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2012 Fantasy outlooks: New York Jets

Senior Fantasy Writer
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In the spirit of Rex Ryan and his guarantees, here's a guarantee for Fantasy owners: You won't have any more than two Jets on your roster this season.

That's because there might be just two Jets drafted in your Fantasy league (three if you include the DST). There's Shonn Greene and there's Santonio Holmes, and frankly not many people outside of New York are excited about either guy.

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For a team that's always in the playoff chatter, and a team that finished last season with a quarterback among the Top 10 in Fantasy points, that's quite the declaration. But as the Jets have gone younger on offense, they've developed a ton of questions, none bigger than what's going on at quarterback.

When the Broncos signed Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow became expendable. The Jets, who always look for ways to make headlines, jumped at the chance and traded for him. Throughout the offseason he's been rumored to participate on offense as a quarterback and running back as well as on special teams as a punt protector. He's practiced in all of those roles but primarily at quarterback, which means we're probably going to see him replace Mark Sanchez from time to time, if not all the time if Sanchez struggles.

This couldn't be worse for Sanchez, who finished 2011 with 26 touchdowns (more than Ben Roethlisberger), 3,474 passing yards (more than Andy Dalton) and 56.7 percent of his passes completed (better than Sam Bradford). Sanchez's six rushing touchdowns -- tied for second-most of any quarterback -- especially propelled his Fantasy exploits.

With Tebow now wearing green, you can expect Sanchez to lose a few reps per game and certainly not be under center near the goal line when Tebow can barge in for six. And if Sanchez can't connect with his new receivers or help lead the offense to wins with the help of his run game, then Tebow will start picking up starts just like he did last year in Denver.

The uncertainty at quarterback combined with the youth movement at running back and wide receiver (Plaxico Burress and LaDainian Tomlinson aren't on the roster) not only make for a challenging team to project heading into the year, but a team that could struggle to win more than eight games. Even with their defense adding some talent this offseason, the Fantasy results for the offense might not favor owners, and the headlines for the Jets in New York would follow suit.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Mark Sanchez ND
Tim Tebow ND
Running Backs
Shonn Greene 6
Bilal Powell ND
Joe McKnight ND
Wide Receivers
Santonio Holmes 7
Stephen Hill 14
Jeremy Kerley ND
Chaz Schilens ND
Tight Ends
Dustin Keller ND
Kickers/Defense
Josh Brown ND
Nick Folk ND
Jets DST 14
ND - not expected to get drafted

Bust ... Dustin Keller, tight end
You might want to like Keller, and for the first few weeks of the season you might. After all, Keller has 40 catches for 615 yards and six touchdowns over his last three Septembers, all of which with Sanchez under center. But once the calendar turned to October over his last three years, Keller has amassed one game over 80 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. We're talking about 39 regular-season games here! Between that and the mass of tight ends expected to make an impact in the NFL, Keller is easy to pass on as a backup much less a starter. You'll find better sleeper tight ends in Indianapolis, Denver, Seattle, Minnesota and Tennessee. If Keller does something around or after Halloween, expect him to be available off waivers.

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Impact rookie ... Stephen Hill, wide receiver
Like many draftniks, we were intrigued by Hill in the spring. His tremendous size/speed combination enamored us even though he was a product of the Georgia Tech offense, which didn't throw a lot. But that's the same offense that developed Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, and Hill is more or less in the same mold. There's plenty of potential for Hill to put up some numbers this year, particularly if he's fast-tracked to the starting lineup as many expect. This Jets roster features Santonio Holmes as a sure-fire starter, and a lot of other suspect names (Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley). It's going to be hard for the Jets to pass up using Hill, especially if he proves in camp that he understands the offense and can handle press coverage. Hill's not yet worth a draft pick, but a strong camp could put him in the conversation toward the end of drafts.

Keeper-league target ... Bilal Powell, running back
When the Jets drafted Powell, we initially labeled him as a possible replacement for LaDainian Tomlinson in 2012. Well, it's 2012 and Tomlinson is retired. The Jets will obviously give Shonn Greene some generous opportunities to shoulder the run game but Powell is a candidate to fill in for Greene if he gets hurt or replace him if Greene can't deliver. Powell's numbers last year were nauseating -- he followed up a 2.2 rushing average in the preseason with a 1.6 rushing average over 13 regular-season carries. And he also missed some practice time with a hamstring injury this spring. This really isn't the momentum-building argument you'd want to read about a potential sleeper, but with Greene not doing much to elicit excitement and the Jets unlikely to give Greene all the carries, Powell is a candidate to get involved. If you can draft him cheap or trade for him cheaply in dynasty/keeper leagues, it's worth it.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
BUF @PIT @MIA SF HOU IND @NE MIA bye @SEA @STL NE ARI @JAC @TEN SD @BUF

If the Jets are going to stick to their ground game, they'll have very mixed results through their first six games thanks to games at the Steelers and vs. the 49ers and Texans. The good news is that once they're past that, the Jets won't face many stingy run defenses. Whether or not that helps Shonn Greene remains to be seen -- he's disappointed through much of his short career. They also face plenty of teams with quality safeties, which might impact how consistent Dustin Keller is over the season.

