QB Blake Bortles | Jacksonville Jaguars | 5th Year
2017 Stats: 3,687 pass yds, 21 TD, 13 INT, 322 rush yds, 2 TD
The Jacksonville Jaguars found their winning formula last year, riding an elite defense and a run-heavy offense to a division title and two playoff wins. That also meant a lot less of Blake Bortles, as he had just over 100 fewer pass attempts compared to 2016 with the requisite drop-off in passing numbers.
Bortles was a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2015 and 2016, driven by attempting over 600 passes both seasons and notable production as a runner. Even last year he finished as QB13 (ESPN scoring), with fewer turnovers and rushing production on par with previous seasons.
Bortles recently said, however jokingly, that he would not draft himself in fantasy football this year. But should he be similar ignored on a wider basis?
The Jaguars have turned over a lot of their pass catchers this offseason. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns left in free agency, to be replaced by Donte Moncrief and rookie D.J. Chark. Tight end Marcedes Lewis is gone, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be an upgrade as a receiver. All in all, the changes are a neutral development as an impact on Bortles’ fantasy value for 2018.
From Week 1-Week 7 last year, Bortles only topped 250 passing yards in a game once and he had more than 16 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) twice. But after the Jaguars bye, he had at least 16 fantasy points in seven of the next eight games with over 250 passing yards in six of those eight contests.
From Week 12-Week 16, Bortles had more than 22 fantasy points in four of five games (18.5 fantasy points in the other). Narrowing to Week 13-Week 16, he averaged just over 321 passing yards and 2.3 passing touchdowns per game (68.8 percent completion rate) at the most important time of the season for fantasy owners.
Bortles is completely off the ADP grid on Fantasy Football Calculator right now, and Fantasy Pros’ consensus ADP data has him at QB28. For someone who has been a top-15 fantasy quarterback three years running, being below a QB2 in 12-team leagues qualifies as a direct shunning by early mock drafters.
Bortles needs pass volume to drive top-level fantasy production, so his ceiling has already been reached there. But ignoring him in drafts and auctions is a reach, and there’s at least QB2/streaming value to be mined from the former top-five pick again this year.