The New York Jets haven’t been a popular consideration for fantasy football in 2021. Injuries decimating rosters and illness spreading through the league could cause that to change, though. As we head into the fantasy playoffs, should you consider picking up Jets running back Ty Johnson, and how much of a waiver wire priority should he be?
Update 12/15/21: The Jets have officially designated Michael Carter to return from IR.
Ty Johnson has seen his playing time increase
Johnson’s stats haven’t been impressive. Despite being active in every game, he has just 55 rushing attempts for 204 yards and a touchdown. However, he is carving himself out a role as the Jets’ primary receiving back. Johnson has caught 31 of 50 targets for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was targeted 4 times in Week 13 and 7 times in Week 14, the second-most of any Jets pass catcher.
Unfortunately, Johnson didn’t make the most of those targets, catching just 4 for 40 yards. He had crucial drops on each of the first three offensive drives. Nonetheless, quarterback Zach Wilson continued to look his way, and optimistic fantasy managers will hope that he can maintain a consistent volume.
The Jets will hope for a more favorable game script with upcoming games against the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. Yet, that might not work in Johnson’s favor, even if he is given the start.
In Week 14, Johnson was the clear lead back. He played 73% of the team’s offensive snaps, while La’Mical Perine was only on the field for 26%. That didn’t translate into fantasy opportunities, though. Perine had 7 rushing attempts, 1 more than Johnson. Despite his involvement in the passing game, Johnson had just 10 total touches compared to Perine’s 7.
Will Johnson continue to be the lead back with Michael Carter possibly returning?
The bad news for Johnson is that rookie Michael Carter could be returning from injured reserve. Carter had been the leader of the backfield committee before an ankle sprain sidelined him.
He had at least 10 rushing attempts in six games prior to the injury and had 9 in Week 11 before being forced to leave early. Carter also had an enormous 33 targets in the four games before his injury.
The Jets drafted Carter in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft and liked what they saw from him. Whether he’s the long-term answer is still unclear, but they want to allow him to prove himself this season. If Carter returns, then Johnson’s role will shrink considerably.
Elsewhere in the backfield, Tevin Coleman missed the Week 14 loss to the New Orleans Saints due to a concussion. Head coach Robert Saleh said that the team expects Coleman to be back for Week 15. Coleman has been ahead of Johnson on the depth chart when both have been available. His return would eat further into Johnson’s opportunities.
Should I put in a waiver claim for Ty Johnson?
It’s difficult to recommend spending your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) on Johnson in anything other than the deepest leagues. Johnson would have been a consideration when his only competition was Perine, but the return of more talented running backs who will likely reclaim their positions above him on the depth chart makes it a tough sell.
If you’re in the playoffs, then you probably don’t need Johnson, and your waiver wire should have a player with more value.
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