In the most New York Jets story imaginable, the team announced Tuesday that would-be starting quarterback Geno Smith is set to miss between 6 to 10 weeks after suffering a broken jaw in camp. How’d he break his jaw? Hard hit in practice? Slipped in the shower? Ball to the face? Nope, he got sucker punched right in the head by a damn teammate. The teammate is something called IK Enemkpali, and he was subsequently cut. Punching the starting QB in the face is probably grounds for release, yeah. Especially when you’re IK Enemkpali. It sounds like Geno owed IK some money, or something, and didn’t pay up, resulting in Geno getting a face full of fist. I know what you’re wondering. “Does Boomer Esiason have a dumb take about this?”
Bottom line if you owe somebody money pay your debt. Don’t be surprised if you get punched in the face if you don’t.
— Boomer Esiason (@7BOOMERESIASON) August 11, 2015
Wow, he does! Who could’ve seen that coming!?
Anyway, so Geno was supposed to be the Jets’ starter this season. I’m not his most avid supporter or anything, but he actually showed signs of coming around over the latter stages of last season. Over the season’s final four games, Smith completed 71-109 passes (65%) for 1,001 yards with six touchdowns and just two interceptions. Maybe something clicked? He could’ve been in for a breakthrough season (I doubt it, but maybe!), but now that’s going to have to wait quite a while. He’s going to have to have jaw surgery, and his jaw will then be wired shut for a while. Sounds like it sucks. The other QBs on the Jets’ roster are as follows: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty and Jake Heaps. Barring additional injury or some crazy bad preseason/training camp performance, it looks like Fitzy is in-line to start the season under center. We’re going to need a 30-for-30 on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s crazy career one day. Seems like he’s on a new team every year and still somehow lucks into finding a way to become that team’s starter despite being completely average-to-below average. Last season he was the Houston Texans’ starter for most of the year, and threw for about 2,500 yards with 18 TDs and 8 picks. Pretty good season by his standards. His standards are low. Here’s a nice fun fact about Fitzy, courtesy of Adam Schefter:
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 89 career starts are the most by an active quarterback who has never started a postseason game, per Elias SB.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2015
Yep! Sounds about right.
I think Bryce Petty has a chance to seize this job at some point during Geno’s absence, barring some random free agent signing pushing him to third string. I liked New York’s decision to draft Petty in the fourth round this year, and think he’s actually a guy that can emerge as a serviceable starter someday. Is now that time? Who knows? Considering all he has to do it beat-out Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe it is that time.
As for fantasy football implications, obviously Fitzpatrick isn’t going to be a wise way to spend a draft choice. However, New York does have a couple of serviceable former Broncos now lining-up opposite each other on the flank in Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Given the right matchup, you can probably do worse than Fitzpatrick in DFS fantasy football in some weeks, since he can probably just blindly toss the ball up to these guys that result in a couple TDs. In Week 1 the Jets host the Cleveland Browns, who actually (could?) have the makings of a solid defense. I don’t think I’m super crazy about the notion of deploying Fitzpatrick in a week in which he’ll have to deal with Joe Haden.
As for the fantasy stock of those aforementioned receivers, I’m not sure Geno’s injury affects a whole lot. Fitz isn’t a whole lot worse than Geno, but he’s also not going to be any better than Geno would’ve been. Decker was enjoying a middling season in 2014 before Geno’s late-season resurgence gave his numbers a sizable boost. He finished with 962 yards and five touchdowns. Not awful, but that’s WR2-3 territory. Marshall remains a borderline WR1-2, and I’m leaning toward high-end 2, given the QB situation.