MYSTERY PRIZE! In this case, always take the mystery prize.
Color me tickled that my two favorite quarterbacks to rag on are now teammates, like some twisted cosmic joke that may destroy us all. But it's totally worth it if we get to see Tebow and Sanchez on the same field, at the same time, for the same team. Yeah, I'd die for that. Do two wrongs make a right? Will they cancel each other out and actually be good? Does Sanchez get sick of Tebow judging him?
Hey man, mind your own business. I checked her ID.
The Jets are in an interesting position this year as a lot of people (including myself) think that they are going to be really bad. Like, really bad. Like, Barkley bad. But the truth of the matter is that they were a playoff contender to the end of 2011 even with Sanchez, Plaxico Burress is addition by subtraction, and they may have picked up a couple of steals in the draft with Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill.
Do I think the J-E-T-S are going to S-U-C-K? YES! YES! YES! Could I be wrong? I seem to be wrong about the Jets every damn year. But I think my projections are sound, so here is a look at the 2012 Jets.
2011 Record: 8-8
I'm not going to pretend like I'm the only one, because I'm obviously not, but I've beating the "Mark Sanchez is bad" drum for three years. And when you beat that drum, you have to do it naked in a circle, so you know that I mean it. Don't be fooled by his 26 touchdown passes from a year ago, he's still not getting better. Sanchez had a moment late in the year where maybe he was going to break out and it didn't happen...
After 13 weeks, the Jets were 8-5 and Sanchez had a QB rating of 83.1 with 21 TD and 11 INT. New York was on a three-game winning streak and "Sexy Sanchez" (as I call him when no one is around) threw 7 touchdowns and only one pick during the win streak. Win two of three games and the Jets were golden, except that golden boy threw seven interceptions against the Eagles, Giants, and Dolphins on the way to an early vacation. You know things are bad when the team acquires Tebow as insurance.
Last season: 56.7% completions, 3,474 yards, 26 TD, 18 INT, 6.4 Y/A, 217.1 Y/G, 78.2 rating
That was a career low on yards per attempt on a career high 543 pass attempts. In order to be a good QB, he needs to complete 60% of his passes for 7.5 yards per attempt and half as many interceptions. Why would I expect him to do that with fewer weapons this season? I expect him to get benched and I expect the Jets to be bad.
2012 Projection: 55%, 2,200 yards, 11 TD, 12 INT
Te-baugh? Teh-bow? Hold up, let me look up this random no-name....
In order to make this projection, I have to get a little creative. The question is, does Rex Ryan feel like he has to avoid a really bad year to keep his job? It's not that the Jets have done bad under Ryan, it's that Ryan has put his reigns around Sanchez for the fourth season in a row and that's clearly not worked yet. New York plays the Bills, Steelers, 49ers, Texans, and Patriots in the first half of the year. They've got two winnable games against Miami and also play the Colts, who could be tougher than we think.
So if the Jets find themselves at 1-4, is that when you pull the Sanchez plug and get to Tebowing? Everybody knows that he has magical powers that make him "Just win. Only win. No good play, just winning." so is that going to be the key to inserting Tebow into the game in week four against the 49ers or week five against the Texans? I could also be overrating the Bills and the Jets start 2-1 and no big deal but I think that soon enough the Tebow chants will come out. I also expect Tebow to be used a little bit while Sanchez is starting because that's just how OC Tony Sparano is. But I'll say that Tebow makes a handful of starts.
2012 Projection: 48%, 1,100 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT. 90 rushes, 450 yards, 5 TD
Greg McElroy prediction: He makes two starts. I don't know why exactly, but he does.
A lot of people have been a fan of Greene for awhile and I applaud them for their persistence. I don't agree with them however. Last year he scored a touchdown in just four of sixteen games. He rushed for 100 yards in just two. He's got no passing game to avoid a congested box. He's being asked to take on a major role in the offense because he's got little support behind him, and he's never proven that he's an elite RB that can do that.
You'd think that Sparano's 2008 Miami Dolphins Wildcat team was the top rushing team in the league, but they finished 11th in yards and 9th in touchdowns, and Ronnie Brown is a better running back than Greene. I'll avoid, again. Now applaud me for my persistence.
2012 Projection: 230 carries, 920 yards, 4 TD, 25 catches for 200 yards
You probably wouldn't even know who McKnight was if he wasn't "that guy that got recruited by USC as the top player in the nation." It's not that he's not talented, it's just that he's not that talented. A whole bunch of top high school recruits end up not being that great four years later. Can he play? Sure, he is an NFL player. But not a high-level one. He can return kicks but McKnight fumbled three times on limited touches and averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Probably why as of now, Greene is 1st and 2nd down and Powell is 3rd. There's not much room for McKnight.
Powell Projection: 50 carries, 175 yards, 3 TD
McKnight Projection: 50 carries, 220 yards, 2 TD
He's still only 28 and he's still a talented wideout, but Holmes has not being gelling with Sanchez. I don't know that he'd gel with Tebow. There's few other passing options unless Stephen Hill breaks out immediately. I can't rate Holmes as a starting option unless one of the QBs has a breakout year or Holmes gets traded. I don't think he's done by any means after 654 yards last season, I just think he's done with Sanchez.
2012 Projection: 50 catches, 700 yards, 6 TD
As of now, this is the only other Jets receiver you can even consider. He's a huge target (6'4) and a burner (4.36 forty) which should automatically tell you that if he fell to the second round, it's because he's got questionable hands and route running. Guys with that kind of size and speed are so hard to find, that if Hill had blown people away with those skills at the combine, he'd be a top 10 pick. There's still a decent chance that Hill is the steal of the 2012 draft but he's got the same problem as Santonio; no QB.
Hill averaged 29.3 yards per catch on 28 catches at Georgia Tech last season. That's ridiculous. He'll make some plays and probably catch about 48% of his targets.
2012 Projection: 30 catches, 600 yards, 4 TD
Jeremy Kerley, one of my 2011 sleepers, would rank third for me in this group.
A lot of people were hoping he'd break out last year and he really flew under the radar what-with all those record-setting tight ends. Sanchez targeted Keller a lot and he wound up with 65 catches for 815 yards and five touchdowns. Keller only caught three touchdowns after week two though and if you didn't start him against Buffalo (2 TD in that game) you were really hurting for TE production if he was your guy.
That's gonna burn some people up because Keller wouldn't have really been starting for most teams until after his 101 yard, 1 TD game in week two against the Jags. He never topped 90 yards again and he only topped 70 yards three times after that. Keller's production was consistently mediocre, which is why it added up to 815 yards, but I'd be scared to use him as anything more than a plug-and-play.
2012 Projection: 60 catches, 800 yards, 3 TD
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