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NY Jets receiving stat predictions: Surprise No. 2 weapon emerges

NY Jets, Garrett Wilson, Stats, Predictions, 2023
Garrett Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

Predicting 2023 stats of New York Jets’ receivers

Yesterday, we broke down the ideal target distribution plan for the New York Jets offense in the wake of Corey Davis’ retirement. Today, we will use those target numbers to craft stat predictions for the Jets’ pass catchers.

As a refresher, here is our prediction for how the Jets will distribute their targets in 2023:

  1. WR Garrett Wilson: 175 targets (10.3 per game)
  2. TE Tyler Conklin: 85 (5.0)
  3. RB Breece Hall: 80 (4.7)
  4. WR Allen Lazard: 70 (4.1)
  5. WR Randall Cobb: 50 (2.9)
  6. WR Mecole Hardman: 46 (2.7)
  7. RB Dalvin Cook: 35 (2.1)
  8. TE C.J. Uzomah: 15 (0.9)
  9. TE Jeremy Ruckert: 12 (0.7)
  10. FB Nick Bawden: 10 (0.6)

*Assumes 34 passes per game (578 total) for Aaron Rodgers and that all players appear in 17 games.

Let’s project what each player will do with their respective target totals.

WR Garrett Wilson

  • 175 targets (10.3 per game)
  • Prediction: 120 catches for 1,550 yards and 11 touchdowns

Across his three years under Nathaniel Hackett (2019-21), Davante Adams averaged 8.8 yards per target, which is excellent for a player who carries such a high target volume.

I have Garrett Wilson finishing with a very similar number. With 1,550 yards on 175 targets, Wilson checks in with 8.9 yards per target.

This would give Wilson an average of 91.2 yards per game. It’s slightly below the 93.4 yards per game Adams averaged from 2019-21; he peaked at 98.1 in 2020 and came close with 97.1 in 2021.

Adams caught 72.1% of his targets from 2019-21. I think Wilson’s catch rate will be lower, as I believe the Jets will be a bit more aggressive targeting Wilson downfield than they were with Adams, but as a result of that, Wilson will average more yards per reception. I have Wilson catching 68.6% of his targets with 12.9 yards per reception. Adams averaged 12.2 yards per reception from 2019-21.

I settled on 11 touchdowns for Wilson. It’s a fantastic number, although I do not quite see Wilson reaching Adams’ peaks as a touchdown scorer. Adams is averaging 13.6 touchdowns per 17 games over the last seven seasons, going as high as 18 in one season with the Packers. I think Adams’ size advantage (215 pounds vs. Wilson’s 192) makes him more dangerous in the red zone, so I’m hesitant to say Wilson will be quite as devastating of a scorer as Adams.

In terms of receptions and yards, though, I think Wilson is fully capable of giving Adams a run for his money.

TE Tyler Conklin

  • 85 targets (5.0 per game)
  • Prediction: 60 catches for 650 yards and 7 touchdowns

In what may come as a surprise to some, I have Tyler Conklin finishing second on the Jets in all three receiving categories.

This target volume would be typical for Conklin. In each of the past two seasons, Conklin had 87 targets in 17 games. However, I see Conklin generating much more production out of his targets than ever before.

Over the past two seasons, Conklin averaged only 6.6 yards per target with six total touchdowns. In his first season as a Jet, Conklin averaged 6.3 yards per target with three touchdowns. Many of his targets were mere checkdowns or dump-offs. The Jets didn’t feature him often in key situations or on downfield throws.

But on this particular Jets team, which lacks a proven No. 2 wide receiver, I see Conklin emerging as the Jets’ true secondary weapon in key situations. I think he will be a fixture on third downs and in the red zone, allowing him to generate yardage and touchdowns more efficiently than he has in the past.

Despite receiving a nearly identical volume of targets, I have Conklin finishing with career-highs of 650 yards and seven touchdowns. I see him improving to 7.6 yards per target as the Jets decrease his checkdown targets and increase his downfield targets.

I see Conklin leading the Jets in red-zone touchdowns (Wilson will get some 20+ yarders to reach his team-high total of 11 scores). Conklin only got three red zone targets in all of 2022 – all three were touchdowns, and all three required a fantastic route and/or catch. He deserves far more opportunities near the goal line.

RB Breece Hall

  • 80 targets (4.7 per game)
  • Prediction: 60 catches for 500 yards and 3 touchdowns

Aaron Jones was second on the Packers in targets from 2019-21, averaging 4.4 per game. Breece Hall already averaged an identical 4.4 targets per game in his rookie year (and that’s despite missing most of his seventh game), so he is prepared to take on the Aaron Jones role as a featured receiver out of the backfield.

With his breakaway speed, I think Hall will hit some home runs as a receiver, pumping up his yardage to a top-tier level. I have Hall averaging 6.3 yards per target, which is excellent for a running back. In 2022, that would have ranked eighth-best among the 29 running backs with at least 40 targets.

Rodgers likes targeting his running backs in the red zone. I settled on three touchdown receptions for Hall, but his ceiling is higher, as Jones caught five in 2022 and six in 2021.

WR Allen Lazard

  • 70 targets (4.1 per game)
  • Prediction: 50 catches for 630 yards and 6 touchdowns

Allen Lazard played his best football when he was next to Davante Adams. With a chance to slide in behind Garrett Wilson this year, I think Lazard will have an efficient season, generating yardage and touchdowns at impressive rates considering his target volume.

I have Lazard at 9.0 yards per target, which is about equal to the rate he posted during his three seasons with Adams (9.1). I also see Lazard placing third on the Jets in touchdown receptions. Rodgers loves Lazard in the red zone; over the past two seasons, Lazard is tied for eighth among all wide receivers with 12 red zone touchdown receptions.

