Mike LaFleur comes over to the NY Jets as the new offensive coordinator, with him comes over the Kyle Shanahan offense which is known for having a good rushing attack.
Since taking over as the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, Shanahan's 49ers are 11th in rush attempts, 10th in rushing yards, and seventh in rushing touchdowns.
LaFleur spent each of those years as the passing game coordinator for Shanahan so he has a clear understanding of how to have success with this scheme.
LaFleur said back on August 4th in a post-practice press conference "The run game, in general, is critical….to be a good offense you have to lean on the run game."
The challenge for fantasy managers this draft season will be how to attack this Jets running back group. Many assume that fourth-round pick Michael Carter out of UNC will be the lead guy; as evidenced by his Underdog ADP of RB33, going off the board in the ninth round of 12 team leagues.
The next Jets' running backs in terms of Underdog ADP are Tevin Coleman at RB52 in Round 14 and Ty Johnson at RB57 in Round 15.
Over the last three years, the highest percentage of the team rush attempts that a 49ers running back has seen is 36 percent. The average for the lead running back during that span is 30 percent.
The expectation has always been that the Jets would most likely adopt this running back by committee approach, but the assumption was Carter would assume lead running back duties out the gate.
However, if the preseason utilization is any indication of how the season might play out, it seems that Carter is behind both Coleman and Johnson for the time being. Both Coleman and Johnson have played most of their snaps with the first-team offense.
While Carter has seen time with that group, most of his work this preseason has been with the Jets' backups. This signals to me that the Jets view Johnson and Coleman as the 1A and 1B with Carter getting worked in at times or thrust into a role due to injury.
I do believe in the talent of Carter and that usually wins out, so I am anticipating his role being ramped up as the season progresses.
I would forgo drafting Michael Carter at his current price, and instead target other running backs like Chase Edmonds, Damien Harris, or Ronald Jones who have a similar ADP.
I would let other managers get frustrated with Carter and look to pick him later in the season, maybe around the Jets Week 6 bye, as a waiver wire target, or even as a buy-low option in a trade.
If I am targeting a Jets running back in my draft though it is Ty Johnson, mainly because the price is free in the 15th round. Also, he's been spending a lot of time with the first-team offense and could be the lead guy for the Jets offense out the gate.
The 23-year-old Johnson has flashed at different points throughout his career, especially last year in a game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
He also seems to be a good fit for the offense, at least his head coach thinks he is, according to this video released by the Jets.