Fantasy Reaction: Eric Decker & the Mess Left with the Jets
This off-season has been nothing but a filthy, stinky mess in the part of our country known as the “arm-pit of the nation”. My mother-in-law reminds me that she hails from New Jersey and how she never thought of it as a wasteland growing up. However in 2017, there doesn’t seem to be much excitement brewing in East Rutherford. Instead, there is potential for a garbage-filled dump… which can still lead to fantasy football points being scored.
With the recent news that Eric Decker will be released or traded, the New York Jets will create about $5.75 million in cap space. This move was born out of cleaning house as the Jets look like a major bottom feeder talent-wise the next couple of years. In the last year and a half, they’ve cut fellow Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold (and friend of the podcast), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to save space in the budget.
Let’s sort out the mess with the Jets and see what type of fantasy value we can project moving forward in 2017. For full premium projections for the Jets pass catchers, check out the Ultimate Draft Kit.
What’s Left in New York?
Of the 546 targets seen by Jets pass catchers in 2016, 149 of them have now left town after Marshall and Decker are gone. That number was 305(!) targets in 2015, which was maybe a better indicator considering Decker was hurt for most of 2016. Regardless, there’s definitely a surplus of targets to go around even if they might be poorly thrown ones from a Jets QB. Let’s address the mess left in New York and how things could shake out in the passing game.
In my opinion, the biggest beneficiary with Decker’s release is Enunwa. I wrote back in March, “he seems to have a knack for finding soft spots in zones and being able to rack up yards after the catch especially when he gets a full head of steam going. I can honestly see a 70-1000-5 in his foreseeable future with even more of a stamp of approval if Decker and his contract is cut soon.” For a full look at Enunwa’s NFL game film, check out his What’s On Tape article.
I’ve bumped up Enunwa a bit in projections although his route running and success versus coverage (found in his exclusive UDK Reception Perception charting by Matt Harmon) suggests we’re looking at someone who profiles more as a No. 2 with the ability to be a giant target in the slot. He’s a fairly big and built body ala in the Anquan Boldin mold so he’s also able to play on the outside and will be forced into that role with Decker gone. He should easily improve on 2016’s numbers and I can see a return of low-end WR2 weekly value. I’m projecting over 110 targets for Enunwa which more than pays for his current draft price as the 59th WR off the board and 143rd overall in MFL10s.
Recently, former teammate Brandon Marshall claimed Anderson could be a “No. 1 WR” but definitely needs to turn around some off-the-field issues. After being charged with a felony of resisting a police officer with violence, Andersen seems to be on thin ice.
He finished 2016 with 42 catches for 587 yards and two touchdowns as Bryce Petty‘s favorite target late in the season. In three consecutive weeks, Anderson was finished as a WR2 in PPR leagues (Weeks 13-15). But before you get too excited and draft the wiry WR, remember it’s best to monitor the news as legal things sort themselves out. Right now, Anderson is worth a flier at best in deep redraft leagues and a spot at the end of the bench in dynasty.
Stewart is getting lauded as an interesting sleeper pick by many after this Decker news. The 5″11 WR out of Alabama was taken in the 3rd round and yet has missed out on OTAs with a thumb injury. As a rookie WR, it’s never a good thing to be absent from your first training camp. However, assuming this isn’t a lingering issue, Stewart projects as someone able to step in year one and contribute.
When I looked at the total targets available, it’s possible for Stewart to see upwards of 80 targets. However, once Jalin Marshall returns from his suspension, his role and looks could be siphoned elsewhere. I still think if Stewart escapes pre-season with an established role as the 3rd option in the passing game he can surprise. It’s nothing too sexy, but 45-550-2 is his current projectable stat line, which is basically what Robby Anderson was last year.
Another rookie WR, Hansen was selected in the 4th round of the draft after exploding in his final year at Cal. His pre-draft Reception Perception write-up by Matt Harmon showcased that Hansen profiles as an outside receiver after seeing 97.5 percent of his snaps on the outside. There’s a fair amount of data highlighting that college WRs exclusively lining up outside have a tough transition into the pro game. Hansen does not project as draftable this year despite Decker leaving town especially after starting OTAs with a hamstring injury. Other than being a later pick dynasty leagues, Hansen is someone you can ignore in 2017.
Promising anything for a Jets TE is certainly laughable as the Jets have utilized the TE position least among any NFL team over the past 3 years. Remember Jace Amaro? If you were ever excited about fellow TE Jeff Cumberland, you’ve probably buried yourself by now.
You know Sefarian-Jenkins as the former hyped headcase who is now in TE purgatory and suspended for the first 2 games of the season. ASJ is a physical specimen and someone who can take advantage of defenses especially on seam routes down the middle of the field. He was basically an afterthought last season seeing a measly 20 targets in 9 games. Never seeing more than 45% of the snaps, Todd Bowles preferred the incumbent Cumberland more as a blocker. Don’t waste a pick on ASJ as he’s a DFS dart throw at best all season long.
Leggett enters a Jets team void of playmakers and options in the passing game. I think he is mostly going unnoticed based on the Jets passing schemes and not his talent. At Clemson, Leggett was employed often out wide as his 6’5″, 258 pounds frame blotted out the sun and opposing defenders. He was highly productive although comes in as a questionable blocker. However, it’s clear he will be behind ASJ after the first two weeks. Rookie TEs need time and Leggett is still an intriguing dynasty stash.
Whoever the QB is…
Yikes. Who is it? Josh McCown? Christian Hackenberg? Bryce Petty? What kind of fantasy value can we expect? The Jets pass catchers had the second worst catch percentage in the league (57%) which can be attributed to having gun-slingers and lollypop QBs throwing the rock
With McCown, the QB definitely has that “we-could-throw-for-300-and-3” or “I-could-mortally-injury-myself-in-the-1st-quarter” kind of mentality. In other words, he is a wild-card and someone who only has value in 2-QB and superflex leagues. Hackenberg is a train wreck in the limited we’ve seen of him and someone definitely not worth the 2nd round draft pick the team invested in 2016. Be prepared to endure the worst of the worst and utilize them only as a DFS contrarian play. Still, because it’s an NFL offense, we are looking at 3,500+ passing yards which must be distributed somewhere. Asking for more than 20 TDs is a bit of stretch.