2014 Team Outlook: New York Jets
QB Michael Vick, NYJ - Gamble (high risk)
Michael Vick is one of the most exciting and polarizing players to ever play. Vick has revolutionized the quarterback position and is the ultimate dual-threat. His issue is (and has always been) his health. Vick has only once played all 16 games in a season, which was way back in 2006. Vick is clearly the most talented quarterback on the Jets' roster, but a subpar minicamp has opened the door for second-year man Geno Smith to be the Week 1 starter. Vick will get his opportunity, because the bottom line is he is a much better player than Smith is right now; however, the Jets understand in order for Smith to improve, he must play. Vick was having an average season for the Eagles in 2013 when he once again was injured. Nick Foles came in and played so well that Vick never got his job back. Vick may have realized that his playing days are numbered, so he has added four pounds of solid muscle to help improve his durability. Vick's fantasy status is on a wait-and-see basis, but when he gets his opportunity to start (and he will), we all know what he is capable of. Vick is most likely only draft worthy in deeper leagues as a backup. One big game though and he will be a hot commodity on the waiver wire.
QB Geno Smith, NYJ - Deep-league Only
In his rookie season, Geno Smith showed why he slipped out of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Much like his day at West Virgina, Smith was wildly inconsistent and was a turnover machine. Smith threw just 12 touchdowns to go along with 21 interceptions and seven fumbles. These numbers resulted in a 35.9 QBR. While Michael Vick is clearly the superior quarterback, Smith is expected to be the Jets' starter. He has been taking 75-percent of the snaps with the starting unit this offseason. His passing numbers are miserable; however, Smith is a decent runner. He carried the ball 72 times for six TDs and 366 yards. He lacks elite speed, yet defenses have to respect his ability to take off out of the pocket. Smith did have a few big fantasy weeks against Buffalo, Atlanta and a tough Cleveland defense. He also went from October 20th to December 8th without throwing a single touchdown pass and that just can't happen again if he wants to keep his job. With awful play like this, Smith can't be trusted to put up respectable numbers. Even with new weapons like free agent WR Eric Decker and rookie TE Jace Amaro, Smith is at best a desperation fill-in; and if he falters, don't be surprised if the Jets call upon Vick. Rex Ryan wants to win now and he most likely won't hesitate to move on from Smith if he has another bad season.
QB Tajh Boyd, NYJ - Not Draft Worthy
Boyd could get a legitimate shot as soon as 2015, assuming Geno Smith struggles and Michael Vick is either injured or unproductive. Boyd is definitely worth a look if he can make the 53-man roster, but only in the deepest of dynasty leagues.
RB Chris Johnson, NYJ - Quality Backup
Chris Johnson is a fantasy enigma. Since his 2000-yard season (which earned him the "CJ2K" nickname), Johnson has become increasingly frustrating. His week-to-week inconsistency has frustrated owners for years. Still, at the end of the year the numbers are there. In 2013, Johnson rushed for over 1,000 yards, caught 42 passes and scored 10 touchdowns. Something about Johnson still makes fantasy owners weary. His numbers are strong and (despite only weighing 206 pounds) Johnson is one of the most durable backs in the league. One troubling statistic is his 3.9 yards per carry. This could be a sign of decline. It could also be a product of a bad offensive line in Tennessee and no passing threat to take defenders out of the box. Many claim his durability is actually a product of him tip-toeing behind the line and not hitting the hole. This timid style protects him from injury, while limiting his potential to break off big runs. Others feel he has been overworked and is only now beginning to show real signs of wear and tear. Johnson might split carries in a two-back system with Chris Ivory. Third-string RB Bilal Powell would also take a few carries, as well as third down duties when needed. Johnson has always been a feature back with little to no competition. A lighter workload could increase his efficiency. Johnson is surrounded by a lot of questions and what lies ahead in 2014 is anybody's guess. Johnson should be drafted as a RB2 and his value increases in PPR leagues. His ADP (RB25, 73.52) offers a little bit of upside since so many fantasy owners are very skeptical of his ability to produce.
Editor's note: Johnson has just missed one game in his whole career. He has always rushed for over 1,000 yards while adding significant reception and receiving yard totals. He is without question one of the most reliable, dependable and consistently productive backs in the NFL. The only problem is he has sometimes underperformed based on his ADP in the past. A bad value hurts, but not as badly as a player who can't stay on the field. Johnson is a safe pick, regardless of his reputation.
RB Chris Ivory, NYJ - Bye Week Fill-in
Chris Ivory has always put up solid numbers, but has had a hard time staying on the field. Ivory was relatively healthy in 2013, though. Ivory's touches will be limited thanks to the arrival of Chris Johnson. While Ivory averages almost five yards a carry for his career, he has never carried the ball more than 182 times in a season. Ivory is a non-factor in the passing game, which really hurts his PPR value. How the Jets divide up carries is yet to be seen, but expect Johnson to be the top guy in New York. Ivory will also have to contend with Bilal Powell and Daryl Richardson. Ivory will likely lead the Jets in yards per carry; however, Johnson will lead this backfield in fantasy points. Ivory should be drafted as a bench player and maybe even left on the waiver wire in PPR.
RB Bilal Powell, NYJ - Low Potential
This former Louisville running back has been a disappointment since being drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Powell is averaging 3.9 yards per carry in his career and has never rushed for 700 yards or scored more than five touchdowns in a season. Now Powell finds himself on the outside looking in at a two-headed monster of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory. Powell's biggest success in the Jets' offense was catching passes out of the backfield last season. He was clearly the superior receiver between himself and Ivory. In 2014, Chris Johnson will surely fill that role and thus push Powell further to the fringes of the game. This leaves Powell in limbo. Unless Johnson gets injured, don't expect Powell to have much fantasy relevance. In a crowded Jets backfield, Powell is not draft worthy in any format because of his limited role in the offense.