The Brett Favre era is over in NY. Yesterday, the Jets released the veteran QB leaving Favre a free agent if he decides to make yet another comeback. The Jets were a major player in last weekends draft by moving up to the 5th spot via the Cleveland Browns and former coach Eric Mangini in order to select their QB of the future Mark Sanchez. With the selection of Sanchez, the Jets now have taken six quarterbacks in the first round in their 50-year history.
Joe Namath was taken higher than anyone, drafted No. 1 overall back in 1965 and delivering the Jets their only championship four seasons later. In terms of the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets the future is more than likely now seeing as though the incumbent QB’s are Kellen Clemens and Eric Ainge. Brett Ratcliff was part of the deal that made Sanchez a Jet. So, who will be the Jets’ starting QB when they open their season at Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans on September, 13? Moreover, does any Jet QB have any sort of fantasy potential for the 2009?
In my estimation the answers to those questions are Mark Sanchez and no. Although, new head coach Rex Ryan has publicly stated to the media that he is a fan of Clemens and Ainge he would not have moved up to get Sanchez if that was really the case. I do believe Sanchez will be starting very early on in the season if not on opening day and I think over time he will be a good NFL QB. However, he doesn’t have a whole lot to work within terms of receivers and being a rookie playing in NY Sanchez is surely to take some bumps and bruises in his first year from both opposing players and the media. At this point in time no Jet QB is worth drafting in leagues of 12 teams or less. In 16 team leagues you may take a flier on Sanchez knowing that QB’s are very scarce in larger leagues but don’t expect much out of him this year.
Thomas Jones was a nice surprise for fantasy owners last year. Jones led the AFC in rushing with 1312 yards and 13 TD’s while adding an additional 207 yards through the air with 2 scores thus, accounting for over 1500 total yards and 15 total TD’s. Those are stats any fantasy owner can live with. Moreover, Leon Washington provided a nice change of pace to Jones chipping in with 800 total yards and 8 TD’s.
Washington heated up as the season wore on and many fantasy owners started to use Washington as a viable Flex option down the stretch. However, all is not well in Jet land as Jones has been absent at the Jets’ off season voluntary off season program and I am assuming he is unhappy with his current contract. Jones is slated to make $900,000.00 in ’09 and could very well be vying for more money. A nine year veteran, Jones flourished last season with Favre under center — ironic considering he ripped FavreAfter the season. However, if you look back to 2007 with Pennington and Clemens at quarterback, Jones managed just 1,119 yards and one TD on the ground while being limited to 3.6 yards per carry; he was also facing a lot more eight and nine man fronts from defenses that dared the quarterbacks to beat them. Now that Favre is gone Jones could very well be envisioning his numbers returning to their 2007 level (or worse) and be looking for a pay day now.
If that is the case Jones is not showing his hand as neither he nor his agent, Drew Rosenhaus are talking yet. Here is my take on Jones heading into 2009. While I think Jones’ will be productive again in ’09 I don’t believe he will post comparable stats as last year. There are too many thing working against him. First, Favre is gone and Jones will more than likely be playing with Sanchez as his QB which means teams will once again be stacking the box trying to stop him until Sanchez proves he can beat defenses deep. Furthermore, Washington will continue to eat into Jones’ stats as will Shonn Greene the rookie RB out of Iowa that the Jets drafted in the 3rd round. Greene is expected to be the successor to Jones and will certainly get some carries right from the get go.
Most people will have Jones as a low end number 1 top end number 2 RB heading into this season but I am taking a more sceptical approach. Due to the fact that 2008 was the first season that Jones really lit it up coupled with Washington and Greene factoring into the mix I am treating Jones as a number 3 RB or Flex option this year worth a draft selection in around rounds 5-6. More than likely however, Jones will be gone by that point as an unprepared fantasy owner will be sucked in by his ’08 stats without doing their due dilligence. If you do draft Jones, make sure you nab Greene with a late round flier. As for Washington; with Greene in the fold look for his time in the backfield to be diminished and the Jets will more than likely use him mainly for kick and punt returns. Maybe a late flier for Washington on draft day but not much more than that.
In 2008 the Jets’ receiving corps was suspect at best. I know because I started Jerricho Cotchery each and every week except for the bye. Week in and week out I tolerated his lack of production knowing that if I bench him he will surely score and my decision will bite me in the you know what at the most inopportune time. I stuck by him and he finally rewarded me withaTD and some quality fantasy points in the championship game when the Jets were playing the Bills. With that being said is there any chance of me drafting Cotchery this year? No. Cotchery finished 2008 with 858 yards and 5 scores and with Laveranues Coles gone to Cincinnati he will be the Jets number 1 WR. However, the prospects look even bleaker for Cotchery in 2009 than last year. Cotch was inconsistent all last year and that was with a future Hall of Famer as his QB.
With Sanchez more than likely starting this year as a rookie Cotchery’s stats will probably be worse than they were in 2008. As of right now the Jets have made no attempt to replace Coles thus teams will be focusing more on Cotchery than previously and he won’t have that receiver on the other side of the field to take the pressure off of him. It is simple people let someone else who recognizes his name draft Cotchery and deal with the lack of production that comes along with it. None of the other Jet receivers at this point including Chansi Stuckey who appears to be the team’s number 2 receiver are draftable at this point in time. Before the start of the season I am definitely looking for the Jets to acquire some additional WR’s to upgrade the dismal unit that it is presently. After Stuckey I can honestly say (and this is saying something) I have never heard of any of the other WR’s they presently have on their roster.
TE Dustin Keller formed a nice bond last year with Favre catching 48 passes for 535 yard and 3 TD’s as a rookie. As any fantasy owner knows Favre loves throwing to the TE so naturally he started looking for Keller. Keller is an amazing talent with the potential to flourish with anyone under center. Keller may benefit from Sanchez being the starting QB for the Jets this year as the rookie will surely be looking for a security blanket underneath as he gets his feet wet in the NFL. Although Keller is not a number 1 TE as of right now he is worth a later round selection as a number 2 option with the potential to deliver more depending upon how Sanchez develops.
I actually think the Jets DST is an intriguing unit for the upcoming season. Obviously, we all know Coach Ryan was the mastermind of the legendary Ravens defense and now he brings his gig to NY where the Jets performed pretty well on defense in 2008 and only figure to get better. Ryan brings Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard with him from Baltimore and will surely get more out of LB Vernon Gholston than Mangini ever did. If you factor in Leon Washington’s abilities on kick and punt returns you realize that this unit has the potential to start for you most weeks. Treat the Jets DST a low end number 1 fantasy option for this year mainly because of their new coach.
In summary monitor Jones and Keller in drafts this summer and follow how the DST is shaping up heading into the 2009 season. Those are the only real viable fantasy options from the Jets as of press time. Next up on Monday: The New England Patriots.
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