2017 Fantasy Football Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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2016 Fantasy Recap

Going into 2016 everyone was expecting the Jaguars to take the next step and make a push for the playoffs. They had just come off a 2015 season where Blake Bortles took a huge step forward. Allen Robinson looked like a top WR and they had a promising young RB in TJ Yeldon. All signs were pointed up for the Jags. But instead of forward they went backward. Just about every single skill player on the Jags underperformed. It was painful to watch week in and week out the struggles of the Jags. So the big question heading into 2017 is, do we get the 2015 or 2016 Jags?

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Key Additions and Losses

Additions:

Losses:

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Quarterback Fantasy Outlook

If you ask most people how was Blake Bortles last year you will likely here is was awful. But did you know, depending on the scoring system, of course, he actually finished as a top 10 QB last year. Making it two years in a row as a top 10 QB. If you compare his numbers from 2015 and 2016 in the chart below you will find some similarities between the two seasons.

YearAtt-Comp-Comp%YardsTD - INT
2015355-606-58.6%442835-18
2016368-625-58.9%390523-16

Pretty much the same amount of attempts and competitions with fewer turnovers. The difference is 523 fewer yards and 12 fewer touchdowns. So the question is what happened? I think a couple of things happened. First I think defenses prepared for the deep ball. They knew the Jags were capable of it so they made sure they were ready for it. The second thing that happened was the running game just fell flat on its face. So you have defenses stopping the deep ball and the run game doing nothing to keep the secondary honest forcing Bortles to work more underneath. Just look at Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, Robinson has the same amount of targets and Hurns was on pace to have a slight increase in targets before getting injured and Robinson saw a 5.5-yard dip in YPG and Hurns saw a 2.5-yard dip in YPG. Right there you have your 523 missing yards. So what happens this year with him? I think the addition of Leanard Fournette will help keep defenses honest and open up the secondary a little more. I am not sure he jumps back to 2015 numbers but I think he improves on 2016 keeping him in the top 10 for quarterbacks. I think we can expect around 4,200 yards and 30 touchdowns and at his current ADP of 183 or QB22 which equates to the 15th round in a 12 man league that is an absolute steal. If he is there that late grab, he could become your starter before the year is over.

Grade: A-

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

Last year the running game for the Jaguars was just plain sad. Combined their top three running backs had a slash line of 288/1,048/5. That is 65 yards a game, 3.6 yards per carry, and .3 touchdowns per game. Considering those numbers it’s no wonder why Bortles had a hard time throwing the ball downfield last year. So with the fourth pick in this years draft the Jaguars went out and got the top rated running back Leonard Fournette. I expect an immediate improvement to the running game for the Jaguars this year. Fournette’s presence on the field you make defenses play more honestly. Chris Ivory the man he is replacing as the starter take a serious hit in value, considering his age and injury history this is not a surprise. I am sure Ivory will be used a decent amount to keep Fournette healthy, but it won’t be enough to make him draftable. T.J. Yeldon‘s role seems to be the big question. I have seen some writers suggest he may be cut, which I think is insane to think will happen. I see Yeldon staying on as the third down pass catching back. In two years he has seen 114 targets and caught 86 of them. Yeldon will see fewer touches but I think you will see an increase in proficiency. Current ADP has Yeldon as the 74th back of the board which means in many leagues he is not even being drafted. In a PPR league, I would be sure to stash Yeldon with my last pick with the hopes he turns into a Chris Thompson or Duke Johnson type producer, which would be great for bye week fill-ins.

Grade: B+

Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook

Last year the Jaguars wide receiver corp was a major disappointment. Allen Robinson went from stud to a flex play. Allen Hurns went from WR2 to a guy you could cut. Marqise Lee was the only positive surprise on the team and he went from waiver fodder to flex starter most weeks, but only in PPR formats. This year I expect more of 2015 than 2016 numbers. What people don’t realize is that the difference between Robinson’s targets in 2015 and 2016 are zero. That’s right he had the exact same amount of looks in back to back years. He did catch seven fewer balls which is not a huge difference, but he did have 517 fewer yards and eight fewer touchdowns. Those last two numbers were huge in bringing down Robinson. I believe that happened because teams were ready for the deep ball and not concerned about the run game causing Robinson to take more underneath routes. I think with the running game being rebuilt it should free up the passing game more and Robinson probably won’t see more targets but should be more productive with his targets. I can see a slash line of 80/1200/9 for this year, and those number should get him back in the low WR1 talks. Allen Hurns dealt with injury most of the year and because of that, it allowed Marqise Lee plenty of playing time and the opportunity to prove himself. As long as both guys are healthy and on the field, they will hurt each other’s fantasy value. I can see both guys catching between 50 and 60 balls with Hurns having more yardage and touchdowns, but Lee is the more consistent player each week. Meaning one week Hurns will get you 18 points and then the next week he gets you five, while Lee will but up around eight points every week with a couple of spikes for a handful of touchdowns. Until news breaks that one or the other takes a big step forward I am not sure I would draft either guy outside of a late-round stash.

Grade: B+

Tight End Fantasy Outlook

While the Jaguars dealt Julius Thomas this offseason to improve their offensive line, a move I liked, in the process they took a hit a tight end. That said if you look at Thomas’s slash line from last year, 30/281/4, that is not a lot of production to try to replace. So the Jaguars brought in Mychal Rivera from the Raiders who until last year was putting up serviceable numbers. I expect Rivera to be able to duplicate Thomas’s numbers with ease. The problem is I don’t expect him to really improve on those numbers so at best you are looking at a desperate bye week fill in that does not need to be drafted at all and can be scooped up off waivers IF ever needed.

Grade: D

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Defensive Fantasy Outlook

Overall the Jaguars defense was okay last year. They did well against the pass and total yards. Where they got hurt was stopping the run and stopping the scoring. Some would say the passing numbers were so good because teams didn’t have to throw on them and there could be a certain amount of truth to that. Either way, the Jags went out and signed some defensive players like Barry Church and Calais Campbell to improve both upfront and in the secondary. I suspect the defense will be improved by their offseason moves. Outside of the talent they brought in a defense’s best friend is when their own offense can stay on the field longer and help with field position, and with a more balanced offense, they should be able to do that for them. Overall I think they will improve on defense, but not enough to be drafted. You might use them in a bye week situation if their matchup is good, but otherwise not likely.

Grade: C

Michael Kelley is a member of the Going For 2 team. You can check out his website Dynasty League Problems for more writings or find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses.


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I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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