The Jets front office is as bold as their brash coach (Rex Ryan). The passing game got a shot in the arm with the addition of Santonio Holmes. As long as they figure a way to make Darrelle Revis happy, they should be a force, both in fantasy and reality.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Moderate
Not exactly a walk in the park for the Jets. They face Miami at home in Week 14 followed by road games in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Weather could play a role in all three games.


Five Star Fantasy Options
None

Four Star Fantasy Options
Shonn Greene – Greene is probably more like a 3.5 star player given his limited track record (108 carries as a rookie), but I’ll bump him up to four given his upside and the Jets’ strong offensive line.

Jets Defense/Special Teams – Assuming Revis plays, this will be a tough unit once again. Rex Ryan has this unit playing with a swagger, and keeps you guessing. Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson were brought in to make their secondary even tougher. They clearly are building a defense to keep up with the Colts, Patriots, Saints, and Vikings.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Mark Sanchez – Sanchez should not only improve in his second year, but he should get a little more freedom after proving his worth. With a trio of solid WRs in Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edward, and Jerricho Cotchery, along with TE Dustin Keller, Sanchez will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Santonio Holmes - He’ll miss the first four games because of a suspension, but is easily the Jets’ best WR. He could take a game or two to get up to speed, but Holmes should be strong for the stretch fun.

Dustin Keller - Keller and Sanchez really started to gel in the playoffs with Keller catching a TD in each game.  His numbers could slip when Holmes returns, so he could possibly be a guy you want to unload after the first four games if the price is right.

Two Star Fantasy Options
LaDainian Tomlinson – LT isn’t what he once was, but he did go to a team that is committed to the run. Plus, Greene hasn’t had the opportunity to show he can handle the full load until now. If he can’t (or gets hurt) LT’s value increases dramatically. He’s a good flex option as he’ll likely be the goal line back.

Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery - Edwards and Cotchery will get a month to work with Holmes in the penalty box. When he returns Cotchery will likely handle slot duties. Edward is the best threat to lead the team in TDs. Cotchery, with the four game head start on Edwards, could lead the Jets in receptions for the fourth straight year.

One Star Fantasy Options
Joe McKnight - McKnight will handle third down duties for the Jets. He is extremely quick and has great hands out of the backfield. He’ll likely break a few explosive plays during the course of the year, but as long as he’s the third-stringer, he’s not a good fantasy option.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

In a surprising move the Steelers sent Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a fifth round pick. I repeat…a fifth round pick. Anyone who thought the Eagles got hosed by getting a 2nd and a 3rd/4th for McNabb has to be floored by this move.

He does have a possible four-game suspension looming. The Steelers were probably just tired of the character issues. Big Ben take note. The Steelers are not afraid to clean up their image.

Winners in this trade are Mark Sanchez, who just got another weapon, and Hines Ward/Mike Wallace/Heath Miller, who should all see additional looks this year. Rashard Mendenhall can also be a winner in the deal as this could move Pittsburgh toward a more run-oriented attack.

Losers in the deal are Big Ben, who lost a great weapon, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, and Holmes. There will be less to go around in a run-heavy system. Of course, Shonn Greene and LT will likely yield carries to the passing game as the Jets will likely feature a more balanced attack.

***Update***
Santonio Holmes was officially suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

By Marc Mancuso

Everyone wants to avoid overspeding these days. Things that may look nice and shiny and sound good are not always the path to happiness. These guys had amazing 2008 seasons, but they are bubbles waiting to burst. In keeping with the economic theme, past results are not predictors of future performance….

All Overvalued Team:
QB: Kurt Warner, ARI — I am seeing Warner go in rounds 3 & 4 of drafts. Really? The guy is 38 years old with a very suspect injury past, having played only two full seasons this decade (2001 and 2008)

RB: Michael Turner, ATL — The consensus #2 overall but I’m not buying it. Matt Ryan has new toys and its expected that the Falcons will open up the playbook in his sophomore season. That plus the dreaded rule of 370 to me sounds better at #6 than at #2.

