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2014 Fantasy Outlooks: New York Jets

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Kudos to the Jets for making moves this offseason to improve their offense. They added Michael Vick, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker in free agency and drafted Jace Amaro, Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders.

It will definitely help. But just because the Jets were aggressive in adding offensive firepower, it doesn't mean all of these players will become or remain Fantasy starters. Far from it.

Vick still has to beat out Geno Smith for the starting job, and it appears like Smith has the inside track early on. Johnson, who is coming off offseason knee surgery, has to contend with Chris Ivory. And Decker leaves the luxury of Peyton Manning for the uncertainty and inconsistency of Vick or Smith. It's also hard to trust these rookies as starting Fantasy options, although Amaro is intriguing at tight end.

A lot has to be determined in training camp with starting spots, and until we see how it all meshes together, we're hesitant to draft any Jets as No. 1 options in standard leagues, including Johnson and Decker. Those are the two prominent names, but they could be two busts based on how they finished in 2013 compared to their outlooks this year.

You don't want him ... Eric Decker

We're kidding, somewhat, with the headline of not wanting him, but he shouldn't be considered a No. 1 or even a No. 2 Fantasy receiver on Draft Day. He's fine as a No. 3 option with a mid-round pick, but he's about to fall from grace without Manning.

For the past two seasons with Manning at quarterback, Decker averaged 86 catches for 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns. But if you look at Decker in 2011 when he was catching passes from Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, he had 44 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. He should be better than that with his catches and yards, but maybe not by much.

Some things to keep in mind are the Jets' leading receiver in touchdowns last year was Jeremy Kerley with three, and the receiving corps as a whole combined for 13 touchdowns, so you should be concerned if Smith is the starter. And he now is the No. 1 receiver in a division with Darrelle Revis and Brent Grimes for four matchups.

Decker will have his moments for sure, but at what cost? Don't draft him as a starter, but if he's your third receiver and you have realistic expectations, he shouldn't let you down.

You really don't want him ... Chris Johnson

Don't look at the name. Don't look at the back of his trading card for his career stats. Don't even look at last year's performance. That player is gone.

Johnson was once an elite Fantasy option, but his 2,000-yard campaign was five seasons ago. Yes, he was the No. 9 Fantasy running back last season, but that was his first Top 10 finish since 2010. He has gone three years in a row with six rushing touchdowns or less.

He averaged a career-low 3.9 yards-per-carry in 2013, and the only reason he was in the Top 10 in Fantasy points last season was a career-high four receiving touchdowns. His previous high was two in 2009, and we're not expecting him to become Darren Sproles in the latter stages of his career.

We hope his knee is OK, but the more time he misses the better that is for Ivory. Johnson will likely start, but he will share touches with Ivory -- and that doesn't include Bilal Powell potentially seeing time on passing downs.

There are going to be owners who draft Johnson as a No. 2 Fantasy running back with the thought that he's still elite, but let someone else make that mistake. He's just a flex option, and his best days are behind him.

Dynasty target ... Jace Amaro

2013 Touches Leaders
759 total touches
Bilal Powell 212 (176 car., 36 rec.) 27.9%
Chris Ivory 184 (182 car., 2 rec.) 24.2%
Jeremy Kerley 47 (4 car., 43 rec.) 6.2%
David Nelson 36 rec. 4.7%
Kellen Winslow 31 rec. 4.1%
All Others 249 32.8%

Amaro, like most rookie tight ends, will probably struggle this year. But he fits a huge need for the Jets, and he could surprise us all this season.

That said, we'll probably see the best Amaro has to offer starting in 2015. And he has a lot to offer. He was a monster last season at Texas Tech with 106 catches for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns.

He's already said he wants to "be a tight end that catches 100 balls a year." Seeing him do that this season is a bit of a stretch. The Jets' primary tight ends in 2013 -- Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow -- combined for 57 catches, 786 yards and six touchdowns. Sorry, Jace, but 100 catches isn't happening this year.

Now, Amaro could reach the combined totals of Cumberland and Winslow because he's that good, but even that's going to be hard to achieve as a rookie. We'd only draft him with a late-round flier in seasonal leagues, but in dynasty and keeper formats he's worth a mid-round selection. He could be a star as early as 2015.

Schedule analysis

If you believe in Johnson -- or Ivory -- then the start of the season should be extremely promising. The Jets open with Oakland, Green Bay and Chicago in consecutive weeks, and those were three of the eight worst teams in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. That should allow the Jets to run the ball at a high level, so Johnson or Ivory could do well out of the gate. The start of the season is also good for Decker, who won't see Revis for the first time until Week 7 and Grimes until Week 13. He also gets to see his former team in Week 6 at home, so he should be motivated for that matchup with the Broncos.

Training camp battles

Who's the starting quarterback? Vick expects Smith to be the starting quarterback, which makes sense if the Jets want to develop their young passer and see where he takes them. But if the team wants to win now, Vick should be the starter. He's familiar with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who was an assistant under coach Andy Reid with the Eagles, and he's not going to be as inconsistent as Smith, who looked lost at times last year. From a Fantasy perspective, you want Vick to start because he has the higher ceiling. Either way, neither of these quarterbacks will be drafted in most standard leagues, but the winner of this battle could be a bye-week replacement or a starter in two-quarterback formats.

