Jets Offensive Profile Under Todd Bowles
2015-2016 Pass Attempts Rank: 15th, 23rd
2015-2016 Rush Attempts Rank: 10th, 13th
2015-2016 Play Volume Rank: 6th, 24th
2015-2016 Yards Per Play Rank: 15th, 20th
Unaccounted for Targets from 2016 (Rank): 173 (8th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2016 (Rank): 49 (18th)
Projected Starting Lineup
QB: Josh McCown
RB: Bilal Powell
WR: Quincy Enunwa
WR: Robby Anderson
WR: ArDarius Stewart
TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
LT: Kelvin Beachum
LG: James Carpenter
C: Wesley Johnson
RG: Brian Winters
RT: Ben Ijalana
Passing Game Outlook
The bottoming-out Jets signed 38-year-old Josh McCown to be their short-term starter and an active mentor to young quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg, 22, and Bryce Petty, 26. McCown has mastered the art of losing in consecutive stints with the Bucs and Browns, going 2-20 as a starter over the past three seasons while losing practice and/or playing time to a jammed right ring finger, concussion, ankle sprain, bruised shoulder/ribs, and broken right (2015) and left (2016) collarbones. While McCown is capable of moving an offense for short stretches, even late in his career McCown’s play has bordered on reckless with an increasing inability to protect his body. Last year’s Jets offensive line allowed the NFL’s 12th most quarterback hits (95) despite attempting the league’s tenth-fewest passes. The Jets’ big offseason move was signing LT Kelvin Beachum, who earned PFF’s No. 68 grade among 76 qualified offensive tackles in Jacksonville last year, and allowed the eighth-most quarterback hits (37). Hackenberg gave no indication he was NFL ready last preseason, but he will get another chance this year. Beyond a few closed-eyes vertical prayers to Robby Anderson, Petty showed nothing across seven 2016 appearances (three starts) to suggest he has a long-term NFL future. The organization seems to be already turning the page on him.
Quincy Enunwa is the favorite for No. 1 wideout duties in a Jets offense missing the NFL’s eighth-most targets from last year’s roster (173). Used almost strictly as an interior receiver/H-back under outgoing OC Chan Gailey, Enunwa logged 75% of his 2016 snaps in the slot and drew an 8.9-yard average depth of target, lower than most NFL tight ends. Enunwa was a beast after the catch, though, standing in at 6-foot-2, 225 with 4.45 straight-line speed. Only six NFL wideouts averaged more yards after catch per reception (6.3), and only six forced more missed tackles (13) by PFF’s charts. Enunwa also ranked eighth among 88 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ YAC+ metric. Enunwa finished as the PPR WR45 on 105 targets, a number that stands to grow in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker’s wake. While efficiency and reliability are likely to remain elusive based on poor quarterback play, Enunwa looks like a high-floor investment with a decent ceiling at his WR44 (Fantasy Football Calculator) and WR47 (MFL10s) ADPs.
Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, and rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen will vie for leftover spots in New York’s wideout rotation. Petty’s boy Anderson flashed vertical ability when given chances last year, but he was arrested in May for allegedly pushing a police officer, and beat writers seem unconvinced Anderson is a lock to start. Second-year WR Peake is another plus-sized (6’2/209) run-after-catch specialist who caught 19 passes as a 2016 rookie on 31% of the Jets’ offensive snaps. No. 79 pick Stewart looked like a Pierre Garcon-Golden Tate combo on Alabama film, but underwent thumb and groin surgeries in June and is questionable for the start of training camp. At Cal, fourth-rounder Hansen reminded me of Patriots WR Chris Hogan as a reliable outside threat who won in the contested game and caught everything thrown to him downfield. Of this group, I think Anderson and Stewart stand the best odds at becoming meaningful 2017 contributors, albeit with low probability of fantasy relevance.