RB: DeAngelo Williams, CAR — Timeshare with Jonathan Stewart again this year. Barring injury, DeAngelo will not reach his lofty 2008 numbers. Let someone else take the chance on a 1st round pick. T he Panthers didn’t see enough in DeWill or they would not have drafted Stewart as their top draft pick in 2008.

WR: Antonio Bryant, TB Those expecting a repeat of last season’s success will be disappointed. A very suspect QB situation, and three viable RB’s, point to fewer targets and particularly downfield targets. Awesome as a #3 but think twice about drafting him as your #2. Bryant has already gotten nicked in camp with a torn meniscus and will miss 3-4 weeks.

WR: Santonio Holmes, PIT A good Super Bowl does not a good fantasy player make (ala Deon Branch). I like his talent and speed, but he’s far too inconsistent to be a #2 WR. I am seeing him go in round 3 of drafts. Pittsburgh reverted back to a running team last year after putting up big numbers through the air in 2007. This despite injuries to Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, and Hines Ward never seems to age, are all factors will further diminish Holmes’ overall value.

WR: Brandon Marshall, DEN Elite talent, but too many question marks to consider him in the 3rd or 4th rounds. Kyle Orton does not have the gun that Jay Cutler had, and Marshall’s hip and hamstring issues, combined with a potential suspension, puts him in very high risk territory.

TE: John Carlson, SEA — Seneca Wallace is back on the bench, TJ Housh is on the team, and Nate Burleson is back and healthy and getting rave reviews thus far at camp. All signs point to Carlson going back to a middle of the road TE, who should not be considered a #1 option.

USA FOOTBALL NFL SUPER BOWLXLIII
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

While the previous two profiles (Dwayne Bowe & Brandon Marshall) have some growing up to do, Santonio Holmes did his growing up last year after he was busted with marijuana.  He accepted responsibility and earned back the trust of his teammates, coaches, and fans.  He went on to take Super Bowl MVP honors with nine catches for 131 yards and the winning TD.  That was the only time he had 100+ yards last year.  After catching just 1 TD pass in the first six games, he had four in his last nine games.  Holmes was a trendy pick to breakout last year, and aside from the clutch Super Bowl performance, his numbers decreased from 942 yards and 8 TDs to 821 yard and 5 TDs despite playing in two more games in 2008.

I think Holmes can have that breakout year in 2009 as long as his QB isn’t suspended because of the rape allegations.  I like Holmes as a WR2, but prefer him as a WR3.  He will likely be taken in the fourth or fifth round.  He should be good for 65 receptions for 1050 yards and 8 TDs.

The Champs are in good shape.  They are fine with Big Ben at QB, but Byron Leftwich will likely test the free agent waters in search of a place to start.  Detroit may be a good fit as a stopgap before Matthew Stafford is ready to take over.  Charlie Batch is also a free agent, but he’ll likely return as the backup as the Steelers groom Dennis Dixon to take over that role.  The Steelers should have a glut of RBs next year with Willie Parker, a healthy Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, and Gary Russell.  Hines Ward and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes will be back to lead the wideouts.  Nate Washington is a free agent and will likely move on for a chance to start.  Limas Sweed will be given the opportunity the opportunity to win that 3rd receiver slot.  Heath Miller was very impressive at TE down the stretch.  He and Matt Spaeth form a solid TE team.  The team needs to improve in the trenches.  Tackles Marvel Smith, Max Starks, and Willie Colon  and Guards Chris Kemoeatu and Trai Essex all are free agents.  They won’t be able to lock them all up so expect changes on that line.  That may not be a bad thing as they allowed 49 last year, which was good for 29th in the league.
 
