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Fantasy Football Offensive Evaluation: New York Jets

Whats the difference between Mark Sanchez and a Mexican laborer?

A Mexican laborer gets at least 5 yards a day.

The New York Jets have experienced a lot of success and publicity (even for the Jets) under Rex Ryan. Adding Ryan to the Jets is like adding 50 pieces of flair to Lady Gaga. The good news for Jets fans is that they've made back-to-back AFC Championship games. The bad news is that you can't help but wonder if they'd have back-to-back Super Bowls if they had a good quarterback.

And I know what you're thinking, or might be thinking: Mark Sanchez is good. But what you mean to say is: Mark Sanchez is good considering.

Sanchez is good considering he's only been in the league 2 years. Sanchez is good considering he's under 25. Sanchez is good considering the offensive scheme.

If the Jets were working with a player like a Matt Ryan or even a Joe Flacco, considering how great their defense is, you can't help but wonder "What if?"

The Jets are never quiet in the offseason, and Sanchez has a couple of new weapons, but they are also replacing guys who could have put up similar production. Will Sanchez make the adjustments to himself necessary to take the Jets to the next level, or is this offense going to be the defenses ugly date to the prom again?

Let's take a look after the jump....


Mark Sanchez

A brief look at his rookie stats to last year show marked improvement. From 12/20 on TD/INT to 17/13. Hey, that's good! Throwing more TDs than INTs is always a good thing, and Peyton Manning himself had a terrible offensive rookie season. Sanchez also threw 43 more yards per game, and raised his QB rating by 12 points. All good things. But here is what you may have forgotten:

Through week 5, Sanchez had thrown 8 TDs against 0 interceptions and had a QB rating over 91. At that point, Sanchez looked like a QB taking it to the next level, though he still had an awful completion percentage of 55%. In his final 10 games, he threw 13 picks against 9 touchdowns and had a rating of 68.6.

In his defense, Sanchez was great against the Patriots in the playoffs, leading the Jets to a 28-21 victory on their way to the AFC Championship game. And he still had one of his best statistical games of the season against the Steelers in a loss. But which Sanchez will show up this year? The one that looked so good in those big games, or the one that completes barely more than half his passes, and less than a TD per game? Don't even consider making Sanchez your #1 QB just because he's a big name. I'd keep him in the middle tier of backup fantasy QBs.

Running Back

Shonn Greene

He feels like a #1 running back. You watch him play and he looks like a #1 running back. The Jets have said that he is the #1 running back. That is also something they were saying before last season, and then soon enough LaDainian Tomlinson was the primary ball carrier. Greene's specialty is cold-weather games and the Jets said they plan to get him 300 touches this year. That could be huge for fantasy owners and if Greene really does get that many touches, he could be the steal of the draft. Tomlinson is still the third down back and one of the potential TD vultures, but Greene has a knack for breaking the big run. On average, Greene is going 47th in fantasy football drafts this season. That could be a major coup for one lucky owner. Or maybe LT will take over again. That's the risk.

LaDainian Tomlinson

However, I don't feel its a big risk. LT sounds satisfied with being a third down back, and he's said publicly he wants to play for years more in that role because he has no ego about what he's doing as long as he's playing football. That also doesn't mean he can't be a 150 touch guy that snags 10 TDs from the starter. LT is a very late-round flier but maybe not a bad one. He's a future Hall of Famer on a championship-caliber team, that's going to need to run the ball and score on the ground. That's a recipe for "just maybe"

Joe McKnight

He was a 5-star recruit to one of the most stories running back programs in history and seemed destined for stardom. But McKnight was surrounded by big lights and about 17 other 5-star running backs at USC and eventually got lost in the shuffle. Again, he's lost in the shuffle under the big lights and finds himself in a backup-backup situation, someone who may get 5-10 touches if he's lucky. He rushed 5 times for 24 yards in their first preseason game. He's someone to keep an eye on if anything happens to Greene or LT, but that's it. Don't draft him.

Wide Receiver

Plaxico Burress

I get it. You got your eye on Plaxico. He's a talented WR, he's had a few big season, now he's on the Jets and he's back from prison to be the next Michael Vick. What you're forgetting is that he's 34 years old, has injury and character issues, and hasn't played in 2 years.

I'd keep Burress as nothing more than a WR5. Don't get overzealous and draft him as your main WR backup, because you will probably regret it. There's a solid chance he doesn't play a whole season or put up really big numbers and there are young players with higher upside you could have as a WR4.

Santonio Holmes

He feels like a cagey veteran that has been in the league forever, but Holmes is only 27 years old and could have another 6 years left in the tank. He's won a Super Bowl (and maybe played a part in the victory), he's been a steady target throughout his career, he's clearly a very talented wideout. How much will that translate this season though? His final season in Pittsburgh, he had 79 catches for 1,248 yards and seemed to be on the verge of a breakout. He couldn't play in the first 4 games of last season, and was getting acclimated to a new offense, but I admit I'm just a little nervous that he's just going to be a guy who gets between 900 and 1000 yards and 3-5 touchdowns. He's getting drafted just behind Brandon Lloyd, and I'd agree that I'd feel safer with Lloyd. I might feel better about Percy Harven too, going one pick after Holmes.

Derrick Mason

I'm convinced that Derrick Mason is a robot that was built to lull you to sleep. He's clearly not bad, he's clearly not amazing, he's just the absolute most middle of the road wide receiver in the NFL and he's been that way for over a decade. He's one of 10 players left from the 1997 along with guys like Jason Taylor and Tony Gonzalez. The top of that draft had players like Shawn Springs and Peter Boulware, and it seems like those guys aged out of the league YEARS ago. Mason will be a #2 or #3 WR on the Jets, depending on Burress. He's not someone I would draft unless he appears to have stepped into a starting role during preseason. He still had 802 yards and 7 TDs on the Ravens last year, so who knows what to expect? He might just do it again. He'll be spot started for injuries or bye weeks probably more than any other WR this season because he's a warm blanket that comforts you on a cold night.

Jeremy Kerley

Here's your deep sleeper of the day. Kerley is a 5th round rookie out of TCU that has impressed in camp and could potentially be the full-time replacement of Brad Smith. He will be returning punts, kicks, work in at WR, and potentially run some wildcat formations. If your league has return yards, special teamers, then you want to keep a very close eye on Kerley. He returned 2 kicks, 2 punts, caught 3 passes, and rushed once (for -8 yards. I didn't see the play, I assume a blown-up end around or something?) in the pre-season opener. Deep sleeper, but don't forget the name.

Tight End

Dustin Keller

Considering the repetoire of Mark Sanchez's passing game, I'm surprised that Keller doesn't get 80-90 catches. He could seemingly dump it off to Keller at least 5 times per game. Instead, Dustin caught 55 passes for 687 yards and 5 scores last season. In a not-too-old version of the NFL, those would be great numbers for a TE. But you can easily think of 15 TE's that are as good or better. He's got breakout potential, he's in his fourth year after being a 1st round pick, you never know if he won't just catch 10 TDs this season. It could happen. The first TE to get seriously hurt this year, and Keller will be a big pickup in fantasy leagues. I mean, he'll probably be rostered in the majority of leagues, but he's not a solid option as starter. If you decide to punt TE, you'll probably end up with Keller as a safety valve which is fine, as long as you punted for the right reasons.

His potential backup Jeff Cumberland caught 6 passes for 77 yards last night.

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