Last week, I covered the primary New York Giants skill position players. This week, it’s time to focus on the New York Jets. As a whole, I don’t see much upside with the Jet offense. The Jets will deal with weekly questions at quarterback, so the supporting skill positions will see a lot of uncertainty on a week-to-week basis. To start it off, I’ll profile the Jets’ ‘bell cow’ running back, Shonn Greene.
Upon first glace, the bulldozing, power frame of Shonn Greene should make fantasy owners salivate. The 5’11″, 226 pound Shonn Greene will remind fantasy owners of Michael Turner and Shaun Alexander. As the feature back of the Jet offense, Greene broke the 1,000 yard rushing barrier last season. However, it took Greene 253 carries and he only managed to score six touchdowns. Backfield mate, LaDainian Tomlinson, didn’t take much of Greene’s production, managing just 75 carries and 280 yards. With LT announcing his retirement, Greene should have even more opportunities to succeed this season.
Even after LT’s retirement, the Jets did very little to bolster their running back depth. Behind Greene, the Jets will feature a plethora of runners, ranging from Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight, and Terrance Ganaway. All three runners possess unique skill sets, but are unlikely to challenge Greene for primary duties. In addition, Greene boasts an impressive 4.3 yards per carry career average. Over his first three seasons, his ten rushing touchdowns are a bit concerning, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be featured early and often. Greene runs behind one of the league’s best offensive line and has a new offensive coordinator that is committed to running the ball. Couple his impressive YPC average and with Sparano’s ‘ground & pound’ tendencies and Greene should be ready to enjoy a career year.
While fantasy football is all about opportunity, Greene isn’t a dynamic or special talent. Greene should use his size to move piles and take on bigger defenders, but as we’ve seen, he doesn’t fight for extra yardage. Greene isn’t fast and lacks the necessary burst to get to the perimeter of the defense. Many have questioned Greene’s vision and his unwillingness to ‘cut back’ into open running lanes. Going into his fourth season, these red flags are starting to pile up. Greene must improve his vision and willingness to fight for tough yards or the Jets will give another running back an opportunity. I won’t dive too deeply into his pass blocking abilities, but in short, Greene has struggled against stopping bigger rushers.
Outside of his limited physical abilities, the Jets brought in the enigma known as Tim Tebow. Tebow’s role will be debated all season long, but make no mistake about it, Tebow is a beast in goal line situations. Tebow rumbled for 660 yards last season and added six rushing touchdowns. The Jets will give Tebow opportunities to run the ball within the red zone, so he may steal some of Greene’s precious red zone looks.
According FFC, Greene is currently the 23rd running back off the board. Owners will have to spend a fifth round draft pick to acquire Greene’s services. Given his limitations as a runner and as pass blocker, I’m avoiding him this season. Greene has a great opportunity to lead the Jet ground attack, but there are just way too many questions. Physically, I don’t like anything about Greene’s game and the Jets’ negligence to acquire any competition is just silly. By pure volume, Greene may top 1,000 yards, but he won’t offer much inside the goal line. Wait a round and nab either Jahvid Best or James Starks, players that offer much more upside than the lackluster Greene.
2012 Projection: 1,050 rushing yards, 5 TDs