Ranking New York Jets’ best players through the bye week
While the New York Jets sit at 1-4 with an unsightly point differential of minus-54, their roster has seen a surprisingly high number of individual success stories considering the lack of overall team success.
These are the Jets’ 10 best players through five games of play.
10. RB Michael Carter
Michael Carter‘s box score numbers do not jump off the page: 47 carries for 165 yards (3.5 average) and two touchdowns to go along with nine receptions for 64 yards.
However, Carter has created most of that production himself through his remarkably consistent elusiveness. The average running back would likely have produced significantly less if placed in the exact same scenarios.
Carter ranks seventh out of 54 qualified running backs in missed tackles forced per carry (0.234) and third out of 46 qualified running backs in missed tackles forced per reception (0.556). He has evaded 11 tackles as a rusher and five as a receiver.
Slowly but surely, Carter is taking over the lead role in the Jets’ running back room. Here is a look at his snap count by week:
- Week 1: 25% of snaps
- Week 2: 45%
- Week 3: 43%
- Week 4: 51%
- Week 5: 52%
Carter has been given at least 10 touches in four consecutive games, averaging 10.8 carries and 3.0 targets since Week 2.
Look for Carter’s fantasy production to spike once the run-blocking in front of him improves.
9. LT George Fant
George Fant has been a stalwart in pass protection since moving over to left tackle. Over four starts at left tackle, Fant has allowed a measly total of six pressures across 161 snaps in pass protection, including zero sacks.
Fant has an 84.5 pass-blocking grade at Pro Football Focus since Week 2, ranking third-best among left tackles over that span.
In the run game, Fant has been much less effective, ranking 45th out of 79 tackles with a 60.9 PFF run-blocking grade since Week 2. Regardless, his pass-protection more than makes up for it.
8. EDGE Bryce Huff
Bryce Huff has been an effective pass rusher off the edge, successfully elevating from a situational role as a rookie to a starting role in his second season.
Huff has 2.0 sacks (one full, two half) and seven quarterback hits over five starts. But he has actually been even more effective than those totals suggest. At PFF, Huff owns a pass-rush win rate of 19.0%, which ranks 17th out of 73 qualified edge rushers.
7. CB Michael Carter II
Michael Carter II has burst onto the scene as one of the game’s better slot cornerbacks only five games into his career.
The Duke product has allowed 112 yards across 24 targets when lined up in slot coverage. That’s an average of 4.7 yards per target, ranking second-lowest out of the 33 cornerbacks to face at least 10 targets out of the slot. Philadelphia’s Avonte Maddox leads the pack with a 4.2 mark.
Carter II’s total of 24 slot targets without giving up a touchdown ranks third-best, trailing Washington’s Kendall Fuller (25) and Buffalo’s Taron Johnson (32).
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6. DT Foley Fatukasi
Foley Fatukasi continues to be one of the game’s top run-stuffers despite moving into an attacking 4-3 scheme that limits his ability to eat space and play multiple gaps compared to the 3-4 base defenses that he played in under Gregg Williams.
With 12 run stops in five games, Fatukasi is averaging 2.4 run stops per game, which ranks third-best among all interior defensive linemen.
Fatukasi’s stops in the run game tend to be highly impactful. His average tackle against the run has been made only 1.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
To boot, Fatukasi isn’t even a bad pass rusher, which is rare for a nose tackle. His PFF pass-rush win rate of 10.8% ranks 48th out of 120 qualified interior defensive linemen (61st percentile).
5. LG Alijah Vera-Tucker
Alijah Vera-Tucker has already been a well-above-average starting guard. His run blocking has been top-notch from the jump, and his pass protection has quickly progressed from a weakness to a strength (at least within this small sample – we’ll see if he can maintain that).
Vera-Tucker is PFF’s fifth-ranked run-blocking left guard with an 81.3 run-blocking grade.
After allowing 12 pressures over the first three games, Vera-Tucker has allowed zero of the past two.
Altogether, Vera-Tucker is ranked as PFF’s ninth-best left guard this season with a 73.1 overall grade.
4. CB Bryce Hall
Bryce Hall has been excellent as the Jets’ every-down left-side cornerback, limiting big plays and keeping everything in front of him.
Hall has covered on 209 snaps this season without allowing a touchdown. Through five weeks, that ranked as the third-most coverage snaps without allowing a touchdown among all cornerbacks, sitting behind only Trevon Diggs (219) and Tre’Davious White (213).
At the moment, Hall ranks 69th among cornerbacks in yards allowed (171) despite ranking 36th in coverage snaps (209).
If you are looking for the primary driving force behind the Jets allowing the third-fewest receiving yards per game to wide receivers this season (126.0), Hall is your man.
3. DT Quinnen Williams
It feels like Quinnen Williams hasn’t even hit his stride yet, and he is still one of the league’s most productive defensive tackles.
Williams has 3.5 sacks (three full, one half) and eight quarterback hits, ranking second among all defensive tackles in both categories on a per-game basis.
The pressure production from Williams has been an integral factor in allowing the rest of the Jets’ defensive front to succeed. Williams has 17 pressures on 126 pass-rush snaps this season. That is a rate of 13.5%, trailing only J.J. Watt (13.7%) among all qualified interior defensive linemen.
Williams’ performance against the run has slipped. He has six run stops over five games and 94 run-defense snaps, giving him 1.2 run stops per game and a run-stop rate of 6.5%.
Those are fairly average marks. Last year, he led all interior defensive linemen with 2.2 run stops per game and placed third among qualifiers with a 14.0% run-stop rate.
While the Jets would certainly like to see Williams climb back to his usual standards as a run defender, they have to be overjoyed with his elite pass-rushing production thus far.
2. EDGE John Franklin-Myers
Freshly inked to a four-year, $55 million extension, John Franklin-Myers is proving that he can thrive just as much on the edge as he did on the interior in 2020.
Franklin-Myers has 21 pressures in five games, an average of 4.2 pressures per game that ranks 11th-best among edge rushers.
All 21 of Franklin-Myers’ pressures have come off the left side of the defensive line. He ranks fourth at the position in pressures per game off the left side, trailing only Jadeveon Clowney (4.3), Danielle Hunter (4.8), and Maxx Crosby (6.2).
Franklin-Myers is a more well-rounded player on the edge than he is on the inside. While Franklin-Myers is arguably a slightly better pass rusher from the interior thanks to his quickness advantage over burlier guards, he is also a worse run defender because of his size disadvantage at 288 pounds.
As a 288-pound edge defender, Franklin-Myers loses his quickness advantage but he transforms from undersized to oversized, making him a tougher matchup in the run game than most other players in his role.
Franklin-Myers has a PFF run-defense grade of 78.2, ranking eighth-best out of 87 qualified edge defenders.
Thriving in both phases of the game, Franklin-Myers is a star.
1. LB C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley has been a do-it-all force at the linebacker position, consistently finding himself in the right place at the right time to thwart run plays, bust screens, and clog passing lanes.
Mosley has 17 defensive stops (tackles that constitute a failure for the offense), an average of 3.4 per game that ranks seventh-best among linebackers.
The former Raven’s impact goes well beyond his personal production. Mosley is the on-field coach of the Jets’ defense, constantly barking directions pre-snap to get his young defensive teammates lined up correctly.
It is easy to picture this inexperienced defense being much more susceptible to botching assignments without Mosley on the field – which could happen this Sunday in New England as Mosley will be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury.
If the Jets are forced to play a game without Mosley, his impact will likely be made glaringly apparent. It is hard to imagine that the Jets would take a more substantial hit from losing any other player on the roster.
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