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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cletis Cutts

Fantasy football outlook: New York Jets QB Aaron Rodgers

The New York Jets rolled out the red carpet for Aaron Rodgers in 2023 seeking to repeat the Super Bowl magic Peyton Manning and Tom Brady captured after leaving the franchises they made famous. However, Rodgers’ first season in New York lasted just four plays before he tore his left Achilles – lending itself to a league-worst 13th straight year missing the playoffs.

His Hall of Fame resume is undeniable. Prior to last year, in 15 seasons as a starter, Rodgers has topped 4,000 passing yards 10 times and threw 30 or more touchdowns eight times.

The Jets have surrounded Rodgers with plenty of talent, and he’s now fully recovered. Third-year man Garrett Wilson has posted a pair 1,000-yard seasons with suspect quarterbacks, and they signed veteran Mike Williams (knee) away from the Chargers to give the Jets a potent one-two punch at the top of the depth chart. But Rodgers has potent weapons aside from just his top two receivers.

Running back Breece Hall caught 76 passes for 591 yards to finish second on the team. Tight end Tyler Conklin added 61 receptions – Rodgers has a history of utilizing tight ends at a high level. The team drafted Malachi Corley in the third round – a player who has drawn comparisons to Deebo Samuel for his run-after-the-catch ability. Rodgers has no shortage of weapons at his disposal.

However, the biggest change the Jets made in the offseason was to overhaul the offensive line protecting Rodgers. They added three veteran offensive starters – tackles Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses and guard John Simpson. Those moves allow Alijah Vera-Tucker to move back to guard (where he can dominate). Center Joe Tippmann is a highly effective run blocker. The team committed so much to the offensive line that it used the 11th pick of the draft on tackle Olu Fashanu to provide immediate tackle depth, in case of injury, and a succession plan.

With one of the league’s best defenses already in place, if Rodgers comes back as strong as can be expected, the Jets have the best chance in a long time to end their playoff drought.

Fantasy football outlook

The fantasy prospectus for Rodgers is tempered somewhat as the warning signs of decline were evident when the Packers decided to move on from him. He had the fewest passing yards in any full season of his career, threw the most interceptions since his first season as a starter, and had the lowest passer rating of his career. If there was a time for Green Bay to go in a different direction, Rodgers gave them the justification.

The ADP number for Rodgers has him landing at about QB20, which would make him the last quarterback taken in 10-owner leagues or a reasonable backup investment in conventional 12-team formats. It’s certain someone will take Rodgers markedly higher than his ranking, because he’s a Hall of Fame player and brings big-play nostalgia.

Rodgers offers little as a rusher, so most weeks his production will come exclusively from his arm. In the modern NFL, dual-threat quarterbacks are the prototype. The Jets have made moves in the draft and free agency to maximize Rodgers’ talents, but he isn’t an every-week fantasy starter. As a QB2 on a fantasy roster to plug-and-play when necessary? The line will be waiting to land him there.

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