The Jets enter 2010 hoping to better their 2009 season that saw them reach the AFC Conference Finals before losing to the Indianapolis Colts. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez led the Jets on their surprising playoff run, playing a caretaker role with the team’s rushing attack, and exceptional defense leading the way.
The Jets offense will once again feature the run in 2010. They remain largely intact minus left guard Alan Faneca and starting running back Thomas Jones – both released. Jones was let go despite having a career year with 1,402 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Shonn Greene, a second-year player who flashed in the playoffs, takes over as the team’s starting running back, and former Charger great LaDainian Tomlinson was signed to fill a backup role.
Big things are expected of Greene, who has the size to run over tacklers and the agility and speed to beat them in the open field. While his potential as a runner in unquestioned, his receiving ability leaves something to be desired as evidenced by his zero receptions as a rookie.
The signing of Santonio Holmes from the Steelers would lead you to believe that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has ideas of opening up the passing game. He will also have a full year of Braylon Edwards at his disposal, who was acquired after week four of last season. While more is expected from the Jets passing attack, a fantasy breakout campaign from Sanchez is unlikely given New York’s run-first mentality, and both Edwards and Holmes may struggle to produce consistent fantasy points given the limited targets and multiple receiving options.
Sanchez figures to improve on a decent rookie season and benefits from the team’s trade for Santonio Holmes, as well as the their ability to bring in a veteran running back to replace Thomas Jones. He is surrounded by solid skill position players to go along with one of the league’s best offensive lines, so the ingredients for fantasy success are there for Sanchez in 2010. Although the Jets feature two solid running backs to go along with three proven wide receivers and a pass catching tight end, they will likely once again rely on the run more than any other team. The reality is, Sanchez will likely be drafted before he should be, and his upside is limited in an offense that takes few risks and relies heavily on the run.
Last year, Greene was an up and coming rookie playing behind Thomas Jones, who had a career year. The two backs combined for 1,942 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. This year, the team returns all of its key starters on offense except for left guard Alan Faneca, and the addition of wide receiver Santonio Holmes figures to make the offense more explosive. Greene takes over the feature role with an aging LaDainian Tomlinson in reserve, and the likelihood is that he will handle more of the workload in 2010 than Jones did in 2009. Look for Greene to approach Jones’ 1,400 rushing yards with more touchdowns, production that will put him just outside the top five running backs for fantasy purposes.
For those of you out there looking for a return to glory for LT in New York, you can think again. The Jets jettisoned Thomas Jones and replaced him with LT partly because they were worried about Jones accepting a demotion to backup Greene. While Jones had over 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, LT only had 730 in San Diego, averaging a paltry 3.3 yards per carry. Simply put, LT’s not likely going to eat into Greene’s goal line carries but should have reasonable production behind the Jets solid offensive line.
Edwards is a maddeningly inconsistent player on a team that likes to run the ball plenty. Even with the acquisition of Santonio Holmes, Edwards is likely to fulfill the role as the team’s main deep threat. On the plus side, he is likely the only Jets receiver who will start 16 games in 2010. On the down side, he averaged just six targets a game with the Jets, too low to even be a WR3. Let others bite on this overrated receiver who has just 1,553 receiving yards and seven touchdowns over the last two years.
Holmes finally delivered on his promise with a solid season in 2009, but still left something to be desired with only five touchdowns, including a nine-game stretch when he failed to find the end zone. However, with a four-game suspension and moving from a Steelers offense that featured the pass in 2009 to a Jets offense that throws only when it has to, expect a large drop in his production in 2010. Buy low and hope he contributes heavily over 12 games.
Cotchery has been a solid player for the Jets, but there was always the lingering suspicion that the team wasn’t sold on his abilities. With Edwards and Holmes being acquired over the last year, that suspicion was confirmed. In leagues that feature 15-18 roster spots, Cotchery isn’t worth drafting since he won’t get enough targets to be a fantasy difference maker.
More was expected from Keller in his second year, but he was held in to pass block more than expected. His production received a boost when Leon Washington went down, but not as much as expected. The Jets underutilized Keller in 2009, and with Holmes now on board to compliment Edwards and Cotchery, there is no reason to expect that to change in 2010.