Sanchez inked, but what's his fantasy value?
On Wednesday, the Jets signed the 22-year-old quarterback to the richest contract in team history, inking Sanchez to a five-year contract including $28 million in guaranteed money and up to $60 million in value with incentives. No worries about a holdout here; Sanchez becomes the second first-rounder to agree to terms, joining Matthew Stafford, meaning fantasy football's two hottest rookies at the position are ready to go.
But don't take that as any guarantee that Sanchez will take the first snap on Sept. 13 in Houston. According to the New York Daily News, Kellen Clemens was "clearly ahead of the Golden Boy" through the team's first 11 OTAs (organized team activities) and surely will challenge the rookie for the job. That rich contract evidently won't serve as any guarantee of starter's status, although Sanchez is clearly the team's long-term answer.
Fantasy owners will need to track this position battle throughout the preseason, and there remains an excellent chance Sanchez will be the Jets' starting quarterback right from Day 1 of the regular season. It's a possibility, though, that he'll go the route of fellow stadium-sharer Eli Manning, taking a back seat to Clemens for a couple of weeks before capturing the role sometime midseason, perhaps even in late September. One big point in his favor, though: Two of 2008's top rookies, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, did actually crack the starting lineup in Week 1, so there's a recent precedent.
As for true fantasy value, we'll repeat it until we're blue in the face: Don't count on rookie quarterbacks. The history books are littered with cases of freshmen who flopped, and even in what was a good year for rookies in 2008, Ryan ranked 15th in fantasy points at QB and Flacco 18th. Neither was truly starter material week in and week out. Sanchez's value remains highest in keeper leagues, and only if he's shaping up as a probable starter by your draft would he warrant fantasy-backup appeal.
• I don't know about you, but I know I'm pretty sick of the Brett Favre saga. Nevertheless, the rumor that he might return to play for the Vikings persists, and that's, well, news. The latest: Vikings coach Brad Childress told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he has set no deadline for Favre to make a decision on playing for the team. "Absolutely not," said Childress. "Maybe by [Favre's wife] Deanna or somebody like that, but certainly not from me. Not even close." Even if Favre does return, we must account for (A) his coming off surgery on the partially torn biceps in his throwing shoulder, and (B) the lackluster weapons in the Minnesota receiving game. I'll make this blanket statement regarding Favre now: He won't be on any of my teams this year.
• Agent Drew Rosenhaus is a big Twitter fan, apparently. He makes frequent posts, and he noted on his page Wednesday that client Willis McGahee required offseason surgery on both his knee and ankle. But the running back should bounce back and "quiet these misguided media critics," he wrote. Problem is, McGahee has scarcely practiced all offseason and has slipped to No. 2 on the Baltimore depth chart behind Ray Rice, not to mention a Baltimore Sun report that suggests the Ravens would cut ties with McGahee if not for the $10 million-plus cap hit the team would have to absorb. If you're expecting a rebound year from McGahee, don't get your hopes up. He has much yet to prove.
• More from Rosenhaus: Free agent Edgerrin James "will be taking his time before signing with a new team." He went on to suggest James might not make a decision until after training camps start, a hint that the veteran might be waiting for a team that will give him enough of a role in its offense. That said, holding off on a decision that long might actually diminish his chances at garnering a significant role, and fantasy owners are unlikely to find any value in him wherever he lands, anyway.