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Jets Offense Ready for Takeoff - Le'Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson


The Jets picked up their first win of the season on Sunday, a rousing two-point victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Sam Darnold was the big story, returning to revive an offense that had scored 23 points in three games without him. Suddenly optimism is reigning in New York/New Jersey after the franchise QB came back to throw for 338 yards and two TDs against a highly regarded pass defense.

The Jets entire offense was obviously lifted by the return of their second-year passer who is viewed as the key to the future success of the franchise. They have not rostered a true star QB since Joe Namath was waived after the 1976 season.

"Sam's a special player," Le’Veon Bell told SportsNet New York. "So when you've got a guy in there who's able to make some plays, get the ball downfield and get everybody lined up perfectly, get everybody in and out the huddle, a vocal leader in the huddle -- he's a special player, so we've been missing that the last couple of weeks, so it felt good having him out there.” So, will the return of Darnold, along with a friendly upcoming schedule, spark the Jets in major ways from Fantasy perspectives?

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Friendly Skies Ahead

Darnold showed off his best form against Dallas, making crisp reads, completing passes with just the right amount of touch on them, while he demonstrated mobility in the pocket and kept focused on making plays downfield. He displayed a lot of the traits that led the Jets to select him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Jets fan base is buzzing as they prepare to host New England on Monday Night, After knocking off Dallas, many Jets fans believe they have a puncher’s chance against the Patriots despite losing the last six matchups to them. In the wake of New York’s offensive revival, their pass-catchers will be prime waiver adds this week. The enthusiasm surrounding the Jets could be short-lived against the league’s most smothering defense.

After Week 7, though, the Jets’ schedule really opens up for fantasy purposes. They face Jacksonville (23rd ranked overall defense in the NFL), Miami (32nd), the Giants (28th), Washington (25th), Oakland (17th) and Cincinnati (31st) before a second meeting with Miami in Week 14. The schedule makers really have rewarded New York with friendly draws in return for having to face New England.

Four of those opponents rank 20th or worse against the pass (Jacksonville and Cincinnati tied for 15th), so it’s a quality schedule for Darnold and his receivers. Jamison Crowder should be the top waiver pickup of the week at WR, and maybe third overall behind Hunter Henry and Jamaal Williams. He developed an instant rapport with Darnold in the preseason and caught 14 passes for 99 yards and a TD in the opener against the tough Buffalo secondary working with him. In Darnold’s return, he caught six passes for 98 yards against Dallas.

Crowder is owned in 57 percent of FleaFlicker leagues, as many owners cut him when Darnold was out. You should make him a prime target on waivers if you need WR help, especially during the byes. Crowder has never been a major TD producer, but he did catch seven in 2017. He fits in the Jets offense as the missing strong possession WR they were lacking last year. Crowder can slot into PPR lineups as an instant Fantasy starter.

Robby Anderson, available in 31 percent of FleaFlicker leagues, erupted for 125 yards on eight catches against a usually solid Dallas secondary. The highlight was a 92-yard TD reception that registered as the second-longest play from scrimmage in Jets franchise history.

Anderson will be less reliable than Crowder but has more upside in any given week. After the New England matchup, he deserves fantasy WR3 consideration every week going forward.

Demaryius Thomas caught four passes for 62 yards against Dallas, but will not be regularly useful in fantasy football as New York’s third wide receiver. He may be worthy of an occasional DFS punt selection against a team like Miami.

Fantasy owners who don’t have one of the better TEs should pick up Chris Herndon (37 percent owned), as he is past his suspension and may be able to return from a hamstring problem this week. He had a good on-field relationship with Darnold when the two were rookies, including a three-game stretch with a TD pass in every matchup. At 6-4, 253 he will be an ideal target for Darnold in scoring situations closer to the end zone.

 

Flying High Again

The Darnold return also boosts the outlook of Le’Veon Bell, as defenses can no longer load the box like they did against him when the starting QB was out. Plus, he will naturally have more chances to score as the finisher for a revitalized offense. Bell notched his first rushing TD of the season against Dallas, and had his only receiving TD in Darnold’s other start in the season opener vs. Buffalo.

Bell admirably worked very hard for his yardage when Darnold was out, and still had two games with 15-plus PPR points. After Week 7 it will be a good time to buy on him. He can potentially deliver Top 5 fantasy RB production in the second half of the season, as an easier schedule and improved passing game leads to some more room to run, frequent catches and TD opportunities. Heck, Bell had two games with seven catches or more when Darnold was out. He has yet to rush for 70 yards in a game this year but better rushing production is surely ahead.

Ty Montgomery is the handcuff to Bell and should be rostered for sure if you own New York’s featured RB. If Bell suffers an injury at any time, you do not want to scramble to the waiver wire to hopefully land Montgomery in that type of instance.

 

No More Plane Puns, But Better Times Ahead

As for Darnold himself, one performance does not suddenly put him in fantasy QB1 territory, But with his upcoming schedule, he is certainly in play as a quality streaming option. He does have more to prove in terms of reliability but certainly has the upcoming matchups to show he can become more dependable.

The Jets schedule bodes well for a turnaround from real and fantasy perspectives after Week 7. They could conceivably be 7-6 by the time the fantasy playoff quarterfinals begin in most leagues and even if they do not make the playoffs, the Jets could finish with a winning record this season. Even if they miss the NFL postseason, though, their key skill position players will help you make a strong fantasy playoff push.

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