Mike White threw 55 percent of his passes for fewer than 10 air yards last year. That’s a big deal for the fantasy football projections of all New York Jets players with White set to replace Zach Wilson for the time being.
White threw 58% of his passes to players lined up in the slot or backfield. Running back Michael Carter had a game with 14 targets last year. While I don’t think Carter will have those target levels this year — the receiver talent is miles better now than it was last season — these stats tell us something about how the Jets offense will change.
Wilson has never been an in-structure quarterback. Typically, offense out of the Shanahan tree props up quarterbacks to make them look more efficient than they are on their own. And yet, as Mike Sando of The Athletic noted, Wilson is the least efficient young quarterback among guys that have started 20-plus games since 2012. He ranks 41st out of 41 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA per pass play.
Literally dead last.
The Jets defense is so good and the surrounding offensive skill positions are talented enough that the team only needs a quarterback to keep the train on the tracks.
White might not be the team’s long-term answer but he’s at least shown flashes of being the game manager who fits this style of offense. Receivers like Garrett Wilson and even Elijah Moore have shown the ability to win on their routes at a high level in the NFL. These guys can get open and make plays in the open field. Wilson is particularly freaky as an open-field player.
If White can just execute the offense and distribute the ball in the short areas, this offense will exceed expectations. That’s how Mike LaFleur has been dialing up plays all year; Wilson just isn’t suited to play in such a scheme. That certainly brings up questions as to why he was the guy for New York at second overall in last year’s draft but it’s the truth of the matter.
The Jets are too good to let their quarterback play them out of contention. The offensive players around White can help him be a better option. Wilson is apparently going to spend time reworking his fundamentals in the meantime.
I’m more excited for the Jets offense with a simple game manager than I’d be with some sort of theoretical playmaker. The design of this offense is ready to get the players in position to win — and these receivers are good enough to add more to those opportunities.
67% of Justin Fields’ rushing attempts were a designed run in Week 11
The Bears quarterback ran the ball 18 times in total against the Falcons last week. We know he’s now dealing with a shoulder injury.
I’m usually not the guy to get weary of athletic quarterbacks running too much. My issue with Fields is that he takes excessive punishment in the pocket in addition to his rushing work. Fields is a high-sack quarterback both because of the Bears offensive line and his own play style.
It sounds like Fields is going to play this week. That seems a little shortsighted in the long view, considering the Bears aren’t contenders. We’ll see if they make any sort of adjustments in their game plan and deployment of Fields while he’s less than 100%. The rest of 2022 should be all about finding out the right balance with their quarterback; trying to get the best out of him while protecting him.
Andy Dalton had 12.8 adjusted yards per attempt in Week 11
That was a higher number than his previous two games combined. Dalton had easily his best game as a Saint just when the NFL world as a whole was ready to see Jameis Winston back under center.
I don’t really maintain any fascination with Winston. I’m not sure I’d make any adjustments to my Saints projections if it was one quarterback or another under center. Dalton has shown moments of competence but has also had disaster games littered with turnovers.
Sounds like Page 1 of the Winston experience.
Chris Olave is going to get peppered with targets regardless. Any sort of theoretical upside that you’ll get with Winston’s vertical passing ability is balanced with Dalton’s superior traits in keeping an offense on schedule. Alvin Kamara’s usage has been disappointing regardless of who is under center.
The Saints aren’t going anywhere with either quarterback. Neither is a real solution and it would be laughable to roll out either as a starter in 2023. So I don’t really care who they play at quarterback right now.
Skyy Moore managed a season-high 37.5% targets per route run in Week 11
The fact that Skyy Moore hasn’t been on the field much as a rookie doesn’t really concern me. The Chiefs have a ton of veterans on the depth chart ahead of him and they’ve all played fine in their roles. A Year 1 guy not climbing this receiver rotation isn’t a huge red flag.
Well, they’re going to need him this week. Mecole Hardman is on IR and while JuJu Smith-Schuster is coming back, Kadarius Toney has been ruled out.
Moore was involved early in Week 11. He didn’t get a playing time boost when Toney went down; he was a fixture from the beginning. Moore played well against the Chargers and came up with some big-time catches for Patrick Mahomes.
Moore is a talented player who could really shine in the NFL, not just on special teams. He’s a crucial guy to track during the stretch run.
Isiah Pacheco had the 4th-best rushing success rate among backs with 50% of their team rush attempts in Week 11
Pacheco, however, is one Chiefs rookie we are confident will hold a big role the rest of the way.
The exciting rusher was already climbing up the depth chart prior to Clyde Edwards-Helaire going on IR. Now, there’s nothing standing in his way. He’s earned that promotion.
Pacheco has been an exciting watch when he gets the ball in his hands. He has a ton of raw speed and runs like he was shot out of a cannon. The Chiefs haven’t really had a physical presence in their running game the last few years. Pacheco brings yet another crucial dimension to the best offense in the NFL.
The Falcons have just four QB hurries on the season
That’s good for a rate of 0.9% per dropback. Shoutout to Dalton Del Don on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast for this one. It’s a wild stat.
The Falcons pass defense has been a target for fantasy managers all throughout the season. That’s not going to change any time soon.
Terry McLaurin has eruption potential in this week’s matchup. We already know he’s a high-target player with Taylor Heinicke under center. A lack of pass rush can help smooth out some of the quarterback’s more erratic tendencies.
The other Washington receivers are also interesting in this spot. Jahan Dotson jumped back to the WR2 spot, running the same amount of routes as McLaurin last week. Curtis Samuel’s role isn’t as voluminous as it was early in the season but he’s at least gotten some more downfield looks with Heinicke under center.
Treylon Burks ran a route on 65.6% of the dropbacks in Week 11
The rookie had a 41.6% air-yard share and a 30% share of the targets in his breakout performance.
I remember watching the Titans and Chiefs on Sunday Night Football a few weeks back, Tennessee's wideouts consistently failing to make plays on go-routes. I have my questions about Burks as a full-field route runner but he can absolutely make plays on go routes in tight coverage. We saw that right away against Green Bay.
The Titans targeted Burks out of the slot twice in Week 11 and those plays resulted in two catches for 44 yards. Getting Burks away from press coverage and letting him rip deep over routes from the inside is perfect for the hulking receiver. Burks should be a big factor down the stretch.
Justin Herbert managed 9.3 yards per attempt in Week 11
The Chargers quarterback had gone under 6.0 yards per attempt in the previous four games.
Having Keenan Allen back is such a huge deal. Allen is a true No. 1 receiver. He still has every bit of his patented separation chops in the arsenal.
With Allen in the fold, everyone slides back to their natural role. It makes the whole offense better. Few offenses would be able to cleanly survive the loss of their true No. 1 receiver. Mike Williams is a good player but he’s more of a strong No. 2 than a 1B. A guy like Josh Palmer is a little too limited to be any more than the third guy in the defensive attention pecking order; that’s where he slots with Allen back and Austin Ekeler thriving.
The Chargers' offense just functions so much better with Allen running those crucial high-percentage routes and destroying coverage in the process. Los Angeles has a prime get-right game on the schedule here in Week 12 with the Cardinals on deck.
Michael Pittman has a 28% target share since Week 8
The big plays haven’t been there for Pittman of late. He’s averaging just 8.8 yards per catch in this stretch.
Week 12 could be where we see Pittman turn that opportunity into more production. The Steelers have the ability to create havoc up front with T.J. Watt healthy, but they give up big plays on the back end. They’ve allowed 82 explosive plays on the season, the sixth-most in the league. Pittman could enjoy his best performance in a few weeks.