Now that the smell from Monday's performance by the New York Jets has dissipated a bit, I found myself actually trusting the fantasy options on the AFC East's second-best team in my Week 14 rankings. Look, the NFL is obviously a week-to-week league; heroes and villains rise and fall so quickly that if you miss a Sunday, you miss a lot. But you have to look ahead. The Jets played a terrible game Monday, losing 45-3 to a New England Patriots team they needed to make a statement against, but I don't think it has any bearing on this Sunday.
The Miami Dolphins are hardly the Patriots, and Chad Henne is no Tom Brady. I trust the Jets to bounce back with a strong performance. The last time these teams played, sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez delivered his second consecutive 22-point fantasy outing. Yes, Sanchez has a total of 10 fantasy points the past two weeks, but in Weeks 9-11, he averaged 23 points. There are so many stats out there, one can make the case for just about anything ... and I think Sanchez can move on and will find success against, frankly, an underachieving opponent with a fluky 5-1 road record.
Sanchez didn't reach starter status for me this week, but No. 16 really isn't bad at all, especially for those in deeper formats. I thought about placing him ahead of the Houston Texans' Matt Schaub, who faces a tough Baltimore Ravens defense, but ultimately decided the Andre Johnson factor was too strong. Then again, hasn't Santonio Holmes outscored Johnson the past five weeks? Why yes, he certainly has, and Holmes has eased by Braylon Edwards to become the Jets' prime wide receiver, averaging 13 fantasy points per game since Week 9. Edwards has 30 fewer fantasy points in the five weeks. Advantage Holmes; I didn't rank him quite as well as my colleagues (though I will move him up in the Friday update), but if you're choosing a Jets wide receiver, it has to be Holmes.
Then there's LaDainian Tomlinson. I like the fact, considering his health, that he wasn't overworked in Monday's game, because the short week before Sunday's game has to affect older players more, one would think. Tomlinson and Shonn Greene each have been mighty quiet for two months; neither has scored a rushing touchdown since Week 6. So I think Rex Ryan and the Jets get back to basics and rely on (hopefully) a fresh Tomlinson. It's true the Dolphins have admirably controlled Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis the past two weeks, but that screams aberration to me. I also feel like the Raiders' and Browns' quarterback play -- or lack thereof - made their defensive game strategy far easier to execute. Sanchez is going to bounce back, and the Dolphins can be run on; from Weeks 9 to 11 opposing running backs torched them for 64 fantasy points. Tomlinson is going to score and have a double-digit fantasy game this week.
In addition to ranking Jets well -- even the defense, which I ripped in Monday's Four Downs blog -- here are some other thoughts from the Week 14 rankings:
Bronco Busting: While I still think there's a possibility the Tim Tebow era (at quarterback) begins later this month, I doubt it occurs in the first game since the Josh McDaniels firing. To me, the most important factor in analyzing Kyle Orton is the fact he's facing the Arizona Cardinals. This is a top-10 quarterback worthy of a similar rank, and Brandon Lloyd should bounce back as well. Knowshon Moreno is projected by ESPN Fantasy for a 20-point fantasy game, and I ranked him cautiously at the back end of my top 10. The Broncos are going to put up numbers this week, and they can be relied upon.
Ch, ch, ch, ch, changes ... I feel like a broken record talking about Larry Fitzgerald, but the fact his starting quarterback this week might be the unproven -- as in, he has six career passes -- John Skelton really doesn't scare me at all. I mean, I suppose it's possible Skelton plays worse than Derek Anderson ... wait, is that even possible? But this could also be an upgrade. Fitzgerald is 18th in wide receiver scoring despite the circus of quarterbacks, and I don't see a new quarterback as any reason to panic. Yes, I know it's the fantasy playoffs for some, and the games mean more, but Fitzgerald has been in double digits four times since Week 8, and he's facing the Broncos. Shootout!
Forget the Titan: I thought Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt would play last week, but now there seems to be nothing preventing his return. Certainly it's not the presence of Randy Moss, he of the five catches in four games with the Titans. Coach Jeff Fisher hasn't announced his starting wide receiver corps for Thursday's home tilt with the Indianapolis Colts, but just having Britt back can't help the mostly invisible Moss. I can't recall the last time I didn't rank a healthy Moss, but you won't see his name in the staff wide receiver rankings. It's not a misprint. Britt nearly made my top 30, and I thought about ranking Nate Washington. Instead, he's with Moss, unranked.