NEW YORK JETS 2013 FANTASY DEEP DIVE
By Ken Madison
As a Bears fan that’s grown up in NY/NJ metro area, it’s been fun to watch the Bad News Jets flounder the past 25 years or so. Misery loves company and at the end of the day I’ve still got the ’85 Bears being one of the greatest teams ever to fall back on. But I’m not here to talk about them, I’m here to give you guys the rare view from a local who follows the Jets closely but isn’t a homer. So close I’m ashamed to admit I’m a PSL holder and have even attended an AFC Championship game. But make no mistake, there’s no Gang Green colored glasses here. I’ve made plenty of fun side bets with my friends who are Jets’ honks on the over/under and come out a winner more often than not. We’ll get to their record later.
TOP SHELF TALENT
Saying the Jets have any top shelf talent is a stretch but for our purposes of impact fantasy players, their most valuable player in 2013 would be one Chris Ivory. It’s no secret the Jets have grown weary of Mark Sanchez’ career 55% completion percentage and his knack for turnovers. Even if he manages to hold off Geno Smith for the starting job, the Jets will look to minimize him. Conversely if Geno does win the job they’ll ease him in slowly. This won’t be a QB-centric offense no matter who wins.
Rex Ryan finds himself in the hot seat after not making the playoffs the last 2 years. Last year only 4 teams ( Jax, KC, AZ, Phi) scored less points on offense than the Jets and they all have new head coaches. Knowing this, and the few talent changes they have on offense, the Jets are going to have to rely on a strong run game and stingy defense. Rex wouldn’t have it any other way. If they can keep the games close, we could see a repeat of 2009 where they ran the ball a mind-boggling 607 times verses 393 pass attempts. Good enough for 1st in the league and rush attempts and last in pass attempts.
Therefore, if we know Shonn Greene can average 1059 rushing yards the last 2 years at an even 4.00 YPC average, one has to wonder what Chris Ivory and his career 5.1 YPC average can do. Even if that stellar YPC dipped to 4.5, and if he got a very reasonable 250 carries, that would amount to 1125 yards. Two big unknowns loom with Ivory. He only has 3 career receptions. While he’ll never be confused for Roger Craig, he should be able to trip into Shonn Greene’s 20 or so receptions. But the real question remains, can he stay healthy? No one knows for sure, but considering that Ivory is so injury prone, it’s a bit that no one really cares who his handcuff is. Ivory is the only Jets RB being drafted at MockDraftCentral.com and FantasyFootballCalculator.com. That makes Ivory cheap to ‘cuff and we’ll get into who that is later.
SOLID FANTASY STARTERS and SLEEPERS
Geno Smith is going to get a mention here as a solid sleeper. At 6’3”, 218 lbs. and a QB best Combine forty of 4.59 seconds. He isn’t getting drafted right now since he’s embroiled in a position battle with Mark Sanchez and few want to hitch their wagon to the Jets passing game. Rightfully so, but Smith does bring an element to the passing game that could help elevate it in a fashion Sanchez never could. Smith’s last year at West Virginia demonstrated his other-worldly accuracy when he threw for 4205 yards in 13 games at 71.2% completion rate. A 42:6 TD:INT ratio also points to it. Concerns abound over whether or not his skills in shotgun-based offense will translate to the NFL but he wouldn’t be the first one to do it. Add in a few rushing yards and he could be a hot QB down the stretch a la Tyler Thigpen and David Garrard when they first broke into the starting line-ups.
With Santonio Holmes on the mend, and scant few other options, there’s a big void left to be filled and in that situation we count on talent to step-up. It’s amazing that even in the dynasty community how little love Stephen Hill is getting. He presents an intriguing blend of size (6’4”, 215 lbs.) and blistering speed (4.36 forty). He struggled, as many rookies do, with injuries and adjusting to being a professional. However we aren’t ready to write him off as another Darrius Heyward-Bey after only 1 disappointing year. He’s the de facto WR to own on this offense and is cheap enough to be attained in the teen rounds.
While Stephen Hill has the most upside, the player most likely to meet or exceed last year’s numbers is Jeremy Kerley. Not big (5’9”) or fast (4.6), Kerley excels at getting open with quicks and smarts. He’s the most polished route runner (remember Santonio is headed towards the PUP) they currently have. He’s got some Stedman Bailey to his game who Geno fed 186 passes for for 2901 yards and 37 TDs their last 2 years at WVU together. Remember though, this is a low upside pick in the mold of Lance Moore but in a much, more worse offense. Kerley’s a WR4/5 play in PPR leagues that could help you through BYE weeks.
As mentioned earlier, Chris Ivory is no Iron Man. Yet the uncertainty as to who is the primary back-up has created an opportunity to get Mike Goodson on the cheap. He’s currently dealing with a few legal issues, so to speak, but it appears they won’t come to a head until after the season. Ergo he might play 2013 without a suspension. With a career YPC of 4.51 and a 40 catch season (2010) under his belt, he quietly offers 3 down upside should anything happen to Ivory.
It’s nice to reminisce about the glory days of 2007 when Braylon and Kellen lit up the league together, but then again what’s the saying? “Remember when?” is the lowest form of conversation.
Sorry but we had to throw in a Gandolfini tribute when discussing the Jets. The point is, don’t be THAT guy that drafts these stiffs.
That leaves Santonio Holmes who is still trying to rebound from a Grade 4 Lis Franc fracture and the two surgeries associated with it. There’s a strong possibility he doesn’t play the first month of the season making him undraftable. But if he does eventually make a full recovery, he’s one to monitor on the waiver wire late in the season.
2013 Schedule (All Times EST)
Week 1 Sept. 8 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 2 Sept. 12 @ New England, 8:45 p.m.
Week 3 Sept. 22 vs. Bills, 4:25 p.m.
Week 4 Sept. 29 @ Titans, 4:05 p.m.
Week 5 Oct. 7 @ Falcons, 8:40 p.m.
Week 6 Oct. 13 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 7 Oct. 20 vs. Patriots, 1:00 p.m.
Week 8 Oct. 27 @ Bengals, 4:05 p.m.
Week 9 Nov. 3 vs. Saints, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 Nov. 17 @ Bills, 1:00 p.m.
Week 12 Nov. 24 @ Ravens, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13 Dec. 1 vs. Dolphins, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14 Dec. 8 vs. Raiders, 1;00 p.m.
Week 15 Dec. 15 @ Panthers, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16 Dec. 22 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.
Week 17 Dec 29 @ Dolphins, 1:00 p.m.
Schedule Skinny: There’s some run defenses mixed in there, especially that Raiders-Panthers-Browns trio in the midst of the fantasy playoffs. Definitely a sweet spot for whoever is the starting RB. If Ivory makes it to that point, he could do some real damage as an RB2.
End of Season Projection: This year looks to be Rex Ryan’s swan song as a Jet and most likely the beginning of Mark Sanchez journeyman phase of his career. The Jets have 5 out of division games that are winnable against Bucs, Titans, Raiders, Panthers and Browns. But 5 games we’d say are sure losses against the Falcons, Steelers, Bengals, Saints and Ravens. Take into account them probably splitting two games against the Bills and Dolphins but being swept by the Patriots, it looks like a 5 win season for the Jets. Look for GM John Idzik to bring in his own head coach, probably from the Seattle coaching staff as he continues to clean house. Rex lands on his feet as a defensive coordinator. Santonio will be the biggest free agent departure, along with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow.