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Favre deal should boost value of many Jets

8/7/2008

I'd make some crack about our long national nightmare being over, but frankly, I'm too exhausted.

The Packers announced that they have traded Brett Favre to the New York Jets. When we finally see that famous bearded smirk beside Eric Mangini at a news conference, it'll all be history. We'll vaguely remember that this surefire Hall of Fame quarterback was supposed to be a Viking, a Bear, a Buc and a Packer in the span of less than a week. Favre fatigue will be no more.

Brett Favre in the Big Apple. You have to admit: As the coup de grace of a career, it has a pretty nice ring to it.

The Jets are in it to win it this year. They spent huge dollars for Alan Faneca and Calvin Pace, plus added Kris Jenkins, Damien Woody and Tony Richardson. They have what they hope is a franchise left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and former first-round picks in center Nick Mangold and corner Darrelle Revis. And now comes the biggest "win now" statement of them all: the gunslinger.

Favre will want to get to camp right away because although he's certainly a savvy guy, he hasn't had to learn a truly new offensive system in, well, nearly two decades. That's not to say Brian Schottenheimer's scheme is some Mike-Martz-like encyclopedia; if anything, it's a relatively conservative setup built around the run with possession passing. But the terminology will be new for Favre, as will the personnel.

Oh, yes, the personnel. Fantasy owners need only look at Greg Jennings and, to a lesser extent, James Jones for evidence that Favre can make stars quickly. Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery aren't household fantasy names, and haven't been every-week contributors with noodle-armed Chad Pennington or erratic Kellen Clemens throwing to them. But each man sees his value rise for '08. Can Coles be the deep threat Favre needs to show off his still-big-enough arm? He definitely has the speed, but will he get the green light? After all, he was a mind-numbing 72nd in the NFL in yards per reception last season. I'll say this, though: The Jets would be first-class dopes if that stat stayed low again in '08. Rookie tight end Dustin Keller also gets a bit of fantasy juice, Donald Lee-style.

The run game already figured to rebound with the team's right guard situation at least temporarily resolved (Brandon Moore) and run-mashing Faneca on board. Thomas Jones scored only one touchdown last year, but I already liked him as a very interesting No. 2 fantasy rusher, and that opinion has only gained steam as of this moment.


Bottom line: Favre will have high (some might say "Favre-ian") upside in New York but also will come with a sizable amount of risk. After all, this team has a defensive-minded head coach and a Schottenheimer running its offense. I doubt they'll be able to grab the Favre reins entirely, but I do believe they'll try to coax their new starter into a tougher, AFC style of offense, one that emphasizes a lack of mistakes. Plus, let's face it: This team went 4-12 last year, has to play New England twice, and also gets San Diego, Cincinnati, Denver, Tennessee and Seattle. There's enough potential for trouble here that I'm not willing to give Favre the kind of fantasy rank he'd have had in Green Bay -- in a familiar system, with familiar personnel. I put him right around No. 11 or 12 among quarterbacks, but with way more upside than anyone near him in the rankings.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner across all three of those sports.

You can e-mail him here.