2021 Stats (Rank)
Total Offense: 5,208 (26th)
Offensive Touchdowns: 34 (23rd)
Offensive Plays: 1,036 (27th)
Pass Attempts + Sacks: 656 (Ninth)
Rush Attempts: 380 (32nd)
Unaccounted for Targets: 192 (10th)
Unaccounted for Carries: Four (29th)
Zach Wilson was making the jump from playing Coastal Carolina and Boise State to Bill Belichick and Josh Allen. How did the Jets welcome him to the NFL? By having the league’s third-highest pass rate and seventh fastest pace. Game flow was the primary culprit. The Jets allowed a league-worst 504 points and were out-scored by a staggering 194. In theory, you simply have to pass — fast — in those situations. Whatever the cause, the Jets’ 2021 offensive approach was the exact worst way to set Wilson up for rookie success, especially since left tackle Mekhi Becton was limited to one game all season. The Jets are not necessarily backing down for 2022, where they used the No. 10 overall pick on passing-game weapon Garrett Wilson. They also used No. 36 on bruising running back Breece Hall, nodding to the fact that this has to be a more balanced, methodical attack in 2022 as Wilson continues to learn the NFL ropes.
Wilson’s rookie trial by fire had the expected results. He had more interceptions (11) than passing touchdowns (nine) and suffered a knee injury against Belichick’s Patriots as he ran for his life in Week 7. When he finally returned over a month later, the Jets had gotten the memo, holding Wilson to 24-or-fewer attempts in four of his final seven starts. He went from throwing nine picks over his first five games to two over his final seven. Reducing his turnovers was a critical first NFL step for Wilson, but he did not compensate with increased scores or big plays, managing just five passing touchdowns in the same time span. He averaged a dismal 5.77 yards per attempt during that stretch and 6.09 for the year.
Whatever metric you could find, traditional or otherwise, Wilson was near the bottom of the league. He completed a putrid 55.6 percent of his throws and threw an average of 1.5 yards short of the sticks. Next Gen Stats charted his completion percentage over expected as a shocking -10.3, the worst mark in the NFL by over two yards. Wilson simply was not accurate. It did not help that he averaged four weekly sacks behind his Becton-less line, though Wilson exacerbated his protection issues by taking an average time of 3.05 seconds to throw, an eternity behind a line like this. The Jets hope Becton’s return and the addition of left guard Laken Tomlinson will shore up Wilson’s protection.
Although billed as something of a dual threat, Wilson cleared 25 yards rushing only two times and 52 of his 185 yards came on a play that can only be described as the worst defense of all time by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He did contribute four scores on the ground, a non-trivial number. With both his line and skill corps upgraded, Wilson could present a greater threat as a runner this season. There is still enough upside here to make Wilson a person of interest in Superflex leagues and a potential spiked-week streamer in single-quarterback formats.
It will be second-year, second-rounder Elijah Moore leading Wilson’s receiver corps, at least to begin the year. The No. 34 overall pick of the 2021 Draft, Moore caught 34 passes for 459 yards and five scores over his final six appearances, posting six-catch days with each of Mike White, Josh Johnson, Joe Flacco and, yes, Wilson under center. It took a little longer than expected, but Moore took command of the Jets’ receiver group, producing regardless of which also-ran was delivering him the ball. If it took longer than expected, it also ended earlier than expected, with Moore missing the final five games with a quad injury.
Now entrenched in the middle of the field with Wilson and Corey Davis patrolling the outside — only 33.8 percent of Moore’s 2021 looks came in the slot — Moore should be the primary receptacle of the safe targets Gang Green needs to dial up as it looks to build Wilson’s confidence and productivity. There are more mouths to feed in this offense than there were a year ago, while Wilson’s progress cannot be taken for granted, but Moore has a realistic path to WR3 value.
