2020 Preview: New York Jets


Sam Darnold, Jets upset Cowboys in chaotic fashion

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

            The Jets began the 2019 season with promise. Head Coach Adam Gase was meant to help second-year quarterback Sam Darnold make progress. Instead, Darnold came down with Mono, then returned and saw ghosts, and along the way the Jets faded from playoff contention quickly. And this was despite adding star running back Le’Veon Bell in the off-season. In the first half, the Jets finished 1-7.

            But in the second half of the season, as Darnold got going and the Jets got on track, the team started to look better. The Jets went 6-2 in the second half, finishing 7-9 and looking a lot more competitive as the season hit the home stretch. Gase is back and so is Bell, the question is can Darnold take that step forward in year three.

Off-Season Changes

            The Jets changed out a lot of veteran role players. Ty Montgomery left for the Saints, Robby Anderson headed to the Carolina Panthers and Demaryius Thomas and Trevor Siemian remain unsigned. But the Jets re-loaded with plenty of veteran options, too. The team brought in ageless Frank Gore to add to the running back room and signed Joe Flacco to back up Darnold. They also signed veteran receiver Breshad Perriman to give the passing game some kick. Last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Perriman showed occasional pop as the third receiver and took a starring role when Mike Evans and Chris Godwin missed time. He finished with 36 receptions for 645 yards and six TDs during the season, including catching 17 passes while recording three 100 yard games and four TDs the final three weeks of the season. He figures to give the Jets’ passing game some pop.

            The team also looked for help in the draft, snagging Denzel Mims of Baylor in the Second Round. Mims grabbed 186 passes for 2,925 yards and 28 TDs in four years for the Bears. He should provide some solid pop in the passing game as well. The team also snagged running back La’Mical Perine to add depth to the running back room. But the Jets spent their top pick building their line by drafting tackle Mekhi Becton. They also worked on the line in free agency, adding tackle George Fant, center Connor McGovern and guard Greg Van Roten. All of which should help Darnold and Bell in 2020.

Fantasy Impact

            Darnold is a big question. He has been slowed each of his first two seasons by injuries and illness, but there’s a reason the Jets took him high in the 2018 draft. If he can put it together with Gase, he could move to the QB2 range. Despite his struggles at times in 2019 he finished as QB27. I think he can take a modest leap and be a low-to-middle QB2. In the backfield, Bell is a solid RB2. Though his stats weren’t flashy in 2019, he rushed for 789 yards but added 66 receptions for 461 yards. That was good enough to be RB16 last year, and I think he should improve on those numbers with a better line. Gore is little more than a handcuff, while Perine is more of a dynasty stash.

            Receivers are a bigger question. Perriman could be a deep threat and Mims is likely the receiver of the future, but the top receiver on the team is still Jamison Crowder. Crowder caught 78 passes for 833 yards and six TDs in 2019, and I think he’s a WR3 for fantasy. I like Mims for the future, but I think his rookie year could be slow. Perriman is more intriguing as a boom-or-bust WR4. The Jets also should have tight end Chris Herndon back. Between a suspension and injury, he was limited to just part of one game in 2019, but he’s a talented tight end when on the field. I think he’s a low-end TE2 in 2020.

Prediction

            Last year I thought the Jets could surprise and be a playoff team. The surprise was on me as they fell flat early and often looked lost on offense. But the team had a strong second half and faces a weaker AFC East. I think they’re around .500 but could get to the nine win range and challenge for a Wild Card.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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