In 2021, Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert saved his best for last, wrapping up his collegiate campaign with career-high totals in receptions (26) and yards (309). Still, questions remain regarding his future NFL impact. Along those lines, how should dynasty fantasy football managers assess Ruckert after he was drafted by the New York Jets?
Jeremy Ruckert’s dynasty fantasy profile
A largely TD-dependent offensive option in his first three college seasons, Ruckert assembled his most complete season to date in 2021. Which factors could impact his floor and ceiling?
Earlier this season, PFN Draft Analyst Oli Hodgkinson reviewed film on Ruckert and was impressed with his “excellent catch radius with strong hands and excellent catching technique.”
Oli also observed that Ruckert didn’t commit a single drop. If reliability alone were the key to NFL success, Ruckert instantly could upgrade any number of tight end depth charts.
He also showed explosiveness in the passing game and, according to Oli, “a little wiggle to his movement, which helps him sell route fakes when vertically stretching the field.” Additionally, Ruckert garners separation from defenders with sharp cutting and quick directional shifts.
Ruckert also appears to be a fearless blocker. That’s a virtue for many rookie TEs who sometimes lack the skills or instincts (or both) to eyeball loose defenders and steer them away from the quarterback.
Ruckert must continue to develop his blocking timing and technique to meet NFL standards for his position. This has less to do with fantasy directly but more to do with his team role. Effective blocking TEs are more indispensable three- to four-down players than mere pass-catching TEs.
Also, we cannot easily look past Ruckert’s limited college sample size (a 54-615-12 receiving line across 26 games). He’s caught a career-high 5 receptions in a contest only once — in a 54-7 shellacking of the eventually 2-10 Indiana Hoosiers. His career-best 57 receiving yards came the following week in a game where he lost a fumble on the opening drive.
This is a player with a total of 615 receiving yards in four collegiate seasons. As such, one of the biggest question marks for dynasty managers concerns what Ruckert realistically could achieve in a 17-game season.
Ruckert’s injury history
Ruckert does not have a notable injury history.
Ruckert’s dynasty value with the Jets
The Jets have had enough of tight end being a weak position. Despite signing C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin this offseason, they also spent a third-round pick on Ruckert. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great spot for Ruckert to develop into a viable fantasy tight end. He’s going to open the season as the TE3 and not play much.
The Jets also extended Braxton Berrios, and drafted Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall in the first two days of the 2022 NFL Draft. They’re loaded with offensive weapons. Even if Ruckert wound up as the starting tight end, at best, he’d be their sixth offensive guy. There’s very little short-term upside for Ruckert.
The positive spin I can offer is Ruckert will get a chance to learn and develop with the hopes of emerging into a starter in two or three years. If Zach Wilson becomes the quarterback the Jets hoped they got when they took him second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, he will ideally be able to support several fantasy-viable pass catchers.
Perhaps, one day, Ruckert will be included in that bunch.