Fantasy football 2014 draft prep: New York Jets team preview
Fantasy football draft season is rapidly approaching. Prep to have your best draft ever with SI.com's arsenal of content, including team-by-team previews that break down key fantasy story lines, undervalued and overvalued players and much more.
In 2013, the Jets finally took the keys away from Mark Sanchez, handing them over to Geno Smith, their new quarterback out of West Virginia. While the Jets' offense was a mess, Smith did go on to lead all rookie quarterbacks in fantasy points (but keep in mind, he only had to beat out Mike Glennon and E.J. Manuel). This season, however, has the potential to be different, with two major offseason additions that pique the interest of fantasy owners: Running back Chris Johnson, who should be loaded up with carries, and Eric Decker, who left the best passing offense in NFL history for the second-worst passing offense in 2013.
Johnson finished as a top-10 running back last season, but that was mostly due to his four touchdown catches and not his 3.9 yards per carry. But considering the Jets have the second-best strength of schedule for running backs in 2014, it would seem that the stars are lining up for him. Unfortunately, owners will have to use a fourth- or fifth-round pick on him, which is risky for any Jets player in the past decade not named Curtis Martin.
The Jets also brought in veteran quarterback Michael Vick from Philadelphia, but he's expected to start the season as Smith's mentor in his sophomore season. It's tough to imagine Vick not getting a few starts this season, though, but then it's also tough to imagine Vick playing well enough to make much of a fantasy difference.
Finally, at the tight end position, the Jets drafted Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech in the second round. The rookie could see a lot of action in the slot, which is always a good thing for his fantasy prospects. By season's end, Amaro could be the No. 1 tight end on the team and Smith's second-favorite target in the passing game. That's still not a fantasy starter, but it would set him up as an up-and-comer entering his second season.
Most overvalued player
Eric Decker, WR -- Decker has been a fantasy favorite over the past few years for a few reasons, but being on the other end of Peyton Manning's passes was obviously the biggest one. Even before Manning came to the Rocky Mountains, Decker was a useful fantasy player with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton throwing to him. He scored eight touchdowns in 2011, his sophomore season, and that's why people are snatching Decker up as early as the seventh round in 12-team leagues.
But can a Jets wide receiver finish with top-30 numbers for a wide receiver? That remains to be seen. Decker does well in the red zone, but how often will the Jets get down there -- and how many of those scoring chances will end up going to the running backs or even to Smith?
Most undervalued player
Chris Ivory, RB -- Michael Vick could actually be the person to outdo their projections the most, but he's likely just a bye-week replacement in most formats.
Ivory, on the other hand, averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season, and he is much more of a physical back than the newly-signed Johnson, which Ryan definitely likes more. Getting Ivory in the 10th round or later is a good gamble on a player that did well last season, despite being on a bad team and dealing with hamstring issues.
QB: Geno Smith, Michael Vick
RB: Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Daryl Richardson
WR: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, David Nelson
TE: Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro
K: Nick Folk
Hill is a big, strong wide receiver in the mold of Alshon Jeffery, his 2012 NFL Draft classmate, but he just hasn't progressed in a similar fashion as any of that 2012 WR group, which includes Michael Floyd, Josh Gordon, T.Y. Hilton, Marvin Jones, Rod Streater and Kendall Wright. If Decker can serve as a good mentor, and Smith develops as a quarterback, Hill could be a decent midseason pickup in his third season.
|Total D||vs. Pass||vs. Rush||Points allowed|
|vs. QB||vs. RB||vs. WR||vs. TE|
Gone are the days of drafting a Rex Ryan defense in fantasy play, as the Jets DST hasn't been useful for the past couple seasons. Worse yet, they lost free agent CB Antonio Cromartie, who was one of their best defensive players last season.
They certainly have a beefed up defensive line, with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, which should create some turnovers with a strong pass rush. But this secondary has to get experienced quickly, with sophomore CB Dee Milliner and Darrin Walls holding down the edges and rookie safety Calvin Pryor looking to get experience early.
The Jets' DST faces a tougher than average schedule, so only consider them as bye-week replacements when they go up against young quarterbacks with weak running games.