Training camp topics

Tebow, Tebow Tebow. Tebow Tebow Tebow. And Tebow.

And now with that out of the way ...

There have been plenty of headlines about Tony Sparano joining the Jets as an offensive coordinator following his dismissal as the head coach at Miami. It's no secret that Sparano prefers to run the football: In three of his four seasons in Miami, Sparano's offense was nearly 50-50 in run/pass ratio. And in three of those four years, Sparano's offense finished in the Top 12 in rushing. Reggie Bush and Ricky Williams each had 1,000-yard seasons under Sparano and Ronnie Brown would have gotten there in 2008 had he not shared carries with Williams. And in three of four years (2010 was really bad for Miami), the primary rusher has had at least six rushing touchdowns.

Year Rush rank Leading rusher Rush yards Rush TDs
2008 11th Ronnie Brown 917 10
2009 4th Ricky Williams 1,121 11
2010 21st Ronnie Brown 734 5
2011 11th Reggie Bush 1,086 6

Point is, there are no excuses for Greene not to get to 1,000 rush yards for the second straight year. Sparano should find himself relying on Greene early and often, especially with the passing game in its current state. Though defenses will likely key in on Greene and force Sanchez/Tebow to throw, he should still find a way to grind to at least his rushing totals of last year: 1,054 yards and six touchdowns. A breakout season isn't out of the question, either. He's OK as a No. 2 Fantasy running back so long as he earns his coach's trust in camp.

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Shonn Greene 253 carries, 30 catches
LaDainian Tomlinson 75 carries, 42 catches
Dustin Keller 65 catches
Joe McKnight 43 carries, 13 catches
Santonio Holmes 51 catches, 3 carries

Sparano's tendencies might make things hard for the Jets' receivers, but it's not entirely clear who will play when anyway. Santonio Holmes is a given and Dustin Keller will see snaps too. Everything else is a crapshoot as the Jets added injury-riddled Chaz Schilens to their receiving corps and drafted Stephen Hill. They'll join Jeremy Kerley, Scotty McKnight and Patrick Turner as receivers on the roster. How that crew shakes out might be more interesting to Jets fans than Fantasy owners, though we certainly like Hill's upside.

There's even a kicking battle in New York as Josh Brown will face off against incumbent Nick Folk. Folk has made about 76 percent of his field goal attempts in two seasons with the Jets; Brown made fewer than 79 percent of his field goals for the first time in six seasons last year with the Rams. We'd bet a subway token on Brown getting the job but wouldn't draft either kicker. Whoever wins is a potential waiver-wire pickup during the season.

Obviously, the Jets will go nowhere this year if their defense can't perform. That starts with Darrelle Revis actually being at training camp -- he's contemplating a holdout with two years left on his contract. His presence is vital for the Jets to succeed since he can take away an opponent's top receiver, but it will be newcomers like rookie lineman Quinton Coples and safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry to help get this defense into elite status. Landry's status is up in the air as he battles numerous injuries; he's not promised a full season. Bell follows Sparano from Miami and should be a competent addition. If the pass rush is improved (35 sacks last year ranked 17th), they could be a dominant force. As it stands now the Jets are worth a late-round pickup but not a mid- to late-round reach. And if the defense disappoints and the Jets miss the playoffs, owner Woody Johnson might "guarantee" Rex Ryan a one-way ticket out of town.

Injury update

Stephen Hill (hamstring; probable for the start of training camp) ... LaRon Landry (groin, Achilles; questionable for the start of training camp) ... Jordan White (foot; questionable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Dolphins to release WR Brian Hartline after six seasons
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:20 am ET) The Dolphins have officially released longtime wide receiver Brian Hartline on Friday, per the team's official website.

Hartline, drafted by Miami in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, signed a five-year, $30.775 million contract in 2013. His cap number for 2015 was $7.3 million. After registering 1,083 yards in 2012 and 1,016 yards in 2013, Hartline took a step back in 2014 with a disappointing campaign where he caught only 39 passes for 474 yards and two scores. The 28-year-old has 4,243 yards and 12 touchdowns through six seasons in the league.


Report: Falcons release longtime WR Harry Douglas
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:15 am ET) The Falcons have cut ties with Harry Douglas. The team released the 30-year-old wide out on Friday, according to Pro Football Talk.

Douglas has been with the Falcons since 2008, and had a year remaining in his deal. He racked up 258 receptions, 3,130 yards and eight touchdowns. Last season, he turned 75 targets into 51 catches for 556 yards and two scores. This comes a day after the team released veteran running back Steven Jackson, as new coach Dan Quinn prepares for roster shakeup this offseason.


