When it comes to fantasy sports, a player's opportunity can be nearly as important as his talent. Chris Ivory should finally get the opportunity to showcase his talent in 2013.
Although Ivory led the New Orleans Saints in rushing in 2010 as a rookie with 716 yards, he has been buried on the team's depth chart over the past two seasons behind Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. In fact, he played in only 12 games over those two seasons combined.
In the offseason, the New York Jets traded their fourth-round pick to the Saints for Ivory, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Jets.
With Shonn Greene leaving in free agency, Ivory will compete for touches with Mike Goodson, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. Of those backs, Goodson is Ivory's biggest competition when it comes to workload.
Considering that Goodson was recently arrested, however, it's possible that his days with the Jets are numbered. Speaking of Goodson's arrest, teammate Willie Colon recently said to Seth Walder of the NY Daily News: "It's one of the things where it's zero-tolerance with stuff like that. It's sad. Mike could have been huge for us."
Whether or not Goodson is given his walking papers, Ivory should still lead the squad's backs in touches.
Over the past three seasons, Ivory has been productive when given the opportunity. Carrying the ball 256 times during that span, he rushed for a total of 1,307 yards, for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Ivory was little used as a receiver with the Saints, though, as he caught only three passes in his career.
As a big back (6'0" and 222 pounds), Ivory scored eight touchdowns for the Saints. With the Jets, he should get the short yardage and goal-line opportunities as well. Considering the team's low-powered offense (2012: 30th in total offense, 28th in scoring offense), however, there may not be many goal-line opportunities.
The days of Mark Sanchez under center appear to be numbered, and it's possible that the Jets will start Geno Smith, their second-round pick, at some point this season. Whether it's the turnover-prone Sanchez or the inexperienced rookie under center, it would make sense for the Jets to go with a ground-and-pound approach to limit turnovers.
With RB2 upside, Ivory is a nice value from where he is currently being drafted. Based on current average draft position (ADP) data from Mock Draft Central, Ivory is the 28th running back, on average, off draft boards recently.
Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed by their opponents from Week 1 to 16, Ivory and his fellow Jets' running backs have the league's most favorable schedule in both standard-scoring and point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
In the fantasy postseason (typically Weeks 14, 15 and 16), the Jets face the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns, respectively.
Projection: (rushing) 245 attempts, 1,176 yards, eight touchdowns; (receiving) five receptions, 45 yards
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