Overall, Lazard is averaging exactly 6.0 touchdown receptions per 17 games in his career, so six touchdowns makes plenty of sense as a median prediction if he plays in all 17 games.

WR Randall Cobb

  • 50 targets (2.9 per game)
  • Prediction: 30 catches for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns

Prior to Davis’ injury, I wasn’t sure how much of Randall Cobb we would see. But now that Davis is out of the picture, Cobb is poised to receive plenty of snaps in 11 personnel packages (3 WR), especially on third down.

I don’t see Cobb being all too efficient in terms of yardage, as I only have him at 6.8 yards per target. However, that’s simply because I do not think he will be used downfield too often. I see Cobb being an efficient chain-mover in the short game. His yardage numbers might not pop off the screen this year, but Cobb should make plenty of clutch catches that go for under 10 yards.

Cobb has more left in the tank than many realize – Joe Blewett’s film review proved it loud and clear. That’s not to say he is still the Randall Cobb of old, but he can still be effective in a small role. Cobb remains a sharp route runner with reliable hands. His chemistry with Aaron Rodgers is an added bonus.

WR Mecole Hardman

  • 46 targets (2.7 per game)
  • Prediction: 30 catches for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns

As I broke down in yesterday’s article, Mecole Hardman‘s best season (by far) came in his 2019 rookie year when he only received 2.6 targets per game and was the Chiefs’ WR4. I think the Jets will use him in a similar role to maximize his efficiency.

While I do not have Hardman coming close to his ridiculously efficient 2019 season (13.1 yards per target), I do have him averaging a very solid 8.7 yards per target with a pair of touchdowns. I see him grabbing a handful of deep bombs, and he should also be a playmaker in the screen game. Hardman’s yards should come in bunches – I have him leading the team with 13.3 yards per reception.

I know Robert Saleh and the Jets have tried to hype up Hardman’s untapped potential as an all-around receiver this offseason, but I’m not buying it. What could the Jets possibly get out of Hardman that Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes couldn’t? I think the Jets signed him to be a Braxton Berrios replacement with some added deep-game potential, and that’s about it.

Hardman does not seem like the type of player Aaron Rodgers would trust for a high volume of targets. If you watched the latest episode of Hard Knocks, you heard Randall Cobb explain to the Jets’ wide receivers that Rodgers will not trust players who could put him at risk of throwing interceptions. Hardman, who has struggled with drops and route running throughout his entire career, does not strike me as a player Rodgers would take a liking to.

This is especially true considering Hardman’s weaknesses have seemingly been glaring in training camp. Reports of Hardman dropping passes are common. Overall, according to The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt, Hardman only caught 50% (6-of-12) of his targets from Rodgers in 11-on-11 drills throughout training camp. Cobb caught 86% (12-of-14).

I think we’ll see Hardman receive a sizable chunk of early-down snaps, even sometimes as part of 2-WR sets (12 or 21 personnel). Hardman offers the most value in these situations since he is a threat in the run game and off jet motion. The Jets can use him as a chess piece when the run is a legitimate possibility, as defenses will be forced to respect Hardman’s pre-snap motions. But in obvious passing situations, Cobb offers far more reliability than Hardman.

We’re not covering rushing predictions in here, but I think the Jets will give Hardman a decent number of rush attempts, too. This is why I believe his reps will largely lean toward run situations.

Including the playoffs, Hardman is averaging 7.9 rush attempts per 17 games in his career. I can see him getting around the same number of carries this season. With a career average of 7.6 yards per rush attempt, Hardman is worth handing the ball to. And the more you hand him the ball, the more defenses will respect his pre-snap motions – opening up further possibilities for the offense.

RB Dalvin Cook

  • 35 targets (2.1 per game)
  • Prediction: 23 catches for 180 yards and 1 touchdown

While I see Breece Hall taking the majority of the backfield targets, Dalvin Cook will likely get his fair share of opportunities.

Cook has a track record of strong efficiency in the screen game, so I think the Jets will try to give him some chances to make plays in that fashion. However, Cook has never been much of a downfield weapon (he is averaging -1.6 air yards per reception in his career), so I don’t see him being massively efficient in terms of yards per target. He’ll mostly be confined to screens and checkdowns, in all likelihood.


  • TE C.J. Uzomah: 10 catches on 15 targets for 80 yards and 1 touchdown
  • TE Jeremy Ruckert: 8 catches on 12 targets for 96 yards and 1 touchdown
  • FB Nick Bawden: 6 catches on 10 targets for 50 yards and 0 touchdowns

C.J. Uzomah only received 27 targets in 15 games during his first season as a Jet despite getting no competition from any tight ends behind him on the depth chart. With Jeremy Ruckert poised for an emergence this season, I think Ruckert will cut into Uzomah’s targets and snaps. I can see Uzomah and Ruckert splitting the shares of targets and snaps that were entirely allocated to Uzomah last season.

Nick Bawden has received plenty of first-team action in training camp and the preseason. In 11-on-11 drills, Rodgers has targeted Bawden decently often. I think Bawden will get a handful of snaps per game and ultimately see around 10 targets throughout the course of the season.

Aaron Rodgers

  • 397 completions on 578 yards for 4,476 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions
  • 7.7 yards per attempt
  • 11.3 yards per completion
  • 263.3 yards per game
  • 68.7% completion rate
  • 5.9% touchdown rate
  • 1.7% interception rate
  • 3.4-to-1 TD/INT ratio
  • 104.0 passer rating

This would be an average season by Aaron Rodgers’ standards – which I think is a realistic expectation for the 39-year-old.

Expecting Rodgers to reclaim his MVP heights would be overly optimistic. It makes more sense to think he will land somewhere in between those MVP years and the down year we saw from him in 2022. If he can do that, he’d still be the best quarterback in Jets history and one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL.


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