By now, everyone knows that disgruntled wide receiver Santonio Holmes will play for the New York Jets in 2010. However, Holmes has been suspended for the first four games of the season following an off-the-field incident at a night club this winter. So what’s the fantasy spin? Who are the winners and losers of this deal?
Winner: Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh
In my opinion, Wallace stands the most to gain from this trade. Wallace, 23, grabbed 39 passes for 756 yards during his rookie season. Wallace was a big-play threat all season for the Steelers and will have a greater opportunity to display his skills in 2010. With Heath Miller working the middle of the field and Hines Ward getting the tough yards, Wallace will be open down the field.
As of right now, we don’t know if Steeler quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell for off-field transgressions, but Wallace’s value lies within Big Ben’s right shoulder. Someone will have to take Holmes’ vacated 1,248 yards. Who better than Wallace?
Projection: 60 catches, 1,000 yards, 6 TDs
Winner: New York Jets
Maybe there is something that the Steelers know that the rest of us don’t, but I find it odd that a team will trade away their Super Bowl MVP. Holmes is in the last year of his contract and the Jets only had to muster up a 5th round selection for him. There’s little risk involved with this trade and I doubt Holmes will be a problem in the locker room. Current Jet linebacker, Bart Scott has not gotten along with Holmes in the past (Steeler/Raven rivalry), but I expect them to put that aside as they both strive to bring another championship to New York.
Both receivers will be relegated to back-up roles for the majority of the 2010 season. At times last season, Cotchery was the Jets most reliable receiver. He hauled in 57 passes for 821 yards and 3 TDs. With a second-year quarterback under center coupled with the league’s best running game (172.3 YPG on 38 attempts), there isn’t going to be a ton of balls to go around. Sanchez averaged only 13 completions per game in 2009. The majority of passes will be caught by Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Braylon Edwards (as long as he brings the glue). Edwards cannot be any worse than he was last season and he is the Jets only physical wide receiver. Cotchery and Smith will be happy to be on what looks like a winning team, but will have to play secondary roles.
Cotchery Projection: 35 catches, 450 yards, 4 TDs
Smith Projection: 13 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD
So what’s my Santonio projection?
Holmes had a career year in 2009, grabbing 79 passes for 1,248 yards and 5 TDs. However, the Steelers threw the ball a lot more last season than they have in the past. Roethlisberger completed 337 passes, 56 more than his second highest career total. Holmes was the ultimate beneficiary of this production.
Since Holmes is moving to a team that completes half as many passes, his production is likely to fall off. It will take him a few games in order to build a good rapport with Mark Sanchez, but they should mesh well. While he is only playing in twelve regular season games, Holmes is a tough player that will impressive the Jet faithful. Expect significantly less yards and catches in 2010, but the TD numbers should be there.
Projection: 45 catches, 750 yards, 4 TDs
How do you feel about Holmes on the team, Jets fans?