The 2017 NFL regular season has concluded, so it’s time to briefly examine the state of each team’s skill positions for fantasy purposes with an eye towards next season. I will be reviewing each team in the reverse order of the 2017 NFL standings. The next team on the docket:
New York Jets (5-11)
Josh McCown turned out to be a pleasant surprise for both the Jets and fantasy managers alike, as the 38-year old journeyman was a Top-15 fantasy scorer at his position in 8-of-13 games played before succumbing to a hand injury in Week 14. McCown’s play was a big reason the Jets finished with as many wins as they did, as many pundits (myself included) predicted they, and not the Browns, would finish the season with the NFL’s worst record. It’s not out of the question the Jets retain McCown’s services for another season either as their stopgap starter or a mentor for whomever the Jets choose as his successor. The Jets quarterback plans for 2018 and beyond most likely do not include Bryce Petty, who has averaged just 135.3 passing yards per game with a 4:10 touchdown to interception ratio over 10 career starts, or Christian Hackenberg, who has yet to play a regular season snap since being drafted 51st overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Bilal Powell finished the season with career highs in carries, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns, though a whopping 39.9 percent of his yardage came in Weeks 4 and 16, and his 23 receptions were his lowest since 2014. Powell figures to enter 2018 as the Jets lead back, and is capable of a big game here or there, though it’s likely his overall numbers continue to be suppressed due to the team’s committee approach to their run game. Matt Forte’s 381 rushing yards were a career low for a season, as a nagging knee injury sapped both his playing time and effectiveness. Given Forte is a 32-year old running back who hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2014, it would make sense for the rebuilding Jets to part ways with him this off-season. Sixth-round rookie Elijah McGuire flirted with fantasy relevance this past season (mainly as a result of his 93-yard/one touchdown performance against Jacksonville in Week 4), and assuming the Jets do indeed move on from Forte, McGuire could find himself as the 1B to Powell’s 1A in the Jets backfield mix for 2018.
After an inauspicious start to the season, Robby Anderson made good on the prediction he would emerge as the Jets no. 1 wideout and build on his success from the 2016 season. Between Weeks 3 and 13, Anderson averaged 77.1 receiving yards per game, and scored all 7 of his touchdowns. Unfortunately, the late-season loss of Josh McCown rendered Anderson useless from a fantasy perspective, as he amassed just 120 receiving yards from Week 14 onward. Going into his third NFL season, Anderson’s rapport with McCown (assuming he’s retained as the 2018 starter) should keep the speedy wideout in the WR2/3 discussion. Acquired via a trade with Seattle last September, Jermaine Kearse immediately worked his way into the Jets starting lineup, and managed to post career highs in receptions and receiving yards. Going on 28 years old, it’s most likely Kearse is who he is at this point, and will be hard-pressed to repeat his 2018 stats going forward with Quincy Enunwa returning from injury and 2017 draft picks Chad Hansen/ArDarius Stewart entering year two.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins missed the first two games of the season as the result of a suspension stemming from a 2016 DUI arrest, and was able to establish himself as a key red zone weapon for the Jets early in the year (he only scored three touchdowns, but had several others overturned via reviews). Though he only went over 31 receiving yards in just three of 13 games played, ASJ managed to more-than double his career-high in receptions for a season, and appears to have rehabilitated his image after battling numerous off-field issues. Seferian-Jenkins will enter free agency this spring, and it is currently unclear whether he’ll be back with the Jets. Still only 25 years-old, the former 2014 second-round pick could offer low-end TE1 upside depending on where he lands.