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Fantasy magic nonexistent under Jets' Big Top

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While the Jets are always ripe with intriguing stories to serve as subject fodder for the innumerable columnists and beat writers who cover the team, New York's resident circus isn't one that's fantasy friendly.

Sure, there are plenty of clowns and tightrope walkers to keep football fans entertained, but when it comes to true meat-and-potatoes production on the field, the performers under Rex Ryan's Big Top just don't cut it.

The top story in Jets camp will be how Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will co-exist in the non-battle to be QB1. However, the more important story for fantasy owners will be how Tebow will cut into the production of the only redeemable fantasy option on the team, running back Shonn Greene.

Greene's career year in 2011 consisted of 1,054 rushing yards, a 4.2 ypc average and six touchdowns. Now, that's not that impressive, but every back who stands to get the lion's share of the carries has fantasy value, and with LaDainian Tomlinson retiring Greene was expected to take on a larger workload.

That is, until the Jets traded for Tebow.

New York's coaching staff has insisted Sanchez will be the team's starting quarterback and Tebow will be used in wildcat packages and in the red zone, meaning even if Greene does see more carries most of them will be between the 20s, far away from paydirt.

Since Greene is not a game-breaking home-run type back, those carries inside the 10-yard line are essential to his fantasy value. Last season, five of his six rushing TDs came inside the 10. Plus, after Tebow took over the starting quarterback job for Denver last season, Willis McGahee had just three TDs, one from 60 yards away and the other two from 24 yards out.

With Tebow stepping in as the goal line rushing option, it may prove difficult for Greene to even tie last season's paltry TD total.

Then there's the receiving corps, led by the perennially ornery Santonio Holmes. The former Super Bowl MVP out of Ohio State played all 16 games last season but he registered a career-low 654 yards receiving. To his credit, Holmes did have eight scores, but Mark Sanchez never displayed enough accuracy for Holmes to be counted on as a week-to-week fantasy option.

The Jets are weak at receiver after Holmes, and Jets coach Rex Ryan has acknowledged this by saying cornerback Antonio Cromartie will be used on offense. Cromartie then added some more drama to Jets camp Tuesday when he appeared on the ESPN program "First Take" and opined that he should rank second on the Jets' receiver depth chart.

Chaz Schilens, who actually plays the position, took offense to the comment, but Schilens really doesn't have a leg to stand on considering he has played in 44 of a possible 64 games in his career and has averaged 20.5 yards per contest.

Schilens, slot receiver Jeremy Kerley and rookie Stephen Hill figure to be just as inconsistent as Holmes with less of a workload, so you can stay away from them as well.

Aside from Greene, the other Jets skill position player who will likely be rostered in most leagues is tight end Dustin Keller, who set a career high with 815 yards last season and tied a career high with five touchdowns. However, five seasons into his career, those numbers appear to be Keller's ceiling, so he won't be anything more than a backup unless you're in a 14-team league.

The Jets may sell newspapers, push website page views and make the league more interesting overall, but they don't win fantasy football leagues. You'd be wise to avoid peering into this circus tent when fantasy drafts roll around.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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