On Defense they are working to lock up Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison.  CB Bryant McFadden is the only key free agent so the Steelers will make it a priority to get a deal done with him.  No major changes necessary for this team.  They can simply make a few tweaks and will still have a championship caliber club.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Charlie Batch UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
QB Byron Leftwich UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
RB Justin Vincent Re-signed Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers
FB Carey Davis RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
WR Nate Washington UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
TE Jon Dekker RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
TE Sean McHugh RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
TE Dezmond Sherrod Re-signed Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers
OG Chris Kemoeatu RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
OT Willie Colon RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
OT Trai Essex RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
OT Marvel Smith UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
OT Max Starks UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
C Doug Legursky Re-signed Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers
DL Orpheus Roye UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
LB Keyaron Fox UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
LB Andre Frazier UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
CB Roy Lewis Re-signed Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Bryant McFadden UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
SS Ryan Mundy Re-signed Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers
FS Anthony Madison RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
FS Anthony Smith RFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent
ST Jared Retkofsky UFA Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent

Quarterbacks
Kurt Warner
- 31of 43 for 377 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Ben Roethlisberger - 21 of 30 for 256 yards, TD, INT

Running Backs
Gary Russell
- 2 carries for -3 yards, TD
Willie Parker - 19 carries for 53 yards, 1 catch for -2 yards
Edgerrin James - 9 carries for 33 yards, 4 catches for 28 yards

Wide Receivers
Larry Fitzgerald
- 7 catches for 127 yards, 2 TDs
Santonio Holmes - 9 catches for 131 yards, TD
Anquan Boldin - 8 catches for 84 yards
Steve Breaston - 6 catches for 71 yards
Hines Ward – 2 catches for 43 yards

Tight Ends
Ben Patrick
- 1 catch for 1 yard, TD
Heath Miller - 5 catches for 57 yards

Super Bowl Observations

2 February 2009

super-bowl-2009

It was a great game.  That is for sure.  Here are some things I took away from the game.

1.  This is the most important one to me.  The last play was WAY too close for them not to go the the review.  It was a big play that helped decide the SUPER BOWL.  I’m not saying it should have been overturned, but at least take the time to review one of the biggest plays in the biggest game of the year.

2.  Larry Fitzgerald is darn good.  He was easily the best player on the field in my eyes.  He’s such a gift to watch.  His attitude makes him even more amazing.  I’d say he’s one of the NFL’s Top 10 players.

3.  Denny Green gets a lot of crap, but his thumbprint is on the NFC Champion.

4.  The first Super Bowl Big Ben was pretty much along for the ride.  He won this one. 

5.  Santonio Holmes was a difference maker.  I’m still impressed with Pittsburgh for having the courage to take a stand when he got in trouble earlier in the year and the decency to give him another chance.

6.  The Edge looked like he still has life in his legs.  If he can swallow his pride and be willing to share the load, he has another year in him.

7.  Hines Ward is TOUGH.  It’s amazing a player as tough as he is can smile so brightly.  Pretty refreshing.

8.  Arizona’s D actually looked better than Pittsburgh’s.

9.  Pittsburgh sure knows how to hire Coaches. 

10.  If Heath Miller was in a more TE-friendly Offense he’d be a star.

11.  Philip Rivers may feel a little inadequate as Big Ben has two rings and Eli has one.

12.  The Super Bowl Pick ‘em Contest was won by a Londoner.  OK, so he’s from Rochester, NY, but he lives in London.  Nice job King.

llchamp1

super-bowl-2009

On paper this looks like a runaway for Arizona.  Not only do they possess arguably the best Wide Receiver in the league in Larry Fitzgerald, they also have Anquan Boldin, who is perhaps a top ten talent.

Fitz not only produced in the regular season (96 catches, 1431 yards, 12 TDs) he has set the standard for playoff production with his NFL record 419 receiving yards through three games.  He has five TDs in the playoffs as well.  He has at least 100 yards or a TD in 16 of the 19 games he’s played in this year.  He has at least 100 yards and a score in his last five games.  He has great leaping ability, great hands, impeccable body control, and the power to shed tackles.  The scary thing is he wasn’t even the best wideout on his team for a stretch.

