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Santonio Holmes' upside limited with Jets

7/27/2011

New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes has elected to remain with the club, agreeing to a lucrative five-year contract, and although fantasy owners could have envisioned considerable stats befitting one of the top 10 options at his position had he chosen a pass-happy offense, he didn't. He's on the Jets. They run a lot. Their quarterback hands off a lot. Deal with it.

Still, Holmes is an electrifying talent worthy of ownership in any fantasy format, and he's likely to be a No. 2 wide receiver option for many fantasy teams. Looking at his 2010 statistics doesn't tell the whole story, as he finished with 102 standard scoring points, 35th among wide receivers. Holmes missed the first four games while serving a suspension -- we all hope for the best off the field -- but afterward he was productive. Holmes reached double digits in fantasy points from Weeks 9 through 12, highlighted by a 126-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Houston Texans, and scored touchdowns in each of the final two games.

Still, I can't place Holmes among my top 20 wide receivers for upcoming drafts, despite the talent and upside. After all, Holmes was not a top-20 wide receiver for the 12 games he played (10 starts) last season, or close to it. The Jets offense - and the erratic tendencies of quarterback Mark Sanchez -- does restrict the potential here, but this remains a wide receiver worthy of attention in the fifth or sixth round. ESPN Fantasy ranks him 18th among wide receivers, just a tad generous for my liking, but I see the point. I'd still choose Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall, Sidney Rice and Kenny Britt first, because ultimately it's about the stats.

This is one of those spots where real football and the fantasy version don't quite jibe. Holmes is a better player now than when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, more focused and with fewer drops, and it's difficult to question his speed and breakaway ability. But it's worth mentioning again: It's certainly possible Holmes can reach 75 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and flirt with double-digit touchdowns as a Jet, but I wouldn't call any of it likely. Whether former teammate Braylon Edwards sticks around or not is somewhat irrelevant to Holmes' plight statistically, because the Jets have the funds to replace him (Randy Moss? Yikes) and keep Holmes away from too many double teams. Ultimately, fantasy owners should remember this is a game about statistics, and Holmes should deliver them, but the decision he made to return to the Jets may restrict his production.