Who's the starting running back? We fully expect Johnson to be the starter, but Ivory is going to be a factor. And if he can stay healthy -- which has been a problem for him during his career -- he could be the better Fantasy option. You'll want to see how the Jets use both running backs in training camp, assuming Johnson's knee is 100 percent. Ivory makes more sense as the goal-line option, but Johnson is the better receiver, depending on Powell's role. We'd look for Johnson in Round 5 and Ivory in Round 9. Based on value, waiting on Ivory is the smarter move.

Who's the No. 2 receiver? Decker is the No. 1 receiver, but he's the only sure thing coming into the season on the depth chart. Kerley could be the De facto No. 2 receiver, but he's better suited as the slot option. That leaves the rookies in Evans and Saunders as potential options to start or uninspiring veterans like David Nelson or Stephen Hill. Our choice would be Evans since Saunders is more of a slot option, Nelson is a possession receiver and Hill has been a bust. But whoever is the starter opposite Decker has minimal Fantasy value, and only Kerley is worth drafting with a late-round pick in PPR leagues.

Bold prediction

A lot has to happen for Ivory to be a Top 20 rusher: Johnson has to struggle or get hurt, and Ivory has to stay healthy. But if given enough work, he will shine. Ivory had five games in 2013 with at least 15 carries, and he had double digits in Fantasy points in all five outings. Remember Johnson's 3.9 yards per carry from last year? Ivory was at 4.6. Another thing holding back Ivory is his lack of receiving skills with five career catches, but he could dominate at the goal line and offset his poor hands. He's an easy selection with a late-round pick, and you'll be happy to have Ivory on your team when he outplays Johnson this season.

Injury report

Chris Johnson (knee), probable for the start of training camp. ... Stephen Hill (knee), probable for the start of training camp.

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Player News
Lions put RT LaAdrian Waddle on injured reserve
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:34 pm ET) The Lions placed starting right tackle LaAdrian Waddle on injured reserve with a partially torn ACL, reports MLive.com. Detroit will go with undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas at right tackle, starting Sunday at Chicago.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson puts in limited practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:30 pm ET) Lions wideout Calvin Johnson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday ahead of his Week 16 visit to Chicago. Johnson has caught 23 balls for 357 yards and three touchdowns over the past three weeks, and is not expected to be limited in any way Sunday.

The Bears rank 31st in passing defense, giving up 272 yards per game. They've given up a league-high 33 passing touchdowns.

Detroit is favored by 6.5 or 7 points at Vegas sportsbooks.


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:30 pm ET) Two Patriots skill position players have suffered injuries that could affect their playing statuses for the Sunday game against the host Jets.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman was limited in practice Wednesday with a concussion, though it's unclear when it was sustained. He must pass protocol to be cleared for Week 16 action.

Running back LeGarrette Blount, meanwhile, has a hurt shoulder.


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:22 pm ET) Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has called "ridiculous" a Fox Sports report that some teammates snubbed him during pregame introductions Sunday, per The Associated Press.

There have been rumblings much of the season that some Browns have little respect for Manziel, who has admitted that he didn't work particularly hard when he was a backup to Brian Hoyer.


Chargers QB Rivers misses practice, but should play in game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:11 pm ET) Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was absent from practice Wednesday with chest and back issues, but is expected to play Saturday at San Francisco.

'Pretty slim' chance Giants RB Rashad Jennings plays Sunday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:10 pm ET) Giants running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) expects to sit out practice Thursday for the second straight day, and his chances of playing Sunday at St. Louis are "pretty slim," reports ESPN.com. Rookie Andre Williams would start in Jennings' place. He's carried 42 times for 175 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks.

The website expects Orleans Darkwa to back up Williams and possibly play on passing downs.

Jennings reinjured his sprained right ankle on the first play from scrimmage Week 15. He's been a non-factor since the Nov. 30 loss at Jacksonville.

The Giants are 5-point underdogs at most Vegas sportsbooks.


Texans WR Johnson back on practice field Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:02 pm ET) Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has taken a step forward toward his goal of playing Sunday against Baltimore by practicing Wednesday.

He missed the Week 15 game against Indianapolis with a concussion.


Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams gets in limited practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:56 pm ET) Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, who's missed two straight games with a hand injury, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Running back Jonathan Stewart averaged 21.5 touches the past two weeks, and his workload could take a hit if Williams returns.

Carolina hosts the Browns on Sunday.


Troubled DE Ray McDonald released by 49ers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) Defensive end Ray McDonald has been released by the 49ers after a second assault charge had been levied against him in the last four months, per CSNBayArea.com. The latest are sexual assault allegations for which he is being investigated.

The team had stood by McDonald after the first incident, but apparently have lost faith in his innocence.

McDonald, who was finishing his eighth season with San Francisco and has started every game this year, ends 2014 with three sacks and having contributed to 39 tackles.


Harry Douglas among Falcons wideouts watching Wednesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Like starters Julio Jones (hip) and Roddy White (ankle), Falcons receiver Harry Douglas (foot) was held out of practice Wednesday. White and Douglas are expected to play Sunday at New Orleans, while Jones' status won't be decided until shortly before kickoff.

Normally the No. 3 receiver, Douglas started in Jones' place Week 15 and caught 10 passes for 131 yards. He figures to be targeted heavily Sunday if Jones sits out again.

The Falcons are 6-point underdogs at every major Las Vegas sportsbook.


 
 
 
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