Blog Entry

Inside the New York Jets

Posted on: October 1, 2010 2:11 pm

MIAMI GARDENS -- Things couldn't be going any better for the Jets heading into Week 4. They're 2-1 with back-to-back wins against the Patriots and Dolphins, and most of their offensive stars are playing well.

They're even talking about their Fantasy value.

Coach Rex Ryan raved about tight end Dustin Keller after the win at Miami. Keller scored two touchdowns with six catches for 98 yards, and Ryan had a message for Fantasy owners.

"We laughed about it when we said to the Fantasy leaguers that they should take Dustin Keller in training camp," Ryan said. "He really is a nightmare to cover. He is such a weapon."

Maybe we should have listened to Ryan. He boasted about the Jets offense being more explosive and Mark Sanchez taking the next step as a quarterback, but most of us expected to still see plenty of ground and pound. We couldn't have been more wrong, especially the past two weeks.

Sanchez has six touchdowns and no interceptions against the Patriots and Dolphins, and he's turning Keller into a Fantasy star. Braylon Edwards has two touchdowns over that span, and LaDainian Tomlinson looks like a rookie all over again. The only one struggling is Shonn Greene, but that could easily change in Week 4 against the Bills, who have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.

It's a fun time for the Jets, and Fantasy owners are jumping on board.

"There's no stopping us now," Sanchez said. "We're not going to plateau. We're going to keep building."

Sanchez has seen his ownership rise on to 83 percent heading into Week 4, and he's passed for 476 yards the past two weeks. He's showing confidence in his receivers, and he looks like a future star. We don't expect him to post overwhelming stats against the Bills because this is a good game for the running backs to shine, but he can easily be a bye-week replacement if you need a starter.

Ryan has been impressed with Sanchez, who is only in his second year. He struggled as a rookie with 2,444 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, but he's easily going to surpass those stats.

"We kept telling everybody that would listen that this kid has learned, and his offseason was as impressive as it gets," Ryan said. "I think you are seeing the dividends of that hard work right now."

The best connection for the Jets has been Sanchez to Keller, who has 13 catches for 213 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games. He has emerged as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end after a disappointing game in Week 1 against Baltimore with two catches for 13 yards.

Keller wasn't aware of Ryan's statement on his value, but he obviously keeps an eye on his status in the Fantasy world.

"I probably got dropped by a lot of teams that first game," Keller said. "Bad move by them."

His ownership is now up to 93 percent, and it likely won't dip below that if he keeps playing at this level. After the Dolphins game, Sanchez gave Keller a "gold star" for his performance.

"Him and I are really growing up together," Sanchez said. "I'm starting to feel his routes and know exactly where he's going to be. He's fun to throw to, and he's tough for guys to defend."

Edwards has also re-emerged as a viable Fantasy wide receiver. He wasn't drafted in 12 percent of leagues, but his ownership is now up to 85 percent. In his past two games he has seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and the Jets were impressed with his demeanor following the off-field mistake with the DWI prior to the Dolphins game.

He expressed remorse, was benched and then he played well in a key AFC East matchup.

"He's just a big play guy," Tomlinson said. "He always seems to make a big play for us."

We consider Edwards a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver going forward. Jerricho Cotchery has been nonexistent for the most part, and Santonio Holmes (suspension) will return in Week 5. That will cut into the production for all the receivers, including Keller, but we'll see how they adjust.

We're also waiting to see how Tomlinson and Greene adjust as the year goes on. Greene has struggled to start the season, but Tomlinson is playing like a star with 37 carries for 208 yards and a touchdown and nine catches for 60 yards. He's our Start of the Week heading into Week 4 at Buffalo, and he's all business right now.

Here's our exchange after the Dolphins game:

Me: How would you describe your play so far this year?

L.T.: Solid. Pretty solid.

Me: Are you surprised at all with the way you're playing?

L.T.: Nope.

Me: Is there room for you to improve?

L.T.: Absolutely.

Tomlinson at some point will slow down. He has a lot of mileage on his body, and he's 31 years old. You should use him as a starter in all leagues when he's going well, but eventually Greene will return as the No. 1 option. He's too talented.

So far, Greene has just 30 carries for 106 yards and two catches for 17 yards, but he said the best is yet to come. And he could have a breakout game this week against the Bills.

"I don't think I'm playing bad or anything," Greene said. "You just have to keep chipping away at it. It will be all right."

We still have faith in Greene, and he will become a starting Fantasy running back again. But even with Greene struggling, it's hard to find fault with the Jets right now.

They are flying high and having fun. And Fantasy owners are catching on that the Jets, at the moment, have some fantastic options.

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