Just when everybody thought this could be the start of something beautiful for Gang Green, the Bills went and ruined it. One point was enough for Buffalo to edge the Jets in their Week 1 matchup. Okay, no panicking yet, fans said. But by midweek the news hit and it wasn’t pretty. Sam Darnold has mono and will miss multiple weeks. I wonder what went through Robby Anderson’s head when he was told about it. Let’s review. The Jets depth chart at the wide receiver position reads like this following the supposed pecking order after Enunwa’s season-ending injury and the acquisition of Demaryius Thomas: Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, Thomas, Josh Bellamy. The single quarterback of consideration under Darnold is Trevor Siemian, the once Broncos great of all things. With Darnold at the helm, Anderson was targeted seven times and caught three passes (Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder out-targeted him). With Siemian starting Anderson might seriously think of retiring.
A few days ago, our own Alex Rikleen gave you enough reasons to drop Robby Anderson. I’m with him. The Jets were never a true contender, to begin with. With Darnold as the starting quarterback (a sophomore, remember) and his risk-averse approach to throwing the ball, it was normal to see Crowder targeted as many as 17 times in Week 1. Anderson poses a deep threat like no other receiver in New York, but neither Darnold, nor much less Siemian, will successfully exploit it. The new starter will go and rely on Crowder’s shorter, safer routes. Bell will still be a safety valve, not only in taking targets from other receivers but also in carrying the ball and lowering the scoring chances of the rest of the offensive players. This is definitely not Miami-esque, but the landscape doesn’t look good for Anderson this week and going forward.
Fantasy Impact: If all of the above hasn’t convinced you to not bank on Anderson, think New York is receiving a hurting team in Cleveland on Monday. Perhaps that helps the Jets if they get into a high-score dogfight in which they need to play catch-up and throw the ball downfield whether they like it or not, but even with that, long throws are as rewarding as they are difficult to complete. Yes, Robby Anderson had the highest share of NY’s Air Yards (52.92%), but he could only catch three balls and none of them gained the Jets more than nine yards (he finished the game with 23 receiving yards). Anderson is the definition of boom-or-bust every week, but with Siemian (or Darnold, it doesn’t really matter) throwing the ball his upside is practically non-existent.