Will the Jaguars rebound from 2016 or will their efforts be as errant as a Blake Bortles pass?
2016 Review: The Jacksonville Jaguars were the surprise team to own in fantasy in 2015. As it goes, they were clearly overvalued in 2016. The word of the day is GARBAGE. Drafting Allen Robinson at the end of the first or early in the second round of a standard draft was GARBAGE. Although he was among the top targets in fantasy, Robinson failed to eclipse 900 yards receiving. Drafting Blake Bortles near Tom Brady in the draft was certainly GARBAGE. Well unless you were extremely loyal to his proneness for GARBAGE time. Of course the Jaguars running game was GARBAGE as well. In 2016, the Jaguars failed to reach the top 20 in any significant offensive statistic and they took a giant step back in the process.
2017 Changes: The biggest issue with the Jags esthetically was their running game. This obviously partly rooted from their below average line. With Tom Coughlin joining the front office, the team focused on getting back to the basics and establishing a front that could potentially pound the rock. Acquiring Branden Albert from the Dolphins and Cam Robinson via the draft, the team did improve on paper from where they were last season (Editors Note: Although the Albert situation took a turn for the worst recently). Of course drafting Leonard Fournette with their top 10 pick in the draft was the biggest fantasy news. If the Jags can improve their rushing status from bottom tier to even middle tier that should improve Bortles comfort level in the pocket and help their offense overall.
2017 Outlook: The Jags went from being a 2014 cellar dweller offense, to arguably a top 10 fantasy offense in 2015, back to nearing the cellar in 2016…so in other words they’r
e one of the tougher teams to predict for 2017. Their front office has been very aggressive about putting a better product on the field, but there is still a lot of concern with the nucleus of their squad producing. Bortles was getting throwing lessons during the 2016 season which is never a good sign and Allen Robinson had one of the worst target-to-reception ratios in the league (73 catches on 151 targets). The Jags are still relying on many of their once promising players to perform better this season, so that comes with some concern.
Fantasy Star You Can Trust: (Editor’s Note: This was published before that disaster of a preseason game against the Bucs) Ironically, the player you can trust most is their most inconsistent performer week-in and week-out in Blake Bortles. We’ve seen the stats regarding first half performance vs second half and we’ve heard about his total wins vs total picks for TDs and which side that favors, but even last year Bortles outproduced the great majority of QBs in total fantasy points and certainly produced fantasy-owned worthy numbers…and lets not forget that he was absolutely terrible. The King of Garbage Time is an intriguing QB2 that should produce near QB1 numbers which is great for a guy often ranked in the late teens to early 20’s.
Bust Potential Bust: Take your pick…Allen Robinson or Leonard Fournette? The A-Rob and Bortles connection was broken last season and with it’s short lived success it’s hard to justify using a 3rd round pick on a guy that wasn’t close to cracking WR1 status last year. Leonard Fournette should improve on the Jaguars terrible track record of RBs since the departure of MoJo, but he’s hardly a high end 2nd round lock considering no Jags’ RB could crack the top 40 at RB last year. Either way I’d wait on a high Jags pick until 2018.
Best Sleeper: (Editor’s Note: Lee sprained his ankle recently, but that could actually help his sleeper value) Did you know that Marqise Lee only had 32 less yards receiving last season than Allen Robinson? If you acquired him you likely did so for a non-waiver pickup well into the season. Lee produced a solid line considering he was the team’s perceived third option. He could be a nice last bench spot that produces a solid line.
Overrated Sleeper: I was high on Allen Hurns last season considering he’s often mentioned as the better route runner compared to Robinson; however, the sample size is rather small for all of the Jacksonville targets and Hurns was the clearcut third best last season. I’m not down on him, but I prefer Lee later.
One Interesting Stat: In 2011, Maurice Jones-Drew scored 8 TDs rushing. Since then the Jaguars haven’t had a RB score more than 5 TDs in a single season.
Most Intriguing Storyline: Blake Bortles seems to be in a all or nothing season here where another lottery pick would more than likely mean a new QB selection in the 2018 draft. Fantasy stats aside, he needs to show significant improvement since last year.
One Thing I Was Right About (Last Season): I’ve never liked the Jags running game (since MoJo left), so I didn’t like Chris Ivory’s chances of being a FLEX or low end RB2.
One Thing I Was Wrong About: I didn’t think A-Rob or Hurns would be as hugely disappointing as they were last season.
Best Pornstar Name: Backup linemen Luke Bowanko sounds likes a real wanker.
One Final Thought: We miss Blake Bortles’ ex-girlfriend.