NY Jets: Complete 2021 fantasy football preview

NY Jets, Zach Wilson. Michael Carter
NY Jets, Zach Wilson. Michael Carter / Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com via Imagn
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NY Jets, Ty Johnson
NY Jets, Ty Johnson / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Will any NY Jets running back emerge as a viable fantasy starter?

Fantasy football players are all too familiar with the dilemma in placing your faith on running backs in the plug-and-play nature of the Shanahan system.

The wide zone-blocking scheme developed by the legendary Alex Gibbs and passed on over the years has produced some of the NFL's best rushing offenses. But pinpointing which individual players to draft and rely upon has produced plenty of headaches for fantasy football owners.

As anyone who has had a 49ers running back in fantasy football can attest to, players like Raheem Mostert slide in drafts because of the uncertainty of how many players in that system will play a factor in the team's rushing attack.

The same problem for fantasy owners will exist this coming season. Ride with Raheem? Take an upside flyer on Trey Sermon, place Wayne Gallman on your bench just in case, and or put faith and hope in Jeff Wilson returning to display the breakout skills he showed in 2020?

The Jets running game will be just as tricky to navigate through for fantasy players. By default and based on his veteran status and experience in the system, Tevin Coleman seems like a sure bet to be the Jets starter at running back.

But even if that's the case, the certainty is that Coleman will not be toting the rock alone. Plus, there are questions as to whether Coleman has lost a step due to age and injuries.

Jets fans love what they saw from Ty Johnson last season as a runner and receiver. His one-cut running style and blazing speed (4.30-4.40) projects as an excellent fit for run game coordinator John Benton's scheme, a system he is bringing over from San Francisco after being their offensive line coach.

The chances are that unless you are a die-hard fan of the green and white, Johnson is not on your radar, but he's someone to monitor closely. 

The player that most fantasy owners will target this summer at running back is Michael Carter. Not only was the former North Carolina runner dynamic on the ground (8.0 yards per carry), but he has been displaying his chops as an excellent receiver in minicamp and the OTAs with the Jets. 

By season's end, Michael Carter could be the best Jets option at running back on your fantasy team. Fantasy owners realize this, and as a result, Carter will be drafted over Coleman in many drafts — especially in PPR leagues.

Before all is said and done, Carter could be a high-end weekly option as a flex starter at RB. 

The Verdict

I would highly suggest having a Jets running back on your roster from day one.

But based on some of the success that non-first-round rookie runners had last season like Jonathan Taylor, James Robinson, Cam Akers, and Antonio Gibson, it will not shock me if Michael Carter emerges in the same fashion.