The Beard is Back, Can Jets Fitzpatrick Recreate Fantasy Gold?

New York Jets Fantasy Outlook 2016

After several months of back-and-forth and extremely unusual negotiations, Ryan Fitzpatrick has re-signed with the New York Jets. Considering the team would most likely have tried to replace him with Geno Smith, this is good news for the Jets playmakers. We’ll break it down a little bit further and look at all the fantasy football relevant players that will suit up for the Gang Green this upcoming season and where you should be targeting them in your re-draft league.

DISCLAIMER: Any 2016 MyFantasyLeague.com average draft position (ADP) statistics are up-to-date as of July 28th, 2016.

Brandon Marshall | WR

Brandon Marshall FantasyIn the 2015 off-season, the Chicago Bears traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall and a seventh round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick. That trade proved to pay off in a big way for the Jets as Marshall had a terrific season. He would set a new career high in receiving touchdowns (14) while coming within six receiving yards of his career high with 1,502 yards and within nine receptions of his career high with 109. In fantasy football, Marshall finished as the third best wide receiver in both standard and points-per-reception (PPR) format.

He turned out to be a terrific bargain as he had an ADP in MyFantasyLeague.com (MFL) re-draft leagues of the 21st wide receiver taken. But as we approach Marshall’s 11th season in the league, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not he can duplicate these statistics again in 2016 now that his quarterback is back under center. While Marshall dealt with minor injuries throughout 2015, he would play in all 16 games, a feat he has accomplished now four times in the past five seasons. Thus, his ability to stay on the field should not be questioned even though he’s now 32.

The Jets team looks nearly the same as of right now as it did in 2015 as Marshall and Eric Decker are expected to be the focal points of the passing offense again. While it may be hard for Marshall to produce another 109/1,502/14 stat line in 2016, there is little to no doubt that he can have another terrific season. He should be considered a safe bet for 85-90 receptions, 1,300-1,350 receiving yards and eight to ten receiving touchdowns. Much like last year, Marshall is shaping up to be a bargain based on his ADP as he is being taken as the 17th wide receiver off the board.

He may not be a top five wide receiver again in 2016, but he is a very good bet to finish around the six to eight range and a lock for a WR1 in both standard and PPR scoring formats.

Matt Forte | RB

Matt Forte FantasyThe big new addition to the Jets offense, Forte comes over from the Bears after playing his first eight seasons in Chicago. Forte is coming off another solid season in fantasy football, as he finished as the 9th best running back in standard and the 7th best in PPR scoring leagues in 2015. Forte finished with over 1,200 yards from scrimmage and had seven total touchdowns on more than 250 combined touches. And this is all with him only playing 13 games as well.

In 2015, Chris Ivory had a breakout year as the Jets starting running back but left for the Jaguars in free agency. The void will now be filled by Forte, as he will bring his terrific receiving ability and solid rushing skills to the Jets. Forte has always produced high rushing yard totals with almost 900 in every season other than 2015 (898) and at least 300 yards in receiving. In his first eight seasons, Forte has played in all 16 games five times and has finished with less than 15 games only twice thus far. He does often deal with injuries but has usually found a way to play through them and stay at a solid level.

The Jets had the 10th most rushing attempts in the NFL in 2015 and nothing suggests thus far that they can’t stay in the top third of the NFL in that stat again in 2016. Expect Forte to be used as the team’s “workhorse” running back and easily surpassing 200 rushing attempts. Forte will most likely still be used as a focal point in the passing offense despite the new team, where he could see 40-50 receptions in 2016. There is some concern that he could miss some time eventually after coming off a 13 game season, so it’s fair to account for one or two missed games potentially. Even still, it would not be shocking to see Forte finish with around 900-950 rushing yards, five or six rushing touchdowns to go with 40-45 receptions, 300-350 receiving yards and three to four receiving touchdowns.

In standard scoring leagues, Forte may not be a safe bet to be an RB1, but he has the chance to be a very good high-end to mid-tier RB2 in the 15-17 range. His ADP in MFL standard scoring re-draft leagues is the 17th overall running back taken, so this is right on point. For PPR leagues, Forte has the chance to slip into the low-end RB1 ranks in the 12-14 range due to his receiving chops. For PPR re-draft leagues, Forte is the 16th overall running back taken, so he could actually be a value right now.

