It seemed inevitable, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have made Chad Henne their starting quarterback for their third preseason game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. Blake Bortles is also expected to see time with the starters, but at this point Henne looks sure to start Week 1 against the Houston Texans.
A quarterback change usually has an effect on an entire offense, but in Jacksonville’s case it looks like a lateral move all the way around. Henne has not started a game since 2014, when he kept a rookie Bortles on the bench for less than three games, and he also hasn’t thrown a regular season pass since then.
The Jaguars seem set to make rookie running back Leonard Fournette the centerpiece of their offense. but he’s also set to miss a second straight preseason game with a foot injury. There’s no much concern about his availability for Week 1, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Assuming full health, will a new quarterback have any effect on Fournette’s fantasy impact as a rookie?
Fournette’s left foot issue should not be dismissed, as he missed significant time during his final season at LSU with a left ankle issue. Be he proved to be a workhorse, averaging 19.5 carries and 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game over his freshman and sophomore seasons and 19.3 carries and 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game for his college career.
The biggest knock on Fournette coming out of college was a lack of production as a pass receiver, with just 41 total receptions. But LSU’s conservative offense did not ask him to contribute much in that area, and reviews of his pass catching during OTAs were positive.
Since the Jaguars were already set to limit Bortles’ pass attempts this season, with the hope of fewer negative game scripts to artificially pad his numbers, the switch to Henne doesn’t mean much if it sticks heading into the regular season. However you viewed Fournette up to now-probably as a low-end RB1 assuming he’s healthy and able to take on a full workload right out of the gate-the move to Henne does not move the needle either direction fantasy-wise.