First-rounder Garrett Wilson is the wild card. The No. 10 overall pick, Wilson arrives in the big leagues with a strong all-around reputation despite 4.38 speed that hints at deep-threat type usage. Wilson played 73 percent of his 2020 snaps in the slot at Ohio State before flipping that to 83 percent of his snaps out wide in 2021. He posted a 70/1,058/12 line as a true junior and averaged over 3.00 yards per route run each of his final two seasons. That is mouthwatering versatility, but Moore and Braxton Berrios’ Jets presence means Wilson will almost certainly begin his pro career on the perimeter. That could be a lonely place for a 6-foot-0 rookie fighting with Davis for targets from a second-year quarterback who is not going to be allowed to be cutting it loose on the outside. Despite his long-term upside — Wilson is still 21 years old as of this writing — he is best treated as a WR4/5 for his inaugural campaign.
A late bloomer for the 2020 Titans, free agent addition Corey Davis did not completely fade from relevance in his Wilson-led offense, though he did fall from WR31 by average PPR points to WR35. Of course, he was limited to just nine games by injuries, missing the final five contests of the season with a core muscle issue. Although it’s true Davis’ overall output probably would have come close to his 2020 Titans numbers, he was not producing like an every-week fantasy asset, clearing 50 yards receiving in just 3-of-9 appearances. He caught more than four balls three times and never posted more than five receptions. With Moore ascending and first-rounder Wilson joining, Davis is more WR5 than WR4, one unlikely to produce many spiked weeks.
The only other wideout of note is Braxton Berrios, who was a 2021 asset in a banged-up receiver corps but figures to find himself starved for targets in this growing and reinforced group. Like Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo, Berrios will only become a fantasy consideration if there are injuries in front of him. If there are, Berrios has flashed the ability to be a target hog, reaching 10 looks two times in his final four games of 2021.
Up the seam, 29-year-old free agent addition C.J. Uzomah is the primary option. A spiked-week specialist for Joe Burrow’s Bengals last season, Uzomah is going to have less upside potential in this crowded, under construction offense. Also the owner of a concerning recent injury history, Uzomah should remain strictly limited to matchup-based streaming.
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Fourth-round rookie Michael Carter was a rare 2021 bright spot for one of the league’s worst offenses, showing promise on all three downs. He is now a backup. Craving a power element to pair with their nascent passing attack, the Jets made Iowa State’s Breece Hall the draft’s first running back off the board at No. 36 overall. A rolling ball of butcher knives type, Hall stacked up a ridiculous 3,526 yards from scrimmage and 46 touchdowns over his final two seasons for the Cyclones. Not just a compiler, Hall blazed 4.39 at the Combine and showed strong tackle-breaking and breakaway ability on film. He is also a plus receiver with the ability to immediately handle passing work if needed.
We suspect the Jets will want to keep Carter on the field on third downs so as not to overwhelm their rookie, but Hall is talented enough to be an every-down back right now. He belongs in the top 20 at running back and has an outside shot at being an immediate RB1. The main issue is the offense he plays in. Game flow should remain a concern while goal-line carries will not be plentiful.
As for Carter, negative game script would likely work in his favor, but as mentioned above, it is not a guarantee he earns third-down duties over Hall. Carter, who did not impress the coaching staff enough to stave off an early-down replacement, will have to earn change-up work in camp. If he does, there should be enough checkdowns for Carter to compete for PPR FLEX status. Were Hall to go down with injury, we would not assume Carter simply slides in as the three-down replacement. 2021 nuisance Tevin Coleman remains on the roster as early-down competition.
The Jets are generally installed at 5.5, a number they have cleared just one time in the past six seasons. Although GM Joe Douglas has found potential cornerstones at quarterback, left tackle, cornerback and receiver, amongst other positions, the Jets’ brutal division is doing them no favors. Warren Sharp also charts them as having the league’s sixth most difficult schedule, one that includes a pre-bye gauntlet of vs. BAL, @CLE, vs. CIN, @PIT, vs. MIA, @GB, @DEN, vs. NE and vs. BUF. Yikes. Things ease up afterward with dates against the Bears, Lions, Jaguars and Seahawks, but six victories is going to be a tall task for this young and rebuilding squad.