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Addition By Subtraction: Zach Wilson's Benching A Boost For Jets' Fantasy Football Outlooks

Mike White - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

As the New York Jets exit Week 12 with a 31-10 victory over the Chicago Bears, both Jets fans and fantasy football managers are basking in the afterglow of what life looks like without Zach Wilson under center.

Gang Green's backers are probably amazed in equal parts that their team enters a Week 13 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings with a 7-4 record and that they scored more than 20 points for the first time since Week 6.

Mike White's surprise insertion into the Jets' starting lineup was undoubtedly a spark for an offense that produced just 44 passing yards and three points in a Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots with Wilson at the helm. White turned a sluggish offensive unit around, posting 31 points against the Chicago Bears. This offensive awakening led to a fantasy windfall for managers of players like Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore (remember him?). Fantasy GMs were probably confused, yet pleasantly surprised, by the double-digit fantasy scores beside Wilson and Moore's names.

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Zach Wilson's 2022 Struggles

I'm not sure exactly what the Jets expected from Zach Wilson when they selected him with the second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, but I know it wasn't this.

To say the second-year QB has struggled in 2022 would be an understatement. Wilson currently stands as the overall fantasy QB31 and has thrown for less than 250 yards in five of his seven starts this year.

While the 37-year-old corpse of Joe Flacco passed for 901 yards and five TDs while filling in for an injured Wilson over the first three games of the season, Wilson has managed to throw for just 378 more yards - and one less TD - than Flacco this year, despite the fact that he's appeared in four more games than the veteran.


The Trickle-Down Effect

Obviously, Wilson's struggles have had a trickle-down effect on the rest of this Jets' offense.

Though roundly considered to be a talented receiving corps, Wilson's glaring inability to throw the ball down the field has all but eliminated the possibility of splash plays for this group of pass catchers.

This deficiency has led to Garrett Wilson posting underwhelming numbers, Elijah Moore demanding a trade, and Tyler Conklin being an afterthought.

The second-year QB holds a putrid 21.1% deep ball completion rate, a mark that ranks 35th in a 32-team league.


Garrett Wilson Is Really, Really Good

As we ponder that math, let's also contemplate talented rookie wideout Garrett Wilson's production with and without Zach. In seven games with QB Wilson at the helm, WR Wilson has topped 50 yards receiving just twice -- while in five games without him, he's crossed that 50-yard benchmark every single time.

New York's 2022 first-round pick out of Ohio State currently holds a PFF receiving grade of 81.8, which is the 12th-highest out of 118 graded wide receivers. Translation...he's very good.

Despite Wilson's obvious ability, his fantasy production has been severely limited by New York's quarterback play. In seven games with Zach Wilson at QB, he's averaging 4.7 fantasy points per game in standard leagues. That number spikes to 13.65 fantasy points per game when someone other than Wilson is throwing him passes.


All The (Mike) White Moves

Although the statistics show that this Jets offense would be better with, well, practically any quarterback other than Wilson, Mike White did put forth an outstanding performance in his first start of 2022 last week against Chicago. White led New York to a season-high 466 yards of total offense while passing for 315 yards and three TDs against the Bears.

Though we can't expect this type of output from White on a weekly basis - the Bears rank 31st in the league in Total Defense DVOA - he's already flashed a ceiling that Wilson has rarely touched.

White is also aided by a favorable Jets schedule down the stretch, as he's currently set to face four squads ranked 19th or worse in Pass Defense DVOA over New York's last five games.

While no one is claiming that White is the next Joe Namath - or even the next Chad Pennington - he's not Zach Wilson either. For the New York organization and those fantasy managers with Jets players on their rosters, that's good enough for now.

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