9 way-too-early fantasy football options for the NY Jets in 2023

NY Jets, Garrett Wilson
NY Jets, Garrett Wilson / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Tier 2: These NY Jets will have several good games, multiple stinkers

6. Tyler Conklin (or whoever you expect to be TE1)

The last time Aaron Rodgers and Nathaniel Hackett collaborated with a tight end that played all season, that player was tied for fifth for most touchdowns in the entire NFL (11). That player, Robert Tonyan, is not a special talent by any means, but he was the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time.

Now with Rodgers and Hackett back together and both of them on a mission to prove that last year was an outlier, the Jets' TE1 position seems to be the right place to be again.

Based on usage last year, it looks like Tyler Conklin might be that guy, but toward the end of the season, C.J. Uzomah was getting more playing time and proceeded to have zero drops all season, as well as a pair of touchdowns.

With Allen Lazard continuing to develop, the need for that red zone "jump ball target" isn't as pressing at tight end as it usually is, but Rodgers can definitely keep opposing defenses on their toes by having multiple jump ball options.

That was exactly the case in Green Bay, as both Lazard and Tonyan were 6-foot-5 targets who could out-muscle defensive backs and still go up and get it over linebackers.

Uzomah stands at 6-foot-5 compared to Conklin at 6-foot-3, but Conklin seems to have an edge in the speed and agility department.

Whichever of these two gets the job will be consistently relied on to keep drives alive on third down and finish drives in the end zone, so it's certainly worth monitoring this position battle in training camp.

5. Allen Lazard, WR

It's fitting that I have both "jump ball targets" back to back because, to me, their value is extremely similar also tied to one another. If I'm a betting man, I'm thinking Rodgers will trust the guy who's been his teammate for years over any tight end that wins the job.

If that's the case, then it's Allen Lazard who is much more likely to find himself among the league touchdown leaders this year like Tonyan was in 2020.

Given that I think Rodgers will have over 30 touchdowns, it's very possible that both Lazard and TE1 will have nice fantasy seasons. One will have 10-ish touchdowns on the season and the other will have five-ish touchdowns on the season.

Even if Lazard ends up being the one with five-ish, I'm more confident in his fantasy relevance because his yardage is almost a lock to be higher than TE1's yardage.

His receptions and yardage have steadily increased each year since 2020, so I expect them to continue to increase, meaning that he'd be on pace for 60+ catches and 800+ yards this year.

In a half-point PPR league, 60 catches for 800 yards and five touchdowns is good for 140 points, a little under 9.0 points per game in a 16-week fantasy season. If he's the one who has 10-ish touchdowns instead of TE1, then that number jumps up to 170 points which is 10.6 points per game.

That's pretty solid for a receiver who will almost certainly get drafted in double-digit rounds this year.

4. Greg Zuerlein, K

It's no secret that the best offensive teams are the safest bets to produce fantasy-relevant kickers. A quick glance at the top 10 of both lists will show you quite a few matches from the Buffalo Bills (Tyler Bass), Dallas Cowboys (Brett Maher), and Seattle Seahawks (Jason Myers) among others.

Aaron Rodgers is a Jet, and expectations are sky high — it's possible (dare I say likely) that he breaks the Jets' all-time passing touchdown record with 32+ touchdowns this year. Even if the team isn't so lucky in the red zone area, just getting to the red zone would be huge for Greg Zuerlein's fantasy value because his field goal range is far beyond just the red zone.

In Rodgers and Hackett's last two years together (2020-2021), they finished fifth and sixth in the league in red zone scoring attempts per game.

Combine that with the fact that Rodgers has thrown over 4,000 yards in four of the last five years, and we'd have a very strong likelihood that this year's Jets will be moving the chains fairly consistently all year.

Zuerlein was absolutely perfect on all of his field goal attempts within 40 yards, but he was forced to kick more 50+ yard attempts last year than every year of his career since his rookie season. Still, he made more of those kicks than his last two years combined so safe to say he's a reliable kicker — over 80 percent conversion rate.

If we see that uptick in the Jets' red zone appearances and ability to march down the field, there's absolutely no reason to doubt Zuerlein becoming a fantasy-relevant asset.

The only thing stopping him from entering the next tier is the fact that there will surely be games where Rodgers is better at finishing drives than others. For those great finishing games, Zuerlein may end up with only 3-5 points.