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Dynasty Player Profile: Michael Carter (2022 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Player Profile: Michael Carter (2022 Fantasy Football)

Team Player ATT YDS Y/A LG TD REC TGT YDS1 Y/R TD G
NYJ Michael Carter 147 639 4.3 55 4 36 55 325 9.0 0 14

 

Career Contextualization

Michael Carter was taken in the early fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and turned some heads in his rookie season.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel totaled 964 yards from scrimmage last year and was second among rookie running backs in receiving yards. Unlike prior Jets running backs, Carter ran behind a solid offensive line that ranked 11th overall, according to PFF. Now, the Jets will get Mekhi Becton back and have also added Pro Bowler Laken Tomlinson to their already revamped front five. Connor McGovern suffered a knee injury in Week 16 and it remains to be seen whether or not the Jets will cut him and look to draft a center.

Carter ran well last year, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, totaling 639 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Perhaps what was most impressive about Carter, though, was his ability to break tackles and continue downfield with both elusiveness and power. The now-second-year back totaled an eye-catching 558 yards after contact and was 12th in broken tackles per rush.

However, Carter did suffer an ankle sprain and concussion last year and missed four games. He should be out of the woods on those, but who can say for sure with RBs and leg/ankle/foot injuries?

While all seems good and dandy, Carter does play for the Jets, who ranked 26th in total offense last year. So there is a reason for excitement in Carter’s situation, but keep in mind that the development of Zach Wilson will be crucial to the second-year running back’s 2022 campaign.

Current Situation

As it stands, the Jets remain with their stable of RBs from 2021. Carter figures to be the lead back, with Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, Austin Walter, and La’Mical Perine vying for touches. While Carter was the most effective back, Coleman and Johnson were both used pretty liberally in a mostly discombobulated Jets offense. Due to the common blowout in 2021, the Jets had to abandon the run game pretty frequently, but as it stands, New York should be a better team this year and run the ball a bit more (which bodes well for Carter).

The shining positive here is that Carter is clearly the most talented back of the bunch. This season, he should see an uptick in workload as he and Zach Wilson look to make the next step in their career behind a potentially very good offensive line (“very good” relies on the health of Becton and the outcome of the Connor McGovern situation).

The Jets were pretty inconsistent on who received goal-line carries, but Carter did score three of his four touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line, with his fourth coming from just 8 yards out. While Ty Johnson and even Austin Walter got some run there, the Jets could look to Carter to fully seize that role in 2022. While it appears Johnson has a stronghold on third downs, Carter will still be an effective pass catcher and should play a part when the Jets go down big.

General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career

Last season, Michael Carter finished as RB29 in .5 PPR leagues in just 14 games. While I don’t necessarily expect Carter to break tackles at the rate he did last year, it is certainly possible that he does. Carter is an exciting combo back but does lack a bit of speed, as proven by his 4.50 40-time and, at moments, lack of open-field separation. Despite this, he still produced in a young and inconsistent offense last season.

Carter should be drafted as a mid-range RB2 with upside in 14-team leagues. As of my way-too-early rankings, Carter is RB23 and could climb a bit higher given the volatility of other running backs in that range. Now that teams have NFL tape on Carter and Zach Wilson, the 2022 season could present some challenges, but thanks to GM Joe Douglas’ focus on the line, expect more of the same from Carter and someone to draft as your second RB or very strong FLEX.

At just 22 years old, Carter makes for a very interesting target in dynasty leagues and a player who could force his way into easy top-15 RB contention with a solid early 2022 showing.

 


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