That honor belonged to Boldin, who had 513 yards and 6 TDs in Weeks 8-12 following his return from his vicious hit.  During that same stretch Fitz had 464 yards and 1 TD.  I think, in part, Warner felt terrible about the hit Boldin took and subconsciously was repaying that debt.  I wonder if the blowup over the weekend will lead to more balls thrown Anquan’s way.  The extra rest should help and I’m fairly certain Fitz has the Steelers’ attention.  Boldin could find himself very busy on Super Bowl Sunday.

Steve Breaston also enjoyed a fine season with 77 catches for 1006 yards and 3 TDs.  He was also a decent return guy.  He has seven catches for 77 yards in the playoffs.  I don’t expect his number to be called to often.  Finally, Jerheme Urban had some success this year.  He caught 34 passes for 448 yards and 4 TDs.  He hasn’t been much of a playoff factor.

While not as sexy as the Cardinal Wide Receivers, Pittsburgh isn’t lacking in that department.  Hines Ward is one of the most complete wideouts in the league.  He has great hands, runs crisp routes, and is one of the best blockers at his position.  He had 81 catches for 1043 yards and 7 TDs in the regular season.  He leads the Steelers with 7 catches for 125 yards in the playoffs.  He hurt his knee in the win over Baltimore, but there is little chance he won’t be ready in the Super Bowl.  He’s too darn tough to sit that one out.  Santonio Holmes regressed a bit this season (942 yards and 8 TDs in ’07 to 821 yards and 5 TDs in ’08).  He’s having a pretty good run in the playoffs though with a couple of long scores (one receiving, one punt return). He has 95 yards on four catches.  He is plenty capable of making another big play in Tampa.  Finally, Nate Washington is a pretty solid #3 WR.  He had 40 catches for 631 yards and 3 TDs during the regular season and six catches for 51 yards in the playoffs.  All of these wideouts are a step down from their counterparts, but they are good at what they do in their Offense.

Advantage:  Arizona

Time for another edition of Fantasy Football Out on a Limb.  I scour the rosters to select a player who I feel will outperform a higher profile player in that given week.  I base my decisions on matchups, how the players are trending, and the ever-important hunch.  To mix things up I’ll occasionally do some two on one matchups or even pit RB or WR duos against each other.  Sometimes I’ll spot a player some points. 
Scoring
6 points for rushing or receiving TD
4 points for a passing TD
0.1 points per yard for rushing or receiving
0.05 points per passing yard. 

Last Week
J.T. O’Sullivan
(20.65) over Derek Anderson (10.45) WHICH I WON
Maurice Jones-Drew (22.6) over Ryan Grant (5.4 )WHICH I WON
Larry Johnson (18.1) over Darren McFadden (4.8) WHICH I WON
Santonio Holmes (3.2) beat Bryant Johnson (2.5)  WHICH I LOST
Laveranues Coles (13.5) beat Amani Toomer (6.4) WHICH I LOST
Super Stetch:  
Chris Perry (15.3) beat Darren Sproles (7.7) WHICH I LOST 

Regular Picks:  3-2
Super Stretch Picks:  0-1
Overall:  3-3
Breakdown: QB: 1-0, RB 2-1, WR: 0-2

 

 

Season Record
Regular Picks:  9-6
Super Stretch Picks:  1-2
Overall:  10-8
Breakdown: QB: 3-0, RB: 5-3, WR: 2-5

Quarterback
  
Carson Palmer over Donovan McNabb
Palmer had been awful before showing a glimpse of his old self last week vs. the G-Men.  Now he gets to face Cleveland at home.  That should be the remedy he needs.  McNabb gets to go on the road to Chicago without his top weapon, Brian Westbrook.  Life will be much more difficult for Mr. McNabb.

Running Backs
 
Jamal Lewis over Michael Turner
Jamal Lewis should have a big day against the Bengals in what figures to be a slugfest.  Michael Turner will return to Earth as he faces a team with an actual Defense in Carolina. 

 
Jonathan Stewart over Darren McFadden
I’ll let these two rookie RBs battle it out.  I’m taking J-Stew and his matchup against Atlanta even though he’ll have to share with DeAngelo Williams.  McFadden has to face the Chargers, who aren’t as tough defensively as in recent years, but will probably score in bunches to take the ball out of Run DMC’s hands.

