2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: New York Jets
There is no argument the 2014 New York Jets were significantly underwhelming. With Geno Smith under center for the second consecutive season the Jets offense failed to sparkle yet again. The defense took some hits as well with a fairly inept secondary that not only was riddled by injury but riddled by incompetent play. Exit Rex Ryan & company, enter Todd Bowles the former Defensive Coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals as the new Jets Head Coach. Since Bowles arrival the Jets have overhauled both sides of the ball and the coaching staff bringing in new coordinators for both offensive and defensive squads, a few new pass catching options for Geno and two running backs with the history of 900+ yards rushing and 7+ touchdowns. The defense saw a massive facelift as well with the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in the secondary and the drafting of arguably the top selection in the rookie class in Leonard Williams from USC.
If you are a fan of the New York Jets you are accustomed to clumsiness from the Quarterback position for decades, save a few options. For the last five years the New York Jets have been in a world wind of sub-par play out of the position starting with Mark Sanchez, Mike Vick and now with Geno Smith. Geno is entering his third year in the league with a tight leash and high hopes from the rest of the organization. Highly touted coming out of College the former West Virginia signal caller dropped in the draft from the first round projection to a second round selection and ever since he has proven he has not been ready for the limelight. Heading into 2015 Geno can’t just be locked in as the #1 option on the team, new General Manager Mike Maccagnan made immediate impact on the roster with the trade for Houston Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the drafting of Baylor QB Bryce Petty. Petty is the more explosive option from the position shining bright at college while Fitz is the experienced veteran who can manage the game the right way. Geno Smith may be the front-runner at the start of training camp but with so many eyes on him the slightest of mishaps over the next fifty or so days could signal the end of the Geno era.
2014 wasn’t very successful for an individual back on the roster, although, combined they gained for a little over 1,000 yards. In 2015 the New York Jets have five capable players that can run the rock. The Jets went out and traded for Zac Stacey formerly from St. Louis and signed former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in the offseason, both have 1,000 yard upside. Meanwhile veterans Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Daryl Richards remain on the roster, with Ivory having the biggest advantage to get a bulk of the carries. Chances are the New York Jets Running Back position will be by committee with Ivory getting the majority of the snaps as the first team back, but the rest of the position is a complete crapshoot. The one thing we can be pretty sure of is that the Jets won’t enter week one of the season with five backs on the roster; we may not even see four.
If you have been paying attention the theme so far has been sub-par play from all positions, the wide receiver group wasn’t much different. The 2014 offseason wasn’t as eventful for the Jets as 2015, but going into last season the Jets made sure to begin fixing their depleted Wide Receiver crew with the signing of former Broncos standout receiver Eric Decker and the mid-season trade for Percy Harvin. The Harvin experiment didn’t last very long and he was quickly shipped out of Jets camp earlier this year, but to replace him the Jets traded for Brandon Marshall and drafted Devin Smith from Ohio State University. The QB position is still a complete jungle but with the upgrades at wide out the Jets could get back to a highflying offense that they haven’t seen since the Keyshawn Martin days.
Rookie Jace Amaro had wildly raving reports coming out of college that would announce him as the next big thing. Big, strong blocker with the ability to go down field both from the line of scrimmage and out wide, the first year tight end out of Texas Tech was expected to exploit defensive matchups. That unfortunately, wasn’t the case. Accompanying Amaro on the offense are veterans Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow JR., neither of which will be world burners at the position but if Amaro can get his bearings under him he could be a solid sleeper option for this offense in 2015.
Unlike the offensive side of the ball the defense has been a significant part of the New York Jets for many years. In fact, it’s been one of the only spots on the squad that remind you of a professional team. Nevertheless, the 2014 season wasn’t the kindest of years for a team with such a star-studded defensive line and a Head Coach that is known for his defensive prowess. The Jets finished 14th against the pass, 24th in total points given up, 6th in sacks but dead last in interceptions, a glaring weakness. With the new regime at the helm Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan made sure to reconstruct the defense with the signing of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to bolster the secondary and drafted Leonard Williams to help on the line. The Jets will take a hit with the current mess Sheldon Richardson has put himself in with the suspension and the police chase he had earlier in July but the Jets have put themselves in a great position to return back to the top of the leagues core defenses.
Player to Watch
Entering his third year with the starting gig Geno Smith will be given a short leash to be able to perform at a top level. Smith has been a massive disappointment thus far in his short career that goes without saying but with the weapons the New York Jets put around him this offseason it is time for him to take the next step. His play will immediately impact those around him, which could cripple a fantasy team if he doesn’t get right.
The New York Jets are the fourth stop on Brandon Marshalls illustrious career. Shocking because he has played so well for all teams, however, the stat that stands out is how well he plays for those teams in his first full year as starter.
In 2007 Brandon Marshall was given the starting nod for the Broncos and finished the year with 102 catches, 1,325 yards and 7 scores, for the Dolphins in 2010 he went 86/1,014/3 and for the Bears in 2012 he compiled 118 receptions for more than 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. This gives him an average stat line of 102 grabs, 1,282 yards and 7 touchdowns. If he can get close to those average numbers both Geno Smith and Jet fans alike will have a very great year.