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Will New York Jets RB Breece Hall regress in fantasy?

Breece Hall, NY Jets, NFL, RB, Fantasy, 2024, Projection
Breece Hall, New York Jets, Getty Images

One fantasy football expert predicted the New York Jets running back will regress

New York Jets running back Breece Hall is currently one of the hottest fantasy football names. His PPR ranking is generally No. 2 after Christian McCaffrey, and his ADP is No. 7 overall. It’s fair to expect him to be your best fantasy player in 2024.

However, one fantasy football analyst is pumping the brakes on the Hall hype. Michael Fabiano of Sports Illustrated sees Hall as a prime regression candidate due to a unique outlier statistic that he claims will not happen again: Hall’s 76 receptions from 2023. This is what Fabiano had to say.

“Hall finished last season as the RB2, due in part to a serious statistical run in the second half that saw him emerge as a huge option in the Jets pass attack. In his first eight games, Hall averaged 3.9 targets and 2.9 catches. He went off in his final 10 games, however, averaging a stout 6.8 targets and 5.7 receptions.

“That rise in targets and catches came in large part because of the quarterbacks the Jets were using. Trevor Siemian and Tim Boyle started a combined five games (played in eight), and they targeted Hall a ton out of the backfield. The duo combined to target running backs on nearly 30 percent of their pass attempts! By comparison, Aaron Rodgers targeted his runners as receivers in just 20.7% of his passes in his last season in Green Bay.”

Fabiano certainly has a point. The Jets’ pass protection was so bad that their quarterbacks were forced to dump the ball off on a regular basis. The lack of any quality receivers beyond Garrett Wilson further incentivized throwing to the running back.

Hall’s ceiling

Still, what Fabiano neglects to mention is how far Hall’s rushing production was depressed due to the Jets’ poor offense. He finished 13th among running backs with 993 rushing yards and tied for 21st with five rushing touchdowns. His 222 rush attempts also ranked 14th in the NFL.

The Jets were unable to run the football as much as they wanted to due to constantly trailing. Hall’s xYPC (expected yards per carry) was 3.8. Though he averaged 4.5 yards per carry, the ceiling of his performance was capped by the blocking in front of him.

Hall’s numbers with and without Alijah Vera-Tucker on the field showcase what he’s capable of with one good run-blocker.

Not only is Vera-Tucker returning, but the Jets added Morgan Moses, John Simpson, and Tyron Smith, three nasty, mauling gap-blockers. The Jets’ selection of Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis in the draft further displays their desire to run the ball down their opponents’ throats. That spells lots of opportunities for Hall to break out on the ground.

Furthermore, Hall’s receiving production may not dip as much as Fabiano believes. Nathaniel Hackett outrageously commented that he hadn’t realized what Hall could do as a receiver until Week 8. That may have influenced Hall’s sudden ascent as a receiver as much as the poor pass-blocking and lack of other weapons.

It’s notable that Hall was on pace for 73 targets in 2022 on a 49% snap share. He’s unlikely to get fewer than that considering that Rodgers loves to throw to backs.

Even though Rodgers didn’t throw to his backs as often as Hall was targeted towards the end of 2023, Aaron Jones averaged 66 targets, 52 catches, 405 yards, and four touchdowns as a receiver from 2019-22. He was second on the team in targets each year. That’s not exactly chump change for a dual-threat back. If you throw in A.J. Dillon’s production during that time, it’s roughly the same as Hall’s 2023 marks.

Of course, Allen and Davis have been impressive out of the backfield so far in OTAs and minicamp, which could dip into Hall’s numbers. Still, he’s clearly the No. 1 running back.

Overall, even if Hall’s receiving production declines, he has every opportunity to blow his 2023 production out of the water. His rushing touchdowns and rushing yardage should increase so significantly to make Fabiano’s concerns irrelevant. Keep drafting Hall at No. 7 overall; he’s worth it.

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