Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.
Key fantasy storyline
Another year, another season of the media picking apart the New York Jets and their quarterback situation. The difference? This time, the Jets won't have Tim Tebow to blame for bringing the circus to town.
It won't matter to fantasy owners whether the Jets' quarterback is past pariah Mark Sanchez or potential messiah Geno Smith; worrying about these passers will be as worthless as agonizing over a last-round kicker.
The real fantasy commodities to watch on this team both have the potential to be strong sleepers: running back Chris Ivory and the rebuilt defense.
Rex Ryan survived the disastrous Tebow experiment -- how the Jets can pin their lost season on a player who never saw the field is beyond reproach -- but Ryan is still a great motivator and a coach who loves to run the ball and play tough defense. Ivory and the Jets D/ST won't be picked as reliable starters on draft day, but the odds are they will both develop and reach that status very quickly during the season.
Owners will get plenty of advice about picking a running back from a productive offense, and while that strategy has merit, Ivory can emerge as an exception. The Jets are going to run the ball like a stubborn mule, and Ivory can make this offense serviceable if he can prove to be better than the departed plodder Shonn Greene.
|New York Jets' 2013 schedule|
|Including a look at how the Jets' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season|
Stats via FFToday.com
The Jets are playing a last-place schedule, and -- save for the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers -- there isn't much to worry about regarding fantasy matchups. The rugged AFC North teams could potentially blow them out, along with the Patriots (twice) and Falcons, but the new offensive and defensive coordinators will make this sad-sack franchise much more competitive than anyone expects it to be. The toughest part of the schedule comes during the bye weeks, but the fantasy postseason should be kind to whichever players emerge as weapons in this rebuilding offense. If you don't get any Jets on draft day, you might want to stash them during the season for returns down the stretch.
QB: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith
RB: Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight
WR: Jeremy Kerley, Santonio Holmes (foot), Stephen Hill, Braylon Edwards, Ben Obomanu
TE: Kellen Winslow, Jeff Cumberland
K: Nick Folk
|New York Jets' 2012 defensive rankings|
Much will be said about the loss of Darrelle Revis, but owners might be surprised to learn that the Jets were second to the Steelers against the pass last season -- mostly without Revis. They were fifth-best against opposing quarterbacks in fantasy and the best against wide receivers, although you can make an argument that the score often dictated a run-first approach from the opposition.
This is still a good defensive team, as long as it can fix the issues against the run. Cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and first-rounder Dee Milliner will more than hold their own on the edge, so if defensive end Muhammed Wilkerson, first-round defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and outside linebacker Quinton Coples play up to their potential in the 3-4, the Jets can have a rebound year defensively. A team run by a Ryan will always be about defense first, so expect some late-round sleepers to impact IDP leagues, namely Wilkerson, linebacker David Harris and safety Dawan Landry.