When it comes to soaring high in Fantasy Football, the Jets have been somewhat grounded over the past couple of seasons. Whether due to inconsistent play at the quarterback position, using the dreaded RBBC format, employing prima donnas at the wide receiver position, or not having a top talent at tight end, Gang Green fantasy fans have not had a lot to hang their hats on lately. Let's head to the Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, NJ, to examine the fantasy flight path for the 2012 J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets!
New York Jets Quarterback Fantasy Options
While New York based sports franchises always attract a certain "circus type" atmosphere, the entire Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey family will be in town when the Jets open training camp in late July. Two of the most hyped college quarterbacks of the past decade now call MetLife Stadium home. In all honesty, yours truly was shocked when I heard of the Jets/Broncos trade back in May. Things work in mysterious ways over in Florham Park, NJ.
Former Florida Gator standout QB Tim Tebow (now the Madison Avenue Messiah) joins USC Trojan wonder kid QB Mark Sanchez to make up the Jets' quarterback by committee scenario. Even though this "preacher joins party boy" combo has already been discussed to an ad nauseam level, it's a saga that's not going away any time soon. Sanchez needs to learn better ball control and "gimmick" quarterbacks never last long in the NFL.
Yours truly, who never has nor will ever draft either of these guys, is fully aware of their skill set -- or lack thereof. That said, I'm still not sure how this is going to pan out. In his never ending quest to out fox the head fox (Patriots Bill Belichick) NYJ head coach Rex Ryan is probably scheming like a mad scientist as this is being written. Hey Rex, maybe the best way to catch the fox is by signing or acquiring a Tom Brady type QB – ya think?
Jets QB Analysis: Sanchez, who started to come around somewhat in 2011, takes a big hit with Tebow in town. If you could use a full time non-starting QB in the flex position, Tebow would be serviceable. With both of those points in mind (plus the fact that Gang Green is looking to become Ground Green), the Jets' fantasy QB position is grounded until further notice.
New York Jets Running Back Fantasy Options
First and foremost, I offer my hearty congratulations to soon to be Hall of Fame inductee RB LaDainian Tomlinson who just retired – as Lightning Bolt! Those of us who were fortunate enough to "set and forget" LT2 anytime from 2001 until 2008 are a little richer cash wise – not to mention memory wise. As a comparable player to Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders, Tomlinson gets instant access to the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame as well.
Back to reality! RB Shonn Greene is another highly hyped college kid who hasn't lived up to his press clippings. Serviceable, as a low end RB2, Greene hasn't found that gear needed to become a fantasy stud. This former Iowa Hawkeye one-year wonder has scored double-digit fantasy points just ten times – in 50 NFL games played. Trying to predict where and when those double D's will happen is nearly impossible. His six double dips last season came against teams that ranked from 8th to 24th in fantasy run defense.
Although he has showed some promise, RB Joe McKnight still has a ways to go. He also needs to stay out of the infirmary. Don't forget, Joe Mac posted 158 rushing yards, against the then third best fantasy run defense (Buffalo Bills) during NFL Week 17 back in 2010. He also has some value if your league awards special teams kick-return yardage and touchdown points. Bilal Powell (4th round 2011) and Terrance Ganaway (6th round 2012) are also in the mix in New York, but should remain on the NFL Opening Day waiver wire.
Jets RB Analysis: One has to wonder if the Jets are turning to a wildcat offense when the rest of the NFL is heading away from it. Picture Sanchez under center, Tebow in behind him, Greene behind him and McKnight split out wide. I repeat - gimmicks do not last in the NFL. The Jets top brass insists that their ground and pound identity will be back this season – for sure this time. Gang Ground & Pound is best left in the hanger on Draft Day.
New York Jets Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
As much as I would like to make a few jokes and cut this short, I will take a more in depth look at the not so friendly skies when it comes to the Jets' fantasy wide receiver core. On the Jets official website, they list 12 different wide receivers – including unrestricted free agent Plaxico Burress. Plax is out in New York as the hard luck WR received another bum rap in Manhattan.
At the top of the heap is Santonio Holmes who has been mediocre at best in the Meadowlands. Entering his seventh NF season, the Jets are hoping that three is the charm as this former Super Bowl MVP is entering his third season in New York. In his first two years, he managed a combined 1,400 receiving yards. With the 2009 Steelers he had 1,248 pass receiving yards.
When your Round 2 (43 OA) draft pick, that is already dealing with a hamstring issue, is listed as a WR2 on your depth chart - you better contact the tower. New York we may have a problem. Steven Hill, a huge 6' 4" wide receiver out of Georgia Tech, is being projected to start opposite of Holmes. As raw talent, with athletic leaping ability, I see Hill as a work in progress.
Often injured former Oakland Raiders WR Chaz Schilens signed a one deal with the Jets back in March. While Schilens officially appeared in 15 games last season, his 23 catches, for 271 yards and two TD is nothing to get excited about. Second year slot receiver Jeremy Kerly will attempt to hold off Schilens during the Jets training camp. All bets are off on both players right now. Patrick Turner, a former third round pick of the Dolphins, and walking casualty Jordan White (two knee surgeries and now a broken foot) are also trying to make the 53-man roster.
Jets WR Analysis: The lack of a consistent QB, along with a constantly flip flopping offensive philosophy, has certainly contributed to his woes - but a high end WR3 is the best ADP for Holmes. Schilens has always peaked my interest and I will be keeping an eye on him during training camp. If he falls to you in a decent spot, grab and stash Hill - hoping the hamstring heals! After that, the rest of the Jets receiving core should be parked along side the RB crew.
New York Jets Tight End Fantasy Options
Few players go from early season studs to sub-par duds quite the way that TE Dustin Keller has over the past two seasons. For the second year in a row, Keller busted out of the gates, only to disappear after the first few weeks. DK posted double-digit scoring in three of the first four weeks back in 2010 and then again during the first two weeks of the 2011 NFL season. Apart from those five weeks, he scored more than ten fantasy points just twice, leaving him with single-digit scoring in 25 of 32 weeks. His only saving grace is the fact that none of the other four tight ends currently under contract provide any competition.
Jets TE Analysis: Being as I possess a strong understanding, not to mention appreciation, for the tight end position, Keller has never sucked me in – and he never will. If he's around late, and you missed the first class TE boat, Keller will be a service top 15 TE in 2012.
New York Jets Fantasy Bottom Line: Teams with a defense first mantra are normally not fertile fields from a fantasy football perspective. Yes, there are some exceptions, the Ravens and Steelers come to mind, but I normally tend to pluck the top prospect and then avoid the rest of the players on D-minded clubs. Even though their Flight Crew is super hot, having cruised through the Jets hanger, I can safely say I won't be flying Air J-E-T-S at any point in 2012.