Remember when everyone thought the Jets were tanking their seasons to be in position for top 2018 draft pick? Well, with a victory over the reeling Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York could head into their Week 11 bye with a 5-5 record.
Quarterback Josh McCown has played a big role in the Jets’ surprise season. He has managed games well and rides a streak of five games with multiple touchdowns into Tampa. As the preseason ended, it looked like he would have a cast of rookies and second-year receivers to throw to. One of them was Robby Anderson, who caught the last pass McCown threw back in the first preseason game. It was a 53-yard touchdown.
The Jets acquired some veteran receivers to fill roles for McCown. Jermaine Kearse, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Jeremy Kerley were leading targets in several games. But Anderson was consistently in the mix with five or six targets per game. He also developed into the Jets best big-play threat. His 61-yard touchdown against the Dolphins helped the Jets to their first victory. Anderson has catches of 25 yards or more in five games. In only one game has he failed to gain 15 yards at least once.
Sounds like a good starter option. But, is he a must-start?
Anderson has evolved into a top target for Josh McCown and his fate may lie in how long McCown can keep playing this well. Not that Anderson is not talented. His 25-yard touchdown Thursday night was pure speed as he raced past the defense to make the catch. He has good reach and soft hands. He is the real deal.
As the weather starts to affect the northeast, there could be more reliance on the run. The Jets have a good collection of running backs in Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire. Most assumed the team would run first all season based on where the talent was.
At age 38, McCown is on pace to shatter his previous high of 408 pass attempts in a season. He’s only thrown over 300 attempts one other year. He’ll likely top 300 this week against Tampa Bay. If the veteran can keep up the pace, Anderson will continue to see about six targets per game, including some deep balls. With Jeremy Kerley suspended four games, Anderson could even see an uptick.
So that means…
Robby Anderson is absolutely a must-start this week against the 29th-ranked NFL fantasy wide receiver defense of Tampa Bay. This could be a high-scoring affair as Tampa’s Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to put 400 yards up against his former team.
By the time the Jets next take the field, bye weeks will be over and there could be better options available. Anderson will be a high WR-3 regardless of opponent and a strong WR-2 against the likes of Kansas City and New England. He is a not a bad choice any week until Josh McCown’s arm falls off. But he is not quite a must-start against good defenses just yet.
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