Fantasy great Favre's retirement hurts value of RB Jones, Jets' WRs

When it comes to Brett Favre and retirement, well, you never say never. But this sure looks like the end of his playing career in the National Football League.

Favre has informed the New York Jets that he will retire after 18 seasons. The veteran quarterback retired from professional football last March, only to change his mind and ultimately force a trade from the Green Bay Packers to the Jets.

Favre threw for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2007 and was considered a No. 1 fantasy quarterback heading into last season. But after throwing 12 touchdown passes in his first four starts, Favre struggled down the stretch. In fact, he would go on to toss just 10 touchdown passes with 18 interceptions in his final 12 games.

While his career ended with a thud from a statistical perspective, it didn't change the fact that Favre was one of the best fantasy quarterbacks of our time.

Favre threw for more than 3,500 yards 13 times (he also had five 4,000-plus yard seasons), and tossed 25 or more touchdown passes in 10 different seasons. From 1994 to 1998, he averaged 4,055 yards and 35 touchdown passes. Favre's rise to stardom came right around at the same time that Dan Marino, maybe the best fantasy quarterback of all time, was starting to see a decrease in statistical success.

Favre was on the cover of countless fantasy magazines and considered a first-round selection in drafts.

Favre's fantasy value did fall during a two-season stretch from 1999 to 2000, as he averaged 21 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. But Favre rebounded with a vengeance over the next four seasons with a combined 15,028 passing yards and 121 touchdowns.

Aside from that impressive 2007 campaign, though, Favre was inconsistent in his final four seasons. In fact, he averaged 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over that time and fell from the elite level of quarterbacks.

If this is in fact the end for Favre, he leaves the league as a three-time MVP and the current leader in career touchdown passes (464), completions (5,720) and passing yards (65,127). He also goes down as one of the more valuable quarterbacks in fantasy football history.

With Favre no longer in the mix, almost every member of the Jets' offense is bound to lose value in fantasy leagues.

Kellen Clemens is the current favorite to take over at quarterback, but he has been unimpressive under center. In eight career starts, Clemens averaged just 178 passing yards with six total touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also had a poor 52 percent completion percentage and averaged an undesirable 6.1 yards per attempt. Clemens seems destined to join the likes of Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and A.J. Feeley as former University of Oregon quarterbacks to fail to meet expectations in the NFL.

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The Jets also are high on Brett Ratliff, who showed some flashes of potential in the 2008 preseason. However, he still appears to be a long shot to overtake Clemens for the top spot on the depth chart. The Jets could pursue free-agent quarterbacks such as Kurt Warner or Kerry Collins, but both are expected to return to their current teams. The best alternative free-agent options include Jeff Garcia, Rex Grossman and Byron Leftwich, and none of those three will make much of a fantasy impact.

If we assume that Clemens will be the Jets' main man in 2009, he would be worth no more than a late-round flier in larger formats. And even that's a stretch.

Fantasy owners also will see a decrease in value for Jets wide receivers Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, who would be less consistent in an offense that leans on such an inexperienced quarterback. In fact, neither should be seen as more than a No. 3 fantasy wideout in standard or PPR formats.

But the Jets player whose value will take the hardest hit is running back Thomas Jones.

The veteran came out of nowhere to rush for 1,312 yards and score 15 total touchdowns last season. That helped him finish fifth among running backs in fantasy points on NFL.com. While an improved offensive line that includes Alan Faneca and Damien Woody was a big part of Jones' success, Favre's presence under center helped the running back avoid stacked fronts on a regular basis. Favre also helped move the offense inside the red zone, where Jones scored 87 percent of his touchdowns.

But with Favre retired and Clemens under center, Jones will be seen as no more than a No. 2 fantasy runner in drafts.

Have a burning question for Michael Fabiano on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com!

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