2011 Team Outlook: New York Jets
There are a lot of people out there who don't like the Jets and I can understand why. Their coach is obnoxious and for a team that hasn't won the big game since Super Bowl III, they act like they're the defending champions. I get it, people don't like to listen to a head coach who acts the way Rex Ryan does, but the fact that everyone is always talking about New York is exactly what he wants. So if you don't like him, stop talking about him and it's likely we won't have to listen to him any longer.
QB Mark Sanchez, DAL - Sleeper (undervalued)
Sanchez has been in the league for two years now; while his numbers improved in his second season, they were not great for fantasy owners. Last year Mark completed 278 of 507 attempts for 3,291 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The only stat Mark did not improve on last season over his rookie year was yards per completion, which dropped from 6.7 to 6.5 in 2010. If Mark can continue to improve, this year could be a fantasy worthy season for owners. Imagine Sanchez with 3,600 yards 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and you'll see what I mean. On the flip side, if he tosses up numbers like last year then we're in the land of mediocre quarterbacks. So if you're looking for a sure thing then stick with Brees, P. Manning or Brady. If you can't get your hands on one of them and find yourself looking for a quarterback with some potential then grab Sanchez. With a few lucky bounces he could have a good season.
The Jets were one of 4 teams who ran the ball more than they threw it last season. This shouldn't surprise anyone who has watched Mark play these past couple of years. Mark does an admirable job under center, but he is no Manning or Brady. The potential is there for a good season, but with 3 new receivers and a shortened preseason I think we'll see numbers similar to last season with little to no improvement.
RB Shonn Greene, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
I know we have Tomlinson ranked ahead of Greene on the depth chart, but I don't think depth chart rankings mean much in this case. Greene and Tomlinson averaged just over 4 yards per carry last year and had they given 20 of LT's carried to Greene, the two would have had nearly identical stats. Thus there is no reason to think of these two backs as first and second on the depth chart, but instead a 1a and 1b ranking seems more fitting. At least that will be the case when the season begins, until Tomlinson's age catches up to him. When this happens it will become the Shonn Greene show in New York and fantasy owners will finally feel confident they started the right back.
Last season we saw LT come out of the block like he was running a 100 yard dash. Fortunately for Greene owners, LT ran out of steam 3/4 of the way through the race, leaving Greene to handle the ball a majority of the time come fantasy playoff time. This year we will likely see a similar style of play come from the Jets backfield. LT will get the ball on passing downs and Greene will be the rushing back. The question everyone wants answered is who will get the goal line touches this season? Last year it was LT (even though most felt Greene being the bigger, stronger, younger back should have go the carries). If Greene can somehow get half the touches LT had last season then Shonn will be a top 10 fantasy back this season.
RB Joe McKnight, --- - Deep-league Only
It took until week 17 for fantasy owners to see what Joe McKnight could do and he didn't leave anything for us to wonder about. On 32 carries McKnight ran for 158 yards and he added a pair of receptions for 15 yards. Granted this was against the Bills (whose run defense was the worst in the league), but he was given an opportunity and he literally ran with it. Due to this late season performance, rumor has it McKnight will see a little more action during the regular season in 2011. I'll believe it when I see it because we've all heard this tune before and then nothing even comes of it. The only way I see McKnight having any fantasy relevance is if Tomlinson breaks down to the point he is worthless (or he or Greene are injured and the Jets are forced to go with McKnight as the change of pace back).
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, --- - Quality Backup
I don't believe many people thought Tomlinson would lead the Jets in carries and rushing yards last season. When LaDainian signed with the Jets, it was Shonn Green who was going to be the primary back and LT was going to be a change of pace back. This year I'm not so sure we'll see similar stats to last year. Tomlinson will be 32 this year and I don't know how much longer his body will be able to take the hits. Last year LT showed he still had some gas left in the tank and this year I'm sure he'll be motivated to do the same. It will be interesting to see how the backs are used this season. If I were going to select one of these backs as a starter for my fantasy team I think I'd go with Greene. I fear Tomlinson's age may catch up to him this season.
Lt was the man when the 2010 season started. I don't know if all the talk about LT being over the hill was his motivation or if he really has a good year or two left in the tank. If he still has something left in the tank then I would expect to see this season began just as it did last year. LT will be the Jets' primary back on passing downs and Greene will be in the backfield on rushing downs. If LT can maintain his 11-3 goal line carry advantage over Greene this season then it'll be hard for fantasy owners to ignore Ladainian.
WR Plaxico Burress, --- - Quality Backup
I'm not going to sit here and tell everyone we'll see the Plaxico Burress of 2007. Heck I don't even know if we'll see Burress starting opposite Holmes or if that job will go to Derrick Mason. If Plaxico can somehow recapture what he had before the night club incident then he will be fantasy worthy. The problem is we don't know when or if that will ever happen. Sure Vick came back and had a monster year in 2010 but that was after he watched from the sidelines for a year. In addition, Vick was just 30 last year while Burress will be 34 this season. If you have a solid starting core and want to take a mid round flyer Burress could be a good choice. Just make sure it's Plax stating opposite Holmes and not Mason before you make that selection.