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It’s best-ball season. If you aren’t drafting best-ball teams right here on Yahoo, honestly I question whether you even like fantasy football.
I’m being 100 percent serious.
Best-ball allows you to compete for real money, sharpen your craft against serious competition and enjoy the best part about fantasy football (drafting) over and over again all summer long.
Despite all the work done on cracking the best-ball code, there are still so many ways to create a roster. Many present truly viable paths to winning. One of my favorite strategies I try to employ in every single best-ball draft comes with a daily fantasy football influence.
I’m all about stacking offenses I expect to be good units, especially at a value.
If you need a refresher on what stacking is and why you should do it, refer to the intro piece for this series.
I divide best ball stacks into three tiers:
-HIGH-VALUE STACK: You'll have to pay a draft premium to get these players.
-DISCOUNT STACK: A few high picks, but won't break the bank.
-CLEARANCE-AISLE STACK: Mid-to-late-round fliers who could pay off in a big way.
This week, we’re sifting through moving boxes in the NFL basement, looking for possible value in stacking the New York Jets. That’s right; those New York Jets.
The case for stacking the Jets
For those who didn’t howl with laughter and click out of the article by now, bear with me.
We have legitimate reasons to stack up the 2021 New York Jets.
For starters, they might well be the easiest stack to construct from a value standpoint. There are exactly 0.0 Jets passing-game players going in the top-100 of best ball drafts right now.
I know what you’re thinking: The team stack is such a value because they don’t have very many good players, a proven play-caller, or anything less than a putrid history of producing productive offenses.
No kidding. No one is telling you to make the Jets stack the core of your fantasy football team. You can spend the first 10 rounds of your drafts doing absolutely whatever you want. Don’t even think about the Jets stack until the closing rounds and then start plucking this potentially underrated offense to assure yourself of serious upside in the weeks this team finds its path.
Let’s get into the meat of this discussion. Sure, the Jets offense is easy to acquire, but when hasn’t it been? Stacking Sam Darnold and some of his moribund cast of characters the last few years was affordable but ultimately a net negative for your fake football squads. Why is this year different?
Adam Gase is gone.
Hey, it’s not a bad starting point. We’ve seen countless examples that show Gase is a debilitating factor in his offenses' successes.
I’m quite bullish on the coaching staff that’s replacing him, however.
Robert Saleh should prove to be the right captain of this ship from a leadership standpoint. Good luck finding one person to say a negative thing about him. More importantly, he’ll be on the same page with general manager Joe Douglas. The Jets have been prime offenders in one of the worst missteps NFL teams consistently make; hiring a GM and head coach who aren’t in lockstep only to eventually fire one and not the other, thus condemning themselves to repeat the cycle. Saleh should help break that cycle while being tied to a GM who looks more than competent through his first couple of seasons in New York.
Saleh brought Mike LaFleur along with him to be the offensive coordinator; no shock that he stuck with the Shanahan coaching tree. LaFleur himself might not be a proven name but just the fact that he’ll be installing the same system that’s boosted efficiency across the league is a huge improvement over whatever it was Gase was doing.
The Shanahan offense gives quarterbacks — even those on the average to below-average rungs on the talent scale — answers. What a huge win for No. 2 overall pick, Zach Wilson, to start his career.
The Jets will hope that giving Wilson the patented layups this offense creates for its quarterbacks can help bring out the best in his abilities as a short-to-intermediate passer. He already has the aggressive, off-script sections down. Wilson averaged 11 yards per attempt last year at BYU and was more than comfortable improvising and rifling balls into tight coverage.
If Wilson is indeed stabilized by this offense, it will bring out the best in what could be the strength of the Jets offense in 2021: The wide receiver room.
I’ve been on record for months now that I’ve loved what the Jets have done at wide receiver over the last two years, this offseason in particular. A team that fielded some of the absolute worst wide receiver depth charts over the last few years now legitimately goes five-deep at the position.
Corey Davis might not be a true No. 1 receiver — and the Jets didn’t pay him like one — is perfect for this style of passing game. He does the dirty work and has no fear of going over the middle. While he’s the consensus top receiver in this passing game, he still carries an ADP outside the top-50 at the position. He’s the odds-on favorite to lead the team in targets.
The hype bunny of this group is rookie Elijah Moore. And folks, he deserves every ounce of it. Moore was an awesome college prospect, an explosive dynamo with underrated chops as a route-runner. Ole Miss ran almost their entire passing game through him when he played in 2020 and there wasn't a box he didn’t check. I compared him favorably to Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett all spring as a vertical weapon from the slot.
