C.J. Mosley was the prize acquisition for the New York Jets on defense this year. I will tell you why he is not the linebacker of interest for me from the Jets.
With the signing of C.J. Mosley in free agency many fantasy owners are still pegging Mosley as a top 10 linebacker. Mosley has been a very productive linebacker during his time in the NFL, I am not doubting that by any means. What he has not done, since 2015, is play next to somebody of Avery Williamson‘s caliber. Despite this Mosley has not really separated himself in terms of production.
Avery Williamson, on the other hand, seems to become the alpha wherever he plays. Avery Williamson had a very productive year in his first season with the Jets and finished 2018 higher than C.J. Mosley in linebacker production. I am taking Avery Williamson over C.J. Mosley in all of my fantasy drafts this season.
Who Has Mosley Played Next To
Daryl Smith– 2014 and 2015 Seasons
Daryl Smith was always a solid middle linebacker but there is a reason the Ravens spent the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft on Mosley. They knew when Smith’s contract was done, after 2015, that he would be moving on, he was aging. Though Daryl Smith was always a solid linebacker option he thrived in the Ravens system having his three best seasons at 31,32, and 33 years old.
Smith was the last true solid linebacker that Mosley lined up next to. In Mosley’s rookie season he finished with 151 total tackles while Smith totaled 144 himself. In 2015 Mosley finished 117 total tackles while Smith totaled 121. Both very productive years from an aging veteran and a young star.
Zach Orr– 2016 Season
Zach Orr got a chance to start when Daryl Smith left. He thrived next to Mosley putting up 130 tackles in 2016 only to be shut down with a spinal injury which eventually ended his career. During that same season Orr outproduced Mosley in a major way producing almost 40 more tackles than Mosley. Some may say Mosley may have dropped more in coverage but both linebackers were great in coverage. Mosley was able to produce four interceptions and eight passes defended while Orr three interceptions and five passes defended.
Patrick Onwuasor– 2017 and 2018 Seasons
Onwuasor never really developed into what the Ravens were hoping for. He took the starting job in 2017 and ran with it, coming up with 88 total tackles in 13 starts. In 2018 he was only able to produce 59 total tackles in 12 starts. C.J. Mosley put up a big season in 2017 producing 132 total tackles but dropped drastically having his worst season to date in 2018 with only 105 tackles while nearly putting up zeros in all other statistical categories.
C.J. Mosley has not always played next to top talent linebackers. Daryl Smith was aging while Mosley was there which made him expendable. Zach Orr came in and played well and actually out-shined Mosley in 2016. Onwuasor was a poor pairing with Mosley and it seemed to affect both players’ production. When Mosley played next to a talented linebacker he seemed to take a back seat and never played above his counterpart. Now he gets to play next to Avery Williamson.
Who Has Williamson Played Next To
Wesley Woodyard– 2014, 2016, and 2017 Seasons
Woodyard played and started all 16 games in 2014 producing 94 total tackles. This being Williamson’s rookie season he started 12 of those 16 games next to Woodyard. Williamson finished that season with 79 total tackles and tacked on three sacks. Woodyard was a starter again after the departure of Zach Brown in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 Woodyard had 53 tackles but was productive again in 2017 with 121 tackles.
During the 2016 season Williamson had 104 tackles and two sacks while totaling 92 tackles and three sacks in 2017. Woodyard has been a mainstay in Tennessee and was still a full-time starter in 2018. 2019 may finally be the year he hits the pine with the emergence of Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown.
Wesley Woodyard and Zach Brown- 2015 Season
Williamson played in 15 games in 2015 starting all of them and was the Titans most productive linebacker. He finished the season with 102 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Woodyard started 12 games losing his spot to Zach Brown at the end of the season. Brown posted 77 tackles in 2015 while playing in all 16 games but starting only 5. The following year Brown signed with the Bills in free agency and produced 149 tackles, definitely not a scrub.
Darron Lee– 2018 Season
Darron Lee has been an enigma in the NFL. He has all the potential and athleticism in the world and shows flashes of ability but cannot put it all together. In 2018 Lee finished with 74 total tackles. Avery Williamson came in his first season with the Jets and was an absolute wrecking ball. He totaled 120 tackles to go along with three sacks. Williamson proved that he was the alpha dog on the Jets team, enough to trade Lee and look for a partner elsewhere.
Greg Williams Linebackers
It is not that I do not think that C.J. Mosley will be productive, I expect him to be. Avery Williamson and C.J. Mosley now make up one of the best linebacker tandems in the NFL. Greg Williams has a knack for producing multiple linebackers with high tackle numbers. Williams over the past two years in Cleveland has proven that.
In 2017 Williams rolled out Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert as his weakside and middle linebackers. Kirksey finished 2017 with 138 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, five passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In that same season Joe Schobert produced 142 total tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks, four passes defended, one interception, and three forced fumbles.
In 2018 Williams rolled out a trio of Kirksey, Schobert and Jamie Collins. Kirksey was out on I.R. after just 7 games posting 43 tackles and two interceptions. Schobert played 13 games, posting 103 tackles, three sacks, six passes defended, one interception, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Jamie Collins added 104 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, four sacks, four passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Greg Williams is one of the most aggressive coaches when it comes to blitzing the quarterback. In 2018 Williams drew up a blitz on 46% of his teams’ defensive snaps. That ranked most of any team in the NFL. In 2017 and 2018 his linebackers were responsible for 22 sacks. Between Williamson and Mosley I would say that Williamson is better at rushing the passer while Mosley is more of the cover guy. Williamson has 14.5 career sacks to Mosley’s 8.5 in just two fewer games. If Williams dials up this many blitzes with the Jets Avery Williamson may be the main beneficiary.
Now that Williamson and Mosley are going to be lining up next to each other I expect Williamson to again become the alpha dog. No matter who Williamson lined up next to in his career he became the alpha. Mosley on the other hand fell behind Zach Orr in 2016 and could not be the definitive alpha next to an aging Daryl Smith.
I fully expect Avery Williamson and C.J. Mosley to be top 15 linebackers for the 2019 season. The big difference is their ADP. As of IDPGuys ADP last month C.J. Mosley had an ADP of 86.25 and the LB7. Avery Williamson had an ADP of 177.50 and the LB29. That is a difference of 22 linebackers in between the two and Williamson was more productive with better competition surrounding him in 2018. Expecting that each should have similar production, and I think Williamson has the better year, it is a no brainer to let somebody jump on Mosley and draft your LB1/LB2 as the LB29 of your draft.
My predictions for 2019 for C.J. Mosley are 110 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions. For Avery Williamson I could easily see 115 tackles, and six sacks. If Williams dials up blitzes on almost 50% of the Jets’ snaps Avery Williamson could become a beast yet again for 2019. All of this is why I am taking Avery Williamson over C.J. Mosley.