, #18 yards created per touch, and the fifth-worst run block win rate. If you want an idea of what that looks like, look at the Jets’ run game against the Jags and Houston, who they absolutely dominated upfront, leading to success for their run game, which totaled 430 yards in those two contests.
- The Titans’ bust-turned-post-hype-sleeper Corey Davis signed with the Jets this offseason for three years and $37.5 million (though in reality, it’s more of a two-year, $27 million deal). The Jets gave him the ball and actually… he did pretty well with it? Due to injuries, Davis played just eight full games in 2021, and in those eight games, he averaged four catches for 60 yards, scoring a touchdown every other game. There were three spike weeks in there, with Davis notching 93, 97, and 111 yards in three separate games. His remaining games had just one truly heinous bust week (two catches for eight yards against the Patriots) but he had a decent floor. I’m not surprised that Corey Davis struggled; he had a triple stack of things against him: rookie quarterback, rookie coach, and a new team. Corey Davis will likely be a WR5 in fantasy football drafts who has a good chance to return a top-30 performance next year.
- The Denzel Mims dream seems to be over. The 2020 second-round pick didn’t play a ton, but when he did play, he didn’t do anything of value. Mims topped 50% of snaps four times, and in those four games, he took 12 targets into three catches for 50 yards. But look back at his 2020 game logs. Mims topped 50% of snaps eight times and finished with 40+ yards six times. I’m not highly bullish on Mims’ bounceback, but he showed something in his rookie year that the Jets snatched away with the aforementioned rookie quarterback. Ultimately, like everything else in the passing game, the Jets’ performance in 2022 depends on Zach Wilson turning it around in his sophomore season.