Fantasy Football: Can Quincy Enunwa Keep Producing for the Jets?

Can Enunwa excel despite an offense that features Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker?

When drafting fantasy football teams, it is rare that players go out of their way to draft a team's third wide receiver or running back. Especially in season-long formats, finding immediate value for the specific year is most important, and rarely will a team spread the ball enough for a third receiver to produce at a high level.

Last year, only 79 wide receivers who ranked third in receiver snaps played in any week scored at least 13 PPR points in a game, but is there a possibility that we see someone overcome the odds this year? We just might in an unexpected location.

Behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the New York Jets' depth chart lingers physical specimen Quincy Enunwa.

Can he hold standalone value throughout the year?

Blast Back

Before digging deep on Enunwa's early-season production, we need to take a step back to see what the Jets' offense was like last year.

Just last year, Ryan Fitzpatrick played the best football of his life, as he also helped Eric Decker produce his best receiving season. Additionally, Fitzpatrick helped Brandon Marshall continue to produce at his historically great rate.

We can measure how Fitzpatrick produced last year, using our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. Of 37 quarterbacks to take at least 200 drop backs, Fitzpatrick took the 11th most drop backs (581) leading to the 12th-ranked Passing NEP (81.62). He was also 12th in Passing NEP per drop back (0.14) but just 26th in Passing Success Rate (44.23%), meaning his production was buoyed by big plays rather than built up by consistent gains.

Another way to measure the passing game is to look at the offense as a whole. The Jets ran the 8th-most offensive plays last year (1,147) while sporting the 19th-highest pass-to-run ratio (1.40), leading to the 16th-most passing plays (626).

Furthermore, they did not make up for their middle-of-the-road volume with high efficiency, as they only finished 15th in Adjusted Passing NEP per play (0.10), leading to the 16th-highest Adjusted Passing NEP (64.26).

Jetting Forward

This year, the Jets have run the 9th-most offensive plays (148), but they sport the 6th-lowest pass to run ratio (1.08), leading to the 25th-most passing plays (71) through two weeks. However, this year they are making up for their lack of volume with improved efficiency.

The Jets boast the 12th-highest Adjusted Passing NEP (15.70) courtesy of the 12th-ranked Adjusted Passing NEP per play (0.22). Though their rank this year (12th) through two weeks isn't significantly higher than it was last year (15th), their per-play performance in 2016 (0.22) is more than twice as good as it was last year (0.10).

Similar to last season, Fitzpatrick, among 32 quarterbacks with at least 35 drop backs, ranks only 22nd in Passing Success Rate (46.48%).

Fitzpatrick, efficient overall despite a lack of play-to-play consistency, is distributing the ball almost evenly between his top three receivers.

Wide ReceiverTargetsRecRec YardsTDRec NEPRec NEP/TargetRec Success Rate
Brandon Marshall179133011.330.6788.89%
Eric Decker158163216.151.08100%
Quincy Enunwa1413146112.920.9269.23%

Enunwa is only three targets behind Marshall and one behind Decker. While this feels unexpected, it probably should not be as surprising as it seems.

When the Jets released Jace Amaro, it signaled that they were not worried about utilizing the tight end position, and Enunwa has swiped the targets that would have gone there.

Though Enunwa has his shortcomings -- out of 76 receivers with at least 10 targets, he has the 72nd-ranked Reception Success Rate -- he is actually producing at a very efficient clip overall, similar to his quarterback.

Enunwa's Reception NEP per target of 0.92 is 18th (and 2nd-best on the Jets), far ahead of Marshall's 42nd ranking in this category (0.67, which was the same as the league average last season).

Overall, Enunwa's Reception NEP (12.92) ranks 26th among the 76 qualifying receivers, as he is again ahead of Marshall's (11.33), which ranks 36th.

Aside from the trio of receivers, targets have been pretty scarce among the five other Jets who have seen one. Running back Matt Forte leads the way with 10 targets, while the other four -- including notable pass-catching running back Bilal Powell -- have totaled fewer (12) than Enunwa (14) has.

Despite being the Jets' third receiver, Enunwa looks capable of staying relevant in the fantasy landscape. In season-long leagues, he is a good bench stash, and in dynasty leagues he is a must-own commodity given his athleticism and apparent ability.

The lack of a tight end helps provide an opportunity for Enunwa to take advantage of, as his role provides him exploitable matchups. On top of that, his performance to date leaves him looking like the future successor to Marshall's role as the Jets' lead receiver.