Claimed off waivers from the Bucs after a DUI arrest last September, Austin Seferian-Jenkins was slow to earn a role in Gailey’s tight end-unfriendly offense while battling ankle and hamstring injuries. He was suspended for two games in March. Plagued by alcohol problems since college, Seferian-Jenkins got clean and shed 25 pounds in the offseason before impressing at spring workouts. New Jets OC John Morton spent the last half decade between the 49ers and Saints’ coaching staffs, which made extensive use of tight ends Vernon Davis, Ben Watson, and Coby Fleener. When eligible in Week 3, ASJ should be given every opportunity to claim a big role in a passing game that could badly use a talent like him. At 6-foot-6, 262, Seferian-Jenkins ran an absurd 4.56 forty with a 37 ½-inch vertical before the 2014 draft after winning the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end in 2013. Even in a dysfunctional passing game, deep leaguers should be willing to take stabs at ASJ’s TE26 (FF Calc) and TE31 (MFL10s) ADPs.
Running Game Outlook
Matt Forte missed over half of 2016 training camp with a hamstring injury, then battled a knee injury for the entire season, costing him extensive practice time. Forte tore his right meniscus in Week 14, played through it in Week 15, suffered nerve damage in his shoulder, and missed the final two games. Forte had the knee scoped on December 30. As Forte’s $4 million salary is guaranteed, he was not part of the Jets’ offseason veteran purge. Forte was outplayed by Bilal Powell in 2016, leading beat writers to believe Powell will emerge as Gang Green’s lead back. At the same time, Forte has said publicly he plans to remain the “offensive workhorse.” Forte turns 32 later this year and ran out of gas on big workloads last season, so the beat writers’ expectation is reasonable if not likely. Although there are no indications Forte will be eliminated from the RBBC entirely, his floor-ceiling combination in a bad offense is too low to generate any real excitement, even at Forte’s low-cost RB41 (MFL10s) and RB42 (FF Calculator) ADPs.
As shoulder and knee injuries limited Forte to 19 just snaps played last Weeks 14-17, Bilal Powell took over as the Jets’ offensive engine for the final month. Todd Gurley was the only NFL running back to out-snap him over that stretch as Powell averaged 25.8 touches for 138.0 yards per game with three touchdowns. Le’Veon Bell was the only NFL back to score more fantasy points in Powell’s four-game workhorse window. Although his efficiency is inflated by facing light boxes while Forte and Chris Ivory before him handled the early-down grinding, Powell has averaged 5.15 yards per carry and 5.07 targets per game over the past two seasons, finding a niche as an underrated all-purpose back. This year’s Jets have the league’s softest 2017 running back schedule based on 2016 fantasy points allowed. While Powell still doesn’t have a ton of room for upside with Forte threatening for touches in a fantasy-unfriendly offense, I think he is pretty fairly priced at his RB25 (FF Calculator) and RB26 (MFL10s) ADPs.
Sixth-round pick Elijah McGuire is a preseason player to watch behind Forte and Powell as the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns’ all-time leader in all-purpose yards, with 129 receptions and a 6.1 yards-per-carry average on his college resume. Built low to the ground at 5-foot-10, 214, McGuire ran 4.52 before the draft but struggled in the three-cone drill (7.26), showing below-par agility. Nevertheless, McGuire is a sneaky bet for rookie snaps on a hopeless team with no long-term allegiances its older veteran backs.
2017 Vegas Win Total
The Jets’ Win Total is 4.5 with an extreme lean to the under (-170), unsurprising considering narratives that Gang Green is “tanking.” Whether outright tanking to lose as many games as possible or not, the Jets have certainly embraced a full-on rebuild in GM Mike Maccagnan’s third year. If tanking is indeed the right word, Maccagnan’s cause will be helped by facing the NFL’s fourth-toughest schedule in Warren Sharp’s forecasts. The Jets have a 0-3 win roster and don’t seem to have any designs on trying to squeeze wins out of it, which they may not be capable of even if they tried. Under is the only play here.