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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
Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


Embattled Brandon Spikes pleads guilty to leaving scene of crash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Former Patriots and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a recent car crash and has received a fine and year of probation, per WBZ, which is further reporting that he has lost his license and will be forced to attend a driver's safety class.

Spikes has lost far more than his license. He has lost his livelihood, having been cut by New England for hitting another car and abandoning his vehicle on the highway. He later told the police that he had hit a deer.

No other teams have been rumored to be targeting Spikes for the coming season.


Terrelle Pryor ready to embrace new role with Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Terrelle Pryor once declared that he could not play football if he could not play quarterback.

Reality has since set in.

Pryor has been cut twice and is now playing on a Cleveland Browns team desperate for a quarterback, but apparently not desperate enough to give him a shot. He is instead embracing what he is calling a "slash-player" role.

"I'm going to give (it) a chance," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I just want to play football. I'm a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities."

Pryor has already taken the first step by contacting Steelers receiving stud Antonio Brown and making plans to work out with him and Randy Moss so they can teach him the nuances of the position.

He also figures there's another reason he's ahead of the game.

"The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants," Pryor said.


 
 
 
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