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The Narrative: Chill on Quincy Enunwa's fantasy value

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Welcome to The Narrative -- my occasional series on some of the offseason NFL storylines and how they'll impact your fantasy football life in 2017.

Previously on The Narrative...


This week on The Narrative...


The news of Eric Decker's impending release is the expected denouement of a storyline that began with the receiver's injury during the 2016 season. It spawned a new thread: the molting of Quincy Enunwa from caterpillar into fantasy butterfly with some estimates placing him as a potential WR2 in some fantasy formats.

I admit that I might have thrown a couple of snowballs into that Twitter avalanche.

But after some quiet moments at my desk eating pretzels and listening to William Onyeabor on repeat, I started to wonder if we weren't all huffing the intoxicating fumes of opportunity without reading the warning labels on the side of the can.

With a more sober head, I started to look through what could be in store for Enunwa as the new first mate on the derelict ship that is the Jets offense. And it's much deeper than just "eww, Jets. Gross!" which Alex Gelhar astutely warned against recently. While there aren't exactly icebergs dead ahead, the seas look choppier than many would like to believe.

Let's start with who's not here, beginning with Brandon Marshall. Last season was easily the veteran's worst campaign since his rookie year. Aided and abetted by The Gang That Couldn't Throw Straight at quarterback, Marshall caught a career-low 46.1 percent of his targets and couldn't find his way to even 800 receiving yards. But he was still a presence on the outside and was frequently used as a decoy to help Enunwa get open underneath. There's certainly no prohibition on running similar picks obfuscations with Robby Anderson or ArDarius Stewart, but how many defenses are biting?

Then there's Decker. Injuries prevented him from being any kind of factor last season (he played just three games) but as we already know, his expected takeoff from New York was the shot that launched 1,000 Enunwa taeks. It was also the impetus for Enunwa leaping into our collective fantasy consciousness. Yet Decker's on-field presence (or lack thereof) had very little impact on Enunwa's usage.

See?

Before you start yelling ... yes, I know that Enunwa's target share will go up without Marshall and Decker in the offense. However, how many of the approximately 150 lost targets will be funneled Enunwa's way? Jets offensive coordinator John Morton is taking his first crack at the gig on the professional level. His only other stint running an offense came in 2009 when he was the offensive coordinator for Pete Carroll at USC. That season, two of the Trojans' top five pass catchers were running backs -- which bodes well for the PPR prospects of Bilal Powell and Matt Forte.

Which is to say nothing of the targets Enunwa can expect in the offense. The majority of his 2016 snaps (68 percent) came from the slot. In that spot, his size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and good but not great speed allowed him to succeed fairly regularly against lesser corners. When lined up outside, Enunwa was forced into making more contested catches. He fared pretty well in that category (catching 15 of his 20 targets when lined up wide) but will likely need to improve if the Jets decide to make him an outside receiver -- especially in an offensive attack that is expected to minimize wide receiver freelancing while emphasizing getting the ball out quickly this season.

But enough about the guys who are gone. What about the guys still in the building?

**turns head to look at Josh McCown**

Let's start with some basic Josh McCown facts...

Fact No. 1: Josh McCown has played double-digit games in a season just twice in his career, most recently in 2014 with the Buccaneers.

Fact No. 2: Josh McCown has only topped 2,000 passing yards three times in his career, most recently in 2015 with the Browns.

Fact No. 3: The two Jets quarterbacks behind McCown have thrown a combined 133 passes with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Fact No. 4: Christian Hackenberg has none of those attempts.

Those facts raise a host of red flags about Enunwa's potential in 2016. If Blake Bortles has taught us nothing else, it's that poor quarterback play can be as effective as a solid shutdown corner when it comes to locking up quality receivers. But despite all of his problems, Bortles has been more productive than McCown and Quincy Enunwa isn't Allen Robinson. That outlook will only get worse if Bryce Petty or Hackenberg are pressed into service.

On the flip side, there's always garbage time. The Jets are going to frequently trail late in games which means they'll be forced to throw the ball quite a bit. So ... targets? It's certainly a check in Enunwa's "pro" column, but that's a tough way for fantasy managers to live.

No doubt you've waded through this dissertation waiting for some grand projection or summary of Enunwa's 2017 fortunes. As the Jets No. 1 receiver, approaching 120 targets seems very likely. But an aerial attack lacking any proven outside weapons with a potential focus on short throws doesn't inspire confidence in big yardage and touchdown totals for Enunwa. As I peck away on my keyboard, Enunwa's ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator is late in the 13th round for 12-team leagues. That feels appropriate. If finding the top receiver in the offense could end up being a dart throw for Jets quarterbacks, it should be a dart throw for you, too.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who would like to sit and have a lengthy conversation about whether Batman is the real menace of Gotham City, but he's not able to answer that in an open setting. Hit him up with your tales of superhero malfeasance on Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, good for you. Follow him on Snapchat at marcasg9.

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