You have to be kidding me. No one short of the Steelers and Jets elite saw this coming.
Sure, the writing for Holmes was on the wall after a series of knuckleheaded moves … but no one expected a move to happen until AFTER the 2010 season.
And even with a potential four-game suspension looming for Holmes, you have to like this move for the uber-aggressive Jets. They are going full-tilt this offseason and you have to consider them Super Bowl favorites in the AFC after this brash yet brilliant move. A measly fifth-round pick?
Some quick thoughts on fantasy implications:
Holmes will take a hit from a fantasy standpoint. Like I mentioned in my recent rumor mill piece, Holmes’ stock was dropping anyway. However, bone-headed off-field issues aren’t a rarity in the NFL anymore and you have to assume that Holmes will be productive at some point this season for a Jets team that was arguably a stud WR away from true greatness.
Still, from a fantasy standpoint, the four-game suspension means he’ll likely score you a big fat goose egg for the first quarter of the fantasy season. Mark Sanchez is no Ben Roethlisberger (yet). Still, he’s worth a gamble if you can snag him in a cheap dynasty deal … knowing what you are adding.
Sanchez takes a definite step up. He already has a dominant defense backing him up. One of the best rookie running backs in the league (Shonn Greene) paired with one of the most prolific (although diminishing) veteran RB (LaDanian Tomlinson). Now he has Holmes (likely after week four) along with a talented yet inconsistent Braylon Edwards and, of course, Jerricho Cotchery. Don’t forget about Dustin Keller at tight end. There will still be growing pains, mind you, but Sanchez suddenly becomes a hot dynasty league addition.
Mike Wallace takes a definite step up for the Steelers. He’ll start opposite Hines Ward and ahead of Antwan Randle-El among other lesser commodities. As Ward diminishes over time, Wallace could find himself the main target for Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, the Steelers will likely take a long look at receiving talent in the upcoming draft now, but Wallace proved last season that he’s no flash in the pan.
Ben Roethlisberger takes a step backwards in terms of fantasy potential for 2010. The Steelers brass are known as a conservative group, and part of their shocking deal of Santonio may have been to make a clear message to Roethlisberger … that if he doesn’t start making better off-field decisions, he could be the next to go. We’ll see. Either way, he sees a definite loss in talent and loses one of the better deep-field threats in the league.
Braylon Edwards goes from wishy-washy No. 1 option for the Jets to a really nice No. 2 guy. Pressure will be off for him to be THE go-to guy, and I think he’ll flourish in an offense where Holmes is drawing 1A defensive coverage to Braylon’s 1B. I also think this marks the beginning of the end for Braylon long-term in New York … and I’m getting the feeling that he could be switching teams next offseason. We’ll see.
Jets running backs Greene and Tomlinson will find much more forgiving holes and lanes to run in as opposing defenses need to spread their coverage. While it remains to be seen how Greene and Tomlinson will share carries in that backfield, this move definitely opens things up for the running game.
Conversely, things get a little more tricky for Rashard Mendenhall. Defenses will be more apt to stack the box until it becomes apparent how the Steelers will piece together their passing game. It isn’t as though Pittsburgh will suddenly fall flat in the aerial department considering the talent still in black and gold, but they do lose one major piece of the puzzle.
We;ll talk more about the fantasy implications of this deal in the coming days/weeks and months heading into the season. I see this deal as bigger than the McNabb move to Washington … perhaps because we were all starting to realize that McNabb was likely headed out of town. It was just a matter of to where and when.
The Holmes deal blindsided me. Gets the fantasy football juices pumping moreso than they already were considering the draft is coming soon.
We’ll talk more about this specific deal and the expanding ripple effects it will cause within the league from a fantasy standpoint, not to mention how it will influence the NFL draft.
What is your initial reaction to the move?