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The New York Jets added a ton of new faces on offense in free agency and the NFL Draft, but one the most important additions is the return of tight end Chris Herndon. The former Miami Hurricane missed 15 games in 2019 but was a crucial part of the 2018 passing game with 502 yards and four touchdowns on 39 receptions.
2020 will be Herndon’s third season in the league and has the potential to be his best. DraftKings Sportsbook has Herndon’s 2020 total set at a career-high 600.5 receiving yards at -110 odds, a total only nine tight ends reached in 2019.
With multiple new faces for the Jets’ franchise quarterback, can Herndon surpass his receiving total and post a career-high in receiving yards?
Check out all of our 2020 NFL Player Prop Bets here.
Everybody Loves Chris: 2018 Edition
As a rookie in 2018, Herndon impressed posting 12.9 yards per catch on his 39 receptions and 9.0 yards per target on his 56 targets. Herndon played in a combined 14 games over his first two seasons but suffered a hamstring strain and rib fracture that kept him out 15 games in 2019.
In 2018, Herndon led all tight ends with a 92.9% true catch rate per PlayerProfiler. He also finished top 10 in league with 10.5 yards of average target distance (5th). Herndon recorded 180 of his 502 receiving yards (35.8%) after the catch last season, not being much of a big-play target, expect his red-zone ability to be more instrumental in his immediate success in the offense.
Herndon also can line up in the slot, receiving 23.6% of his 61.8% snap share there. The Jets added Jamison Crowder in the offseason to be their starting slot receiver after seeing 70% of his snaps come from there. Herndon will likely line up mostly at the tight end position more often than he did his rookie season, and at 6-foot-4 and 253-pounds, he’s the Jets’ most significant red-zone threat for Darnold.
As a rookie, Herndon received six red-zone targets ranking 10th overall for tight ends and had four total receiving touchdowns. Herndon will split red zone scoring opportunities with the newly acquired 6-foot-2 Breshad Perriman, and the 6-foot-3 rookie receiver Denzel Mims.
The offense finished 29th in passing yards per game (194.4), 31st in points per game (17.3), and last in total yards per game (273.0) with an injured Darnold and absent Herndon from the lineup. Despite having Pro Football Focus’28th ranked offensive line in 2019, Darnold had the third-most time to throw last season (2.92) per NFL NextGen Stats.
The Jets have nine games versus teams that ranked top 10 in passing yards allowed last season, including two apiece versus the Bills and Patriots. In seven of the first nine games, the Jets will play teams that finished top 10 in passing yards allowed, and much like last season, we can see a late push in the back end of the season for New York.
|Week / Opponent||Passing Yards Allowed|
|Weeks 1, 7 vs Bills||195.2 (4th)|
|Week 2 vs 49ers||169.2 (2nd)|
|Week 3 at Colts||248.9 (23rd)|
|Week 4 vs Broncos||223.5 (10th)|
|Week 5 vs Cardinals||281.9 (31st)|
|Week 6 at Chargers||200.5 (5th)|
|Week 8 at Chiefs||221.4 (8th)|
|Weeks 9, 17 vs Patriots||180.4 (2nd)|
|Weeks 10,12 vs Dolphins||262.4 (26th)|
|Week 13 vs. Raiders||256.7 (25th)|
|Week 14 at Seahawks||263.9 (27th)|
|Week 15 at Rams||226.6 (12th)|
|Week 16 vs Browns||216.9 (7th)|
Herndon’s 600.5 yard-mark just got a little more difficult, and factor in the receiving core competition and his return to the lineup may not be the most impactful. Herndon could do damage Week 10 and on, but the Dolphins secondary is much improved as well as the Raiders, Rams, and Seahawks.
The Jets have the second-toughest strength of schedule (.531), only trailing the Patriots (.535), and that’s a massive factor in betting the over or under on Herndon’s comeback season.
2020 Projections and Pick
FantasyPros Projections peg Herndon to record 46 receptions, 554 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns this season. Nine tight ends finished with 600 receiving yards last season, and 13 with 500 or more. Herndon can undoubtedly be one of the bakers-dozen or so to surpass 500 receiving yards, but 600 is a more exclusive group among tight ends. There were 12 tight ends to record 70 or more targets in 2019, and 13 in 2018.
Herndon could record career-highs in 2020 after only playing one full season in 2018, and he’ll need 37.5 yards per game to hit DraftKings’ mark. Herndon, along with Bell, Crowder, Mims, and Perriman, will split Darnold’s attention this season, and having four or five players record 500 receiving yards is highly unlikely in this Jets offense.
FantasyPros projects Crowder to lead the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (774), and receiving touchdowns (5) with four different Jets projected to record 500 or more receiving yards, including Herndon. Only Crowder and Perriman are expected to surpass 600 receiving yards, and Crowder is the only lock of the bunch to me.
With more passes to go around and a ton of new weapons, Herndon will be one of the multiple players vying for targets in a slightly renovated offense. I like Herndon to record a career-high in touchdowns and even receptions, but over 600 receiving yards for Herndon is far from a lock in the Jets offense.