July 09, 2008
The Juggernaut Index is our annual attempt to rank every NFL team for fantasy purposes. We're not concerned with real-life wins and losses here. No, here we just care about imaginary winning. If an NFL team gains lots of yardage, limits turnovers, and scores when they reach the red zone, then you'll want to own their skill position players in fantasy leagues. You'll find those teams at the top of the Juggernaut Index. We began at No. 32, the worst of the worst, and we're working our way to the elite fantasy offenses.
These rankings rely on hard, incontrovertible math. There are algorithms at work. This stuff is peer-reviewed. Seasons are simulated. You can't argue with science, so don't even try...
27. New York Jets
Let's begin with a rousing cheer:
Woooo! WOOOOO! WOOOOOOOOO!!!
C'mon, admit that you've been roused.
Please try to think of this as a celebration of the Jets, not an indictment. There's honestly not much separating them from the three upcoming teams in the Index, or from the previous three. There's a good chance that you'll own a Jet or two, and they're not going to hurt you.
The thing is, they offer only limited help. You won't find any Jets quarterbacks in our position rankings. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington made the running back rankings, but neither is in the top 25. Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are slotted at the far edge of the wide receivers worth starting...unless you're in a two-WR fantasy league, in which case they're not.
And if none of the Jets primary skill position players rank higher than 27th (Jones at RB, Coles at WR), then it's tough to place the team any higher than No. 27 in the Juggernaut Index.
If you could merge the best qualities of 32-year-old Chad Pennington (smart, experienced, accurate) with those of 25-year-old Kellen Clemens (athletic, strong-armed), you'd really have an excellent NFL quarterback. But the Jets are going to have to pick one or the other, and both have their limitations. Of course, Clemens' limitations might be correctible, given more playing time. But more playing time for him may not lead to more wins for the Jets.
It's a battle that will clearly extend into the preseason. The guess here is that the quarterback competition will last however long it takes Clemens to win it.
Thomas Jones had one of the more disappointing 1100-yard seasons you'll ever endure in 2007. (Willie Parker owners are rolling their eyes. Unless they're still fired up by that J-E-T-S thing). Jones averaged only 3.6 yards per carry, which isn't relevant in fantasy leagues, and scored only one rushing TD, which clearly is. New York had the NFL's second-worst red zone TD percentage last season (.367).
The Jets have rebuilt their offensive line, however, adding $40 million Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca and tackle Damien Woody. That improves Jones' fantasy outlook, but he's not an elite runner, and he'll be 30 when the season begins. Washington is an explosive complementary player (5.0 YPC, 3 TD in '07), but you're not starting him while Jones is healthy.
Tight end Dustin Keller, the 30th overall pick in the 2008 Draft, is relatively advanced as a receiver and he was terrific at the NFL Combine, leading basically all tight ends in everything. He has great upside in fantasy terms, but he's on the small size and blocking will be an issue. He's strong and fast, though.
The Jets defense improved via the Draft, but they were one of lowest-scoring units in fantasy leagues last season, and they managed only 21 takeaways, the lowest total in the AFC. They could be worthy of a Week 1 spot start since they face Miami, but then they'll face New England, San Diego and Arizona. You'll have dropped them by their Week 5 bye.
2007 New York Jets team stats
Rushing: 106.3 Y/G
Passing: 188.4 Y/G
Points per game: 16.8
Red Zone possessions and TDs: 49, 18
'08 Schedule strength: .457
The rest of the Index...