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(12:53 am ET) Rams quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke is perfectly happy with starting quarterback Sam Bradford, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Love him. Love him," Weinke said when asked about Bradford. Weinke, who has evaluated quarterbacks for a couple of seasons now, said Bradford had one of the best pro days he's ever seen. "A few years ago when Andrew Luck came out they said who would you compare him to? And I said the closest I would see is Sam Bradford."

As part of Weinke's interview process with the team, he met with Bradford for roughly three-and-a-half hours. It wasn't really a formal meeting, though, it was more so the two could get to know eachother. 

Bradford has reportedly been granted permission to seek a trade, but it doesn't appear Rams' ownership wants to part with the 27-year-old quarterback. 


RB Steven Jackson, cut by Falcons, isn't planning to retire
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Though he's without a team at the moment, running back Steven Jackson has no plans to retire. 

The Falcons officially released Jackson Thursday night, with immediate questions emerging about his future. On his own website, though, Jackson posted a statement saying he isn't hanging up the cleats just yet.  

"A lot has been written lately about my future," Jackson wrote. "There are questions about my age, and what I have left in the tank. Of that, I will simply say this. For the first nine years of my career, I was used like a battering ram, punishing opposing defense over four quarters of a game. Maybe you stopped me the first five times I got the ball, but by the 15th or 20th time I got it, late in a game -- let's just say you were really feeling me at that point.

"Make no mistake: I can still punish a defense. I still have a warrior's heart. There are 1,000-yard seasons left in these legs. I know what I am still capable of, and I have every intention of proving it."

Jackson also admitted his two seasons with the Falcons were a disappointment as the organization did not reach the postseason in either season. He combined for only 1,250 yards in 2013 and 2014 after posting eight consecutive seasons with over 1,000 yards when he was with the Rams. 


Raiders expected to release safety Tyvon Branch
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Raiders will be parting ways with safety Tyvon Branch, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora

Branch only played in three games during the 2014 season due to a foot injury that placed him on injured reserve. That followed his 2013 season in which Branch was only able to participate in two games. 

However, Branch could be a commodity in what is otherwise considered a weak safety market. 

Branch signed a four-year, $26..6 million contract with the Raiders in 2012, with $17.6 million guaranteed.


Browns working to re-sign CB Buster Skrine
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Browns are hopeful they can re-sign cornerback Buster Skrine but are probably going to have to try to do so after he hits the free agent market, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Skrine had a single-season best four interceptions in 2014 and will be someone that could command a hefty price tag on the open market. The Plain Dealer reports that Skrine is expecting anywhere from $5.5 million to $7 million per season. 

The Browns should be in a good position to match an offer for Skrine. Depending on what the 2015 cap number per team is, the Browns are likely to have well over $30 million to spend in free agency. 


Colts, Matt Hasselbeck agree to one-year contract
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) It looks like Matt Hasselbeck's NFL career will extend at least one more year. 

The Colts reached a one-year deal with backup quarterback Hasselbeck, the team announced on Thursday. 

Hasselbeck, 39, will enter his 17th year in the NFL. After starting out as Brett Favre's backup in Green Bay for his first two seasons in 1999 and 2000, he joined the Seahawks via a trade and quickly established himself as a starting-caliber quarterback. 

In 16 NFL seasons, Hasselbeck has totaled 34,948 yards, 203 touchdowns and 148 interceptions. He'll be the top candidate to back up Andrew Luck next season. 


Report: Vikings, Adrian Peterson can communicate with each other
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Now that Adrian Peterson has been moved back to the Commissioner's Exempt list, the Vikings can reach out and communicate with him, according to a report from Pro Football Talk

Peterson had been suspended by the NFL until April 15 and upheld by an arbitrator. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Doty overturned the arbitrator's decision, sending the case back down to go through the CBA. The NFL has removed the suspension, for now, while moving Peterson back to the Commissioner's Exempt list. 

The NFL announced in a statement that it is appealing Doty's ruling

Since the Vikings want Peterson to remain with them, they can now reach out and hold talks directly. While suspended by the NFL, the Vikings were unable to communicate with him. This is an interesting development because the Vikings have publicly stated they want him to stay in Minnesota. 

However, at least one report as indicated Peterson wants to leave and continue his NFL career elsewhere


Falcons release running back Steven Jackson
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(2/26/2015) The Falcons released running back Steven Jackson on Thursday, the team announced.

Jackson was owed $3.75 million in 2015, but with running back Devonta Freeman on the roster, it appears Jackson is expendable. In 2014, Jackson rushed for 707 yards and six touchdowns on 190 carries.

By cutting Jackson, the Falcons saved $3.7 million against the salary cap, reports the NFL Network.


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The deal is believed to be worth $9 million with $4 million guaranteed. With incentives, the deal can reach $11.25 million.

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