Wide Receivers
 
Robert Meachem over Santonio Holmes
I’ll pick on Holmes again even though he got me last week.  This time I’m coming with Robert Meachem.  The Saints are losing guys like flies as Shockey joined Colston on the sidelines.  Drew Brees is going to throw the ball.  Meachem will likely be one of his top targets.  I don’t see Holmes finding the cure to what ails him this week when he faces Baltimore. 

     
Isaac Bruce over Hines Ward
I do another oldies matchup.  This time I’m taking Isaac Bruce, the new San Francisco treat, to take out Hines Ward.  For starters Bruce gets to face New Orleans, which is a much easier task than Ward facing the Ravens.  Not only do they have a better secondary than the Saints, they also will bring much more heat.  If Big Ben is hit like he was vs. Philly, he may have another early exit.

SUPER STRETCH
  
Kerry Collins over Jason Campbell
Kerry has a plush matchup vs. Minnesota.  If there line can hold up to the Vikings’ Pass Rush, he should be able to do some nice things.  Campbell has played well of late, but I get the feeling while facing Dallas he’s going to look more like he did in Week 1.

Third Tier WRs
We’ve profiled the Big Dog WRs and Second Tier WRs, now it’s time to examine the next wave of wideouts.  Again, these will be #2 & #3 wideouts for most teams.

Santonio Holmes/Hines Ward – Has Santonio Holmes officially surpassed Hines Ward as the top dog?  Juding by last year’s stats (942 yards, 8 TDs to 732, 7) and it appears that way.  I’m not quite ready to write Hines Ward off, but Holmes will likely be the first Steeler WR drafted.  They will probably be picked fairly close together and produce very similar numbers.

Marvin Harrison – Last year was a wasted year for the former Syracuse Orangeman.  Then he showed some bad judgement in the offseason.  Was last year the beginning of the end for #88?  I don’t think so.  I think he keeps himself in good enough shape, has one of the games best QBs slinging it to him, and has great knowledge of his system that he’s in for a nice rebound.

Calvin Johnson – Here’s a guy I’m high on.  He has the size and speed to be an elite wideout.  He was decent enough (756 yards, 4 TDs) as he was adjusting to the NFL.  Now that he has a year behind him, I can see his career taking off.

Dwayne Bowe – Bowe had a nice rookie campaign last year, nearly hauling in 1000 yards.  I see him leaving that mark behind as well as tacking on a couple of TDs to his decent five-spot he produced last year.

Roddy White – Roddy had a sneaky 1200 yards last year.  On name recognition alone I wouldn’t put him in this tier, but his numbers talk.  He was one of the top wideouts from Week 12 on (minus the dud he dropped in Week 15) scoring in 4 games and topping 140 yards twice.

Chris Chambers – I think San Diego was a good fit for CC.  With a full training camp and preseason with the Bolts, I expect him to do even better.   He’s one of the WRs I’m targeting for ’08.

Lee Evans – If someone can just convince Evans that December year round (17 of his 29 career TDs have come in December), he’ll make the leap into Big Dog status.  He almost always starts off slow out of the gate so he’s a guy you may want to hold off on using during the beginning weeks of the season.  However, targeting him for a midseason trade may not be a bad idea.  I think he can return to the 1000 yard territory with 8 TDs.  Let’s just hope they don’t all come in December.

Jerricho Cotchery – He’s produced back-to-back 82 reception seasons for the Jets.  He topped the 1100 yard mark.  He just needs to prove he can be more a factor in the endzone.  His measly 2 TDs conjure up thoughts of past Jet Wideouts like Keyshawn Johnson.

Donald Driver – Driver slid under the Third Tier wall like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  He failed to reach 1200 yards for the first time since 2003 last year, but his 1048 weren’t bad.  What was bad was the 2 TDs he scored.  Greg Jennings was clearly Brett’s go-to-guy last year in the red zone.  With a new QB though, the steady Driver could be leaned on heavier than the explosive Jennings.

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