JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 2013 FANTASY DEEP DIVE
By Bryan Sweet @FantasyFreakFFW
The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the NFL in 1995 alongside the Carolina Panthers in the NFL’s two-team expansion that year. After a three-year stint as head coach at Boston College then a year out of football in 1994, the Jaguars hired then 49-year-old Tom Coughlin. After an unsurprising 4-12 record in 1995, the Jaguars found themselves in the playoffs for the first of four consecutive years. They knocked off Buffalo and shocked Denver before falling to the New England Patriots in the 1996 AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars continued their ascent to the top of the AFC with a league-best 14-2 record in 1999. Ironically, the only team to defeat the Jaguars that season was the Tennessee Titans. It happened twice during the regular season then again in the AFC Championship Game.
Three consecutive losing seasons followed, costing Coughlin his job, but the Jaguars have only reached the playoffs twice since (2005 and 2007). The team is looking to turn things around in 2013, hiring Gus Bradley away from the Seattle Seahawks after turning their defense into a formidable unit during his three years there as defensive coordinator. Fantasy production has been relatively plentiful in Jacksonville, despite the team’s lack of NFL success in recent years.
For those who have been a part of fantasy football for most or all of Jacksonville’s short lifespan, these names may bring back memories, both good and bad: Mark Brunell, James Stewart, Keenan McCardell, Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor, Stacey Mack, Byron Leftwich, David Garrard. As we move into 2013, new names will be ingrained into fantasy minds everywhere. With that, I give you the fantasy names to know of the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars.
TOP SHELF TALENT
Jaguar fans and fantasy players alike know the one constant for this team is Maurice Jones-Drew. Coming off his worst season to date, by far, Jones-Drew is looking to rebound in 2013. A threat carrying the ball or as a receiver out of the backfield, MJD has been at or near RB1 status since inheriting the full-time role in 2009. After leading the league in rushing attempts (343), yards (1,606) and yards per game (100.4) in 2011, MJD participated in just six games last season when a Lisfranc fractured ended his season abruptly. The Jaguars are noncommittal as to MJD’s workload this season until he can be fully evaluated and deemed 100% healthy. I think he will be ready to go and regain RB1 form with 1200 – 1300 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 300 – 350 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns (ADP 2.11).
SOLID FANTASY STARTERS
Once known as a Mount Union Purple Raider out of Division III, Cecil Shorts exploded on to the scene in 2012 with 55 catches for 979 yards (17.8 average) and nine touchdowns. Owners may have to be patient with Shorts early this season, however, as he won’t have the benefit of playing opposite Justin Blackmon for the first four games (more on Blackmon later). In addition, questionable play from the quarterback position further limits what this young man may be fully capable of achieving. Nonetheless, I expect another stellar season from Shorts as I expect him to improve on his 2012 numbers. I feel 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns are reachable, making him an attractive WR2 in the middle rounds of your draft (ADP 7.09).
After being taken #5 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, Justin Blackmon was expected to make an immediate impact in the Jaguars passing game. The Jaguars deemed the off-field risks (a DUI in October of 2010 got him a one-game suspension while at Oklahoma State) were worth taking in the two-time Belitnikoff Award winner. An average 2012 season (64/865/5) can be partially attributed to poor quarterback play, but mostly to the 10 drops (third most in the NFL) Blackmon had last season. Take away his monster game against Houston (236 yards) and it was a below-average fantasy season. In addition, a league substance abuse violation will cost him the first four games this season. I wouldn’t trust him as anything higher than a WR4, but he might help out with a late-season push to make your fantasy playoffs. I expect about 850 yards and 6 – 8 touchdowns (ADP 11.02).
An absolute beast at 6’6” and 255 pounds, Marcedes Lewis just never turned the corner after being the second tight end taken (behind Vernon Davis) in the 2006 NFL draft. Lewis’s only notable season came in 2010 when he piled up a career-best 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. That is what I call a statistical anomaly and would expect another year very similar to the other six years of his career. Lewis is a good BYE week option or emergency starter, but not much more, with a stat line around 500 yards and three touchdowns (ADP 16.04).
It could be argued the front office personnel of the Jacksonville Jaguars would fall into this category, but for fantasy purposes I would say the winner of the quarterback battle may find himself as a viable option some weeks. Blaine Gabbert was drafted #10 overall in 2011, more out of the future implications of the new collective bargaining agreement than necessity, and proceeded to look like a not-ready-for-primetime player. Gabbert looked lost and afraid in the pocket, and never seemed to adjust to the NFL game. He struggled to put up numbers in his 10 games in 2012 (1,662 yards and nine touchdowns), forcing ownership to reevaluate their investment. After just 24 games as a starter and a record of 5-19, Gabbert was replaced by Chad Henne. Acquired before the 2012 season, Henne found himself starting the final seven games of the season. While not posting a good win-loss record (1-6), Henne looked more the part compiling 2,084 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also helped Shorts and Blackmon become fantasy worthy in the process. The Jaguars will likely be playing from behind for much of 2013, so whoever finds himself under center could carry some fantasy value this season.
The latest cover athlete of EA Sports video game franchise NCAA 13, Denard Robinson is a bit of a wildcard entering his first NFL season. “Shoelace,” as he is commonly referred due to his insistence of leaving his shoes untied, was electric as a runner at Michigan. His 1,702 rushing yards in 2010 was second in all of the NCAA, and he was a starting quarterback! He went on to finish sixth in the Heisman voting that season, but many thought even better days were ahead for the young man. After two injury-shortened seasons, Robinson was plucked by Jacksonville in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft. He is officially listed as a RB, but the Jaguars prefer the “OW” designation, for “offensive weapon.” He does not excel at throwing the ball and struggled mightily at WR during the Senior Bowl, so look for the majority of his snaps to come from the RB position. His speed and talent are intriguing, so keep him on your short list of waiver wire additions if he is utilized early this season.
2013 schedule (all times ET)
Sept. 8: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Sept. 15: at Oakland Raiders, 4:25 p.m.
Sept. 22: at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.
Sept. 29: vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Oct. 6: at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
Oct. 13: at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m.
Oct. 20: vs. San Diego Chargers, 1 p.m.
Oct. 27: vs. San Francisco 49ers, 1 p.m.
Nov. 3: Bye
Nov. 10: at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Nov. 17: vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m.
Nov. 24: at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Dec. 1: at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Dec. 5: vs. Houston Texans, 8:25 p.m.
Dec. 15: vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Dec. 22: vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Dec. 29: at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Schedule skinny: The Jaguars find themselves with a middle-of-the-road schedule heading into 2013. Regardless of the opponents, however, the Jaguars are a bad team and may well be underdogs in every game this season. Their most winnable games are on the road (Oakland, Cleveland) and they get the luxury of getting the improving AFC West and the stacked NFC West. In other words, the passing game should get a workout this season.
End of season prediction: As mentioned above, on paper this looks like a team that could make a run at Detroit’s 0-16 mark this season. Of course, the games aren’t played on paper so the Jaguars should come away with at least a couple wins. Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis and Tennessee last season, but I don’t expect a win against Indy this year. Give them an overtime win over Oakland and a home win against Tennessee for a second consecutive 2-14 season, and quite possibly the opportunity to get South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney or Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater with the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.