Eric Decker | WR

[the_ad id=”63198″]Decker had another very solid season stat-wise in 2015 as he finished with 80 receptions, 1,027 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns and leading the league in red zone targets. For the fifth consecutive season, he played in at least 15 games and proved to be one of the best, if not the best #2 wide receiver in the NFL. Decker finished as the 10th best wide receiver in standard scoring and 14th best in PPR scoring leagues in 2015. He will come into 2016 as an undervalued wide receiver as he was in 2015 (his ADP was 33rd wide receiver taken in MFL re-draft leagues) as he is currently being taken as the 29th wide receiver taken in MFL re-draft leagues thus far.

Despite functioning as the Jets #2 wide receiver in 2015, Decker ranked in the top 10 in the entire NFL in receiving touchdowns and the top 20 in receptions. As with Brandon Marshall, Decker’s role isn’t going to change and he will continue to be a focal point in this offense. He may not have 12 touchdowns again, but he can be counted on to have 70-80 receptions, 900-1,100 yards and six to eight touchdowns in 2016, which is very similar stats what he did in 2015.

As mentioned above, Decker is currently vastly underrated as the 29th wide receiver overall and provides terrific value. He can be counted on to have another solid season and be a top 25 wide receiver in fantasy again in 2016. He should be viewed as a low-end WR2 / high-end WR3, which would put him right in the 22-25 range.

Ryan Fitzpatrick | QB

Ryan FitzpatrickThe Fitz man is back! In what can go down in NFL history as one of the strangest contract/non-contract squabbles ever, a resolution has finally come. Ryan Fitzpatrick has already appeared at training camp and been named the starting quarterback (not that it didn’t already go without mentioning) for 2016. As a career journeyman, Fitzpatrick had a career season in 2015 with 3,905 passing yards and 31 touchdowns thrown. It doesn’t hurt though when he has arguably the best wide receiver duo in Marshall and Decker to throw to.

Fitzpatrick will be entering his 12th season in the NFL and despite that, has the chance to have another solid season. With the addition of dual-threat running back Matt Forte and his returning core of Marshall and Decker, Fitzpatrick will not have a shortage of talented pass-catchers to throw to. It may be harder for him to replicate his stats from 2015 but he is still expected to very much be a fantasy football relevant quarterback in 2016.

After finishing as the 11th best quarterback in 2015, Fitzpatrick will most likely be outside the top 12 and slip into the 14-18 quarterback range ultimately as his stat-line with almost 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns will very hard to replicate. For more reasonable numbers, Fitzpatrick should probably see around 3,200-3,500 passing yards with 23-25 touchdowns, which are very respectable numbers. The Jets added Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson along with re-signing Bilal Powell, so we could see them go more towards the run a bit in 2016. Fitzpatrick is a very solid QB2 for 2016 who could have streamer value depending on the match-up.

Bilal Powell | RB

[the_ad id=”58837″]Lastly, Mr. Bilal Powell. Powell will enter 2016 as the primary back-up to Matt Forte after he re-signed with the team this past off-season for three years and $11.25 million. That is not bad money for a back-up running back and the Jets are clearly happy to have him back as their #2 rusher. To put it in perspective, the Jets signed starting running back Matt Forte to a three-year deal worth $12 million. Powell will still see the field a good amount as a pass-catching running back who will also work as the change-of-pace guy as well.

Powell actually finished off 2015 with a strong two-game stretch where he was a top 10 running back in PPR leagues and a top 20 running back in standard leagues. Talent has never been an issue for the 27-year-old running back out of Louisville and he will be a valuable asset for the team even though he isn’t the starter for them. In fantasy football, Powell is a very solid handcuff to Matt Forte and that could come in handy as Forte is going into his age-30 season and has a tendency to deal with injuries. But even as a stand-alone running back, Powell has the chance to be a solid RB4 in PPR leagues as their #4 target in the passing game.

Powell may not carry as much fantasy value as the other Jets players, but he is still worthy of being rostered in 12-team leagues. If he ever stepped in for Matt Forte, Powell would have immediate top 15 running back value. Currently having an ADP of the 49th running back taken in PPR leagues, Powell stands to potentially be a value at this current draft position. It would be wise to remember him on draft day.

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