By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
Even when the New York Jets were a top team in the AFC East in 2009 and 2010, they’ve always held little value in fantasy football. With inconsistent quarterback play, many of their offensive weapons were not reliable and consistent enough to start on a week to week basis. Not much has changed going into the 2013 season, but the defense/special teams unit might surprise a lot of people in regards to fantasy value.
On multiple websites that host fantasy football leagues I’ve seen the Jets defense/special teams ranked from 13th-27th amongst all NFL teams. Seeing them left out of many “analysts” top twenty is absolutely laughable. I’m sure many of your buddies in your league will laugh when or if you take the Jets defense/special teams in the top 15, but you will be the one laughing when the seasons end. Let’s take a look at five reasons the Jets defense/special teams will finish in the top 15 in fantasy production amongst other teams.
1) Kick Returns
Joe McKnight is one of the best kick returners in the entire league. Even if McKnight surprisingly fails to make the team, back up options such as Antonio Cromartie, Mike Goodson, and various UDFA’s will most likely find success. Although Mike Westhoff is gone, he has been grooming new special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica for quite some time.
2) Nick Folk is Back
Folk is quietly one of the most reliable kicker’s in the entire league, on a team that always struggles to punch the ball in the end zone. He might not possess a booming leg like Sebastian Janikowski, but Folk is money from 40 yards or closer.
3) Improved Pass Rush
Rex Ryan plans to use a more aggressive style of defense much like he did in 2009, which should aid a lackluster pass rush. Along with the overall game plan, new comers Sheldon Richardson and Antwan Barnes are excellent rushers, while youngsters Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson seem to be developing quite nicely.
4) Improved Pass Rush Creates More Turn Over Opportunities
The less time the quarterback has to throw, the more stupid decisions he will likely make. Antonio Cromartie is an elite cornerback with superb hands. Rookie Dee Milliner doesn’t possess elite hands like Cromartie, but can certainly be a threat to intercept the ball due to his elite man coverage skills.
5) Speed in the Linebacker Corps
Demario Davis is a perfect example of a sideline to sideline linebacker. Playing behind a potentially excellent defensive line will clear a lot of space for him and David Harris, making their job as run stuffers much easier. The Jets were an easy team to run against last season and you can bet Rex Ryan will not allow that to reoccur.