Moore has drawn nothing but rave reviews from Jets’ camp observers. He is going to start for this team, even with Jamison Crowder re-signed to a more affordable contract.
With all of the route chops and explosive traits he showed as a collegiate, we should be bullish on the idea of the Jets at least trying Moore out as a flanker. He is just too good to have on the bench and brings the open-field ability that none of their other receivers possess.
Moore is still a screaming value — but that won’t last for long.
The other three receivers to round out this unit are Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Keelan Cole. They all make for fine late-round fliers, with Crowder being the best bet to lead this trio in targets. That said, Crowder’s restructured contract increased the odds he’s on this roster come Week 1 but he could still be a trade candidate. It will probably come down to what Mims and Cole do the rest of the offseason.
There was a lot of fretting about Mims’ exclusive second-team work in mini-camp the last month. We’ll learn much more in training camp about where he stands with the team. No matter what, we should prefer Moore over Mims, as he’s just a superior prospect in every way. However, I’m not giving up the ghost on Mims just yet. In fact, since he’s fallen down the ADP charts, it’s that much easier to sprinkle in a Wilson/Davis/Moore stack in the final few rounds.
Keelan Cole probably doesn’t have much individual fantasy sizzle but he doesn’t get enough respect. His rookie year was excellent and even if he fell out of favor in Jacksonville, he was a big factor last year. Anyone who tried to chase DJ Chark or LaViska Shenault in DFS last year knows that Cole often (annoyingly) emerged as the go-to guy (because he’s pretty good at football). If anything, he’ll just make the passing game that much better and more likely to mount scoring drives as the WR4 on this team.
The only player going inside the top-100 of best ball drafts right now is rookie running back Michael Carter. He’s hanging just south of the RB30 in early drafts with an 85th overall ADP.
Oddly enough, he’s the least appealing member of this stack because of his aggressive ADP — for now.
Carter could absolutely become the RB1 of this backfield. He could also be next in the long line of overly hyped Day 3 rookie running backs. I just want to see more from this offseason in terms of his projected workload before endorsing this sticker. Carter should, at the very least, own the passing-down role this offseason. Just how much early down banging he gets to do is the question.
My advice on this stack, for now, is to avoid Carter’s aggressive ADP until we learn more; instead, load up on Wilson as your QB2 or 3 and pluck a handful of NYJ receivers in the later rounds.
The case against stacking the Jets
We are relying on an absurd amount of young players for this stack to prove profitable. Of course, Wilson needs to be a positive force in Year 1 but so does Moore and, ultimately, I do think Mims needs to be a factor for this receiver corps to reach its full potential.
The fact that there is absolutely no reasonable option at tight end to spend even a dart throw pick on is troubling too. It’s all going to come down to the receivers. If Moore doesn’t hit the ground running as we expect, Mims is indeed buried on the depth chart, and Wilson isn’t ready, we’re looking at a middling rookie throwing 130-plus inefficient targets at Corey Davis.
That’s not what you want.
All of that amounts to one big huge question mark, along with LaFleur’s own worth as a player-caller and offensive designer. The amount of unknowns here is much more than almost any other NFL offense.
However, the stack is at such low ADP value that I don’t really care about any of that.
If Wilson, Moore, and co. just have a few big weeks during the season, or are perhaps playing their best football around the end of the year, it’s going to sprinkle some spice onto your best ball rosters.
The Jets stack is just too cheap to worry about too many negatives. We just need to avoid a disaster.
I think the days of disaster in New York’s offense are over.
The verdict: Clearance-aisle stack
When you’re buying from the clearance aisle at any store, you know what you’re getting into.
If it’s the $5 movie bin, you know there are some total duds in there. You’re just hoping to find some “funny bad” movies for a beer-driven Friday night. Should you find that side-splitting troubled film, your pals will never forget it.
You’re not expecting to find your next formal party staple in the clearance aisle of a clothing store. You might just find some overlooked, out-of-season items and a t-shirt that barely fits right amid some true eyesores. You get what you pay for, which isn’t very much, but you’ll never stop bragging to your friends that you found the shirt on clearance if you get that coveted compliment.
Sure, you go to a yard sale in the hopes of finding a hidden gem but you know you’ll have to sift through some antiquated items from grandma’s garage that no one cares about.
But if you do find it, you know you’ll beam with pride.
It’s the same deal when stacking up the Jets offense in the late rounds. It might turn out to be absolutely nothing but you know there’s a ceiling here because the talent is real. Despite its clearance status, there’s a path to a viable weekly ceiling in Year 1 of this revamped offense.
Don’t you want to get in for the early showing before everyone hops on the bandwagon in 2022? That’s the mindset of the clearance shopper.