Hey, remember when I said the 2013 Jets could be the worst fantasy wasteland ever? Yeah, about that…
Notable additions: Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson, Kellen Winslow
Notable draft picks: Geno Smith
The Marquee Men (the elitest of the elite)
Chris Ivory (ADP: 42.7): It’s a rare and wondrous day when we can get quality value on a running back, and here we are.
When Ivory and Mike Goodson were signed, initially there was a lot of shoulder shrugging going on as guys like myself who write stuff tried to guess who would receive the bulk of the workload. Then Goodson went and drank all the alcohol in New York with hollow-point bullets in the back of his car, which is a good way to fall out of favor fast.
And thus we’re left with Ivory as the lead back, if he can refrain from breaking repeatedly. Over his three-year career, Ivory has missed 24 of a possible 48 games. That’s a lot of hurt, but when he’s been healthy, he’s generally ran very far, a made bodies hit floors.
Due to both another injury-filled season and the everlasting cluster in the Saints’ backfield, Ivory appeared in just five games last year, and he was given only 42 touches (40 carries, two receptions). Yet he turned that into 5.4 yards per carry, and three of his carries went for 20 yards or more. To put that last number in pretty facepalm-y perspective, Ivory halved Stevan Ridley’s +20 yard runs on 250 fewer carries.
That kind of breakaway potential makes Ivory’s current mid-fourth round ADP pretty appealing, especially when you see that he’s in the same tier as other RBs who are facing much more worrisome workload concerns (Ryan Mathews, Eddie Lacy, Montee Ball). There’s also the deep depression of the Jets’ passing game between the wobbling Tebow-ness of Sanchez, and Smith’s rookie-ness (also, he’s definitely not out of shape at all, nope). That toxic mix should easily lead to a lot of balls in ivory’s hands, and therefore a lot of opportunities for him to showcase his open-field speed, and running style in which he gives few craps about hitting everyone and everything.
All of that is great, and at the right price, it will mean a member of the New York Jets offense could be the steal of your draft, and this year’s best RB2. But it will be erased if Ivory breaks again (hey look, he hasn’t practiced yet in training camp due to a hamstring injury). Luck hates him with a burning passion, which is why giving Ivory an extra round of cushion to fall beyond the ADP above is a good way to insure yourself.
The Middle Men (middle-to-late round options)
Jeremy Kerley (ADP: undrafted): In a year filled with many reasons for everyone to hate the Jets and many more for the Jets to eventually hate each other, Kerley was the lone bright, guiding light in 2012. He quickly emerged as an effective slot receiver, a role which led to consistent targets, including three double-digit target games.
That snowballing usage should continue this year, because with the Jets’ woes at tight end (see below, if you dare), the shifty slot guy who can create in the open field could become a trusted bailout option. Kerley was targeted 95 times during his sophomore season because he embraced — nay, hugged — that title. He then finished with 827 receiving yards, which sounds pretty meh until you remember that Greg McElroy was a starting quarterback at one point for the 2012 Jets.
This year, Kerley somewhat has immunity from the Jets’ quarterback calamity due to the targets he should receive, especially with Santonio Holmes possibly out.
Santonio Holmes (ADP: 157.5): Under more normal and less Jet-like circumstances, in this space I’d write that as much as it pains you to own Holmes, there are often far more painful options to trot out there as a WR3. Since it only lasted four games (one of which was a 147-yard game), Holmes’ 2012 season tells us little. But go back one more year to 2011, and with the same crappy quarterback he scored eight times while averaging 68.0 receiving yards per week. Most weeks, 6-7 fantasy points out of your WR3 or flex spot is pretty alright.
But now after a Lisfranc injury last year that ended his season prematurely, Holmes won’t even definitively say that he’ll play in 2013, and there’s little confidence he’ll be ready for Week 1. He cares little, and you should return that feeling.
Stephen Hill (ADP: undrafted): While Kerley should suck back targets, Hill will be turned to when the Jets seek to tempt the hand of God and look deep.
His rookie season gave us little outside of teasing and taunting. In Week 1 against the Bills last fall, Hill recorded 21 fantasy points on 89 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Then a knee injury nagged and dragged (and eventually required offseason surgery), keeping him out for five games, and severely limiting him in others.
Here’s what we know about Hill: he can get deep, and do it fast. During his final year at Georgia Tech he averaged 29.3 yards per catch, which should be illegal at any level of football.
Here’s what we don’t know about Hill: if he can do anything with the football in his hands after he catches it. Last year on his 21 receptions, he had just 38 total yards after the catch. That’s an average 1.8 yards per catch, though again, here’s to hoping we can blame that on this rad sports car having a wobbly wheel all season.
Geno Smith/Mark Sanchez (ADP: undrafted): In two-quarterback leagues, every starting quarterback has value, which means every starting quarterback is owned. It’s the equivalent of getting a trophy on everyone gets a trophy day.
Therefore, two-quarterback leagues are the only format in which you can justify owning either Sanchez or Smith due to the various crimes against offensive football their team will commit this year, and the severe lack of support (see above, and sadly, below).
The Menial Peons (sleepers, flex plays, and matchup plays)
Jeff Cumberland (ADP: undrafted): If we could trust either Sanchez or Smith, I’d try to be a brave and big man, and call Jeff Cumerland my Brandon Myers circa 2013. Surely you recall the former Raiders tight end finishing with 806 receiving yards and four touchdowns after barely being drafted, and after 151 yards in 2011. In today’s NFL, tight end usage has evolved, increasing the likelihood that lesser names will emerge (hi, David Ausburry).
But Myers had Carson Palmer, who can still throw a fine deep ball. Cumberland has Smith/Sanchez, who are both more likely to show us that they can throw very little of anything.
The Mop-Up Men (deeeep sleepers and handcuffs)
Braylon Edwards (ADP: undrafted): I’d like you to stop and deeply comprehend the fact that Braylon Edwards will likely be a starter in Week 1, and he therefore has some fantasy value, since every offensive starter has at least a dollop of value. Someone has to start at wide receiver for this team, and given the rest of the spiraling awfulness, pushing out a 30-year-old who had 18 catches last year seems about right.
But as I wrote last week, Edwards retains a teaspoon of our fantasy respect and consideration simply due to his wingspan in the red-zone. He’s two years and a knee injury removed from his last effective season, but he scored seven times in 2010 with Sanchez lobbing up his prayers. In deep leagues he has some flex value, and the rest of you can satisfy your desperation with an early waiver wire add.