All eyes will be on the Jets this year, and that's the way Rex Ryan likes it. They are probably the most entertaining team in the NFL with their brass coach, dominating defense and all the storylines they bring to the table.
Just look at this offseason. The Jets, who will be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks during training camp, added the NFL's active leader in rushing yards in LaDainian Tomlinson and the active leader in sacks in Jason Taylor, who just happened to play for bitter rival Miami.
Santonio Holmes was added from the Steelers, and he's out for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Darrelle Revis, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, would like to be paid that way. And quarterback Mark Sanchez also made headlines this offseason for dating former Soprano's star Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
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The Jets have given the tabloids in New York plenty of headlines, and they also give Fantasy owners plenty of options. The Jets DST is our No. 1 option, and Shonn Greene should be considered a potential first-round pick. Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery are also quality Fantasy receivers.
But the Jets also have plenty of questions. Can Tomlinson, who looked washed up in San Diego, help replace the departed Thomas Jones, who ran for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns last year? Can second-round draft choice Vladimir Ducasse replace departed All-Pro left guard Alan Faneca? Will Sanchez improve the passing game and cut down on the turnovers in his second year?
It should be fun to watch. And that's what we all plan to do this season.
Breakout ... Shonn Greene, RB
Greene showed in the playoffs that he can be a Fantasy star, and he's the reason why Jones was let go. In three playoff games last season, Greene had 54 carries for 304 yards and two touchdowns. He's capable of that production this year, and he's worth a pick at the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in standard formats. This offensive line is dominant, and don't worry about the loss of Faneca, who is now with the Cardinals. Ducasse isn't at Faneca's level, but he will do just fine playing between an All-Pro center in Nick Mangold and an All-Pro left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Greene is going to share carries with Tomlinson, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, but Greene is clearly the No. 1 option. We view Tomlinson as a No. 3 Fantasy running back this year. And don't worry too much about rookie Joe McKnight, who is likely to see most of his playing time on special teams. Don't count on Greene to duplicate Jones' stats from last year, but Greene has the potential for 1,200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He should turn into a standout Fantasy running back this season.
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Bust ... Santonio Holmes, WR
Let's start with what we know. Holmes is going to miss the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He's also going from an offense he thrived in with Pittsburgh for the first four years of his career and a quarterback he had an amazing rapport with in Ben Roethlisberger. He has to learn a new offense with the Jets, who are even more run-oriented than the Steelers. He has to develop chemistry with a new quarterback, who is still learning the position himself. And he has to prove he deserves to be on the field ahead of established veterans in Edwards and Cotchery once he returns from the suspension.
What we don't know is if Holmes can use all this as motivation. Maybe the punishment of the suspension and the fact that the Steelers gave up on him can propel him for 12 outstanding games. He also is looking for a new contract after this year. The best thing to do with Holmes on Draft Day is let him fall to you. If you draft Holmes as your No. 4 wide receiver then you're in good shape. Anything higher than that and your Fantasy team might be in trouble.
Bounce-back candidate ... Dustin Keller, TE
We expected Keller to play well in 2009, which was his sophomore year. The thought was Keller would be a featured target for Sanchez, but Keller's stats actually went down from his rookie season. It wasn't until the playoffs when Keller took off, and he had 12 catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns in three postseason outings. We expect him to build off that performance and emerge as a bounce-back candidate.
The Jets plan to open up the passing game, and Keller should find plenty of open seams with Holmes, Edwards and Cotchery on the field. Keller should also be a great red-zone target for Sanchez like he was in the playoffs. If you draft a questionable starting tight end like Owen Daniels, Kellen Winslow and Chris Cooley or miss on the elite options and are looking for someone with upside, then take Keller with a late-round pick. He should play well this year.
The Jets offense, especially Greene and Tomlinson, are going to be tested in the first half of the season. They face tough run defenses in Baltimore, Minnesota and Green Bay in their first eight games, and Miami and New England aren't going to be easy to run against either. The second half of the season gets much easier for the ground game, especially with matchups against Detroit, Cleveland and Houston. The first game for Sanchez and Holmes together will be Week 5 against Minnesota, which will be Brett Favre's return to face his former team.
Training camp topics
There are three things to monitor with the Jets during training camp, and we'll be able to see what develops with some insight thanks to HBO.
The first is how Tomlinson looks, and we're not talking about his uniform change. We want to see if at 31 he still has anything left and how he's being used in the offense. The good news is he's actually going to play in preseason games.
The second topic for the Jets is the development of Sanchez. Is he just going to hand off again like he did for the majority of last season or will the Jets open up the offense now that Holmes is on the roster with Edwards, Cotchery and Keller?
Finally, how will each receiver line up? The Jets aren't going to run three wide-receiver sets on every play once Holmes' four-game suspension ends, so who is the odd man out? We expect Cotchery to line up in the slot, but that doesn't mean he's coming off the field for a significant amount of time.
Santonio Holmes (suspended; out until at least Week 5) ... Mark Sanchez (knee; probable for the start of training camp) ... Ben Hartsock (hamstring; probable for the start of training camp) ... Jason Taylor (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Kris Jenkins (knee; questionable for the start of training camp)
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