I was indoctrinated into the Speed Kills philosophy early in life, thanks to Al Davis and the Los Angeles Raiders. Cliff Branch. Bo Jackson. Willie Gault. James Jett. Rocket Ismail. Darrius Heyward-Bey. Puke. “Speed kills. You can’t teach speed. Everything else in the game can be taught, but speed is a gift from God.” – Al Davis. As a result, I always sorted via the SPD column in my Madden fantasy drafts. When it came to real life football, I always gravitated towards the speedsters, no matter how many times I’ve been burned. As Maverick told Goose, I feel the need…the need for speed. Now, speed is not the only thing that matters. There’s route running, the ability to catch, and opportunity, but speed will get a first date from me any day of the week. Yeah, I’m superficial like that. Jeff Smith of the New York Jets, coincidentally, has jets. Literally. 4.41 40-yard dash. He’s also received a whopping 20 targets over the past two games. Should you jet to the wire to scoop him up?
Smith is 23 years old, 6′ 0″, and 191 pounds. He played his college ball at Boston College and went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. He started out his college career as a quarterback, but transitioned to the wide receiver position before his sophomore season.
To open this season, Smith was placed on Injured Reserve due to a shoulder injury, which is why he didn’t get his first action until Week 4. For that game, Perriman was injured which opened the door for Smith. Yesterday, Perriman was unable to play again. So what happens to Smith when Perriman returns?
During the Week 4 game, Berrios only played 10% of the snaps after receiving 81% of the snaps the prior week, while Smith played 95%. Josh Malone played 59% of the snaps in Week 3, but only received 10% in Week 4. Crowder is the alpha of the wide receiver group, so he isn’t going anywhere. Hogan has received at least 80% of the snaps in every game so far. When Perriman returns, he figures to be heavily involved. So, at worst, Smith looks to be the fourth receiver on the totem pole.
The target count tells a different story, though. Smith has received 9 and 11 targets the past two games. Hogan has received 8 and 3 in the games with Smith. Crowder and Smith are the only receivers to have over 8 targets in a game.
Speed. Check. Opportunity. Check.
Looking at Smith’s PlayerProfiler page, he’s in the 74th percentile for burst score, 83rd percentile in agility score, and 77th percentile in catch radius.
Watching the highlights from Week 4, the Jets lined up Smith all over the field. A hitch on the left sideline. Crossing routes left to right. Curls on the right side. Yesterday, I wasn’t able to watch all of the game, but Joe Flacco was feeding him in double coverage. I even saw a schemed rub route in the red zone.
There’s some unknown to what happens when Perriman returns to the mix, but things look promising for Smith so far. And this is regardless of whether Darnold or Flacco starts at quarterback, as both were looking his way often. The Jets are terrible and, as much as Adam Gase wants to run the ball, he has to throw at some point. The Jets are currently 12th in pass rate at 61.04%.