The bye week is over and as we Jags fans hit the reset button on our memory glands we look forward to a less terrible second remaining 2/3s of the season. As the Decade of Mediocrity continues let's see if we can find a diamond in the rough. This is fantasy football. Try not to make it look like your real life squad lol.
Every week join myself, your Big Cat country Fantasy Football Expert to sit down and discuss your options in Fantasy Football Start Em'/Sit Em' for the week. Next we'll take a look at my thoughts on the Jaguars fantasy starts and sits as they take on the Oakland Raiders this week on the West Coast.
Maurice Jones Drew- MJD = Must start. Love it or hate it. Oakland is giving up the 7th most points per game to opposing RBs. Hopefully the Jaguar O-line comes ready to play. Should be one of the biggest days of the season for MJD.
Buyers Beware: (Upside exists, but with extreme risk)
Mercedes Lewis- A few things are working in Mercedes corner this week.
1) We've now had two weeks to gameplan against the Raiders depleted secondary.
2) a) With our O-line finally healthy Lewis will be asked to block less and can now focus on being the downfield threat we need him to be.
b) With Oakland's pass rush being as bad as ours there is no benefit in having Lewis stay in to block and
3) The Raiders are giving up the 6th-most fantasy points per game to TEs over the last five games.
After his last game against the Bears you're probably wondering, "how can I possibly play Lewis this week?" Well, because everyone struggled against the Bears as we knew they would. But throughout that game there were about 5 plays in which Mercedes ran wide open on vertical routes. This will be the week that Gabbert has the time to see him on them. If you need a bye week fill-in or have just a "so so" TE pick up Lewis this week.
Blaine Gabbert- Earlier this week Coach Mularkey stated he wants Gabbert to scramble more often according to the Times Union. Mularkey said he wants Gabbert to either run downfield or extend plays with legs by scrambling outside the pocket. That's one of the things that I believe may change this game. Going up against one of the worst pass rushes in the league will also be of benefit. The Raiders are giving up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. One thing I believe we can all agree on: when Gabbert has time he's not that bad. Frankly in my opinion of Gabbert it doesn't even matter the quality of the secondary. If he feels he has time and doesn't rush checkdowns plays can and will be made. With Gabbert being coached up to extend plays more and also bump up his fantasy stats with rushing yardage if you're looking for a bye week filler take a look at Gabby. I'd expect something along the lines of 17-20 points this week depending on your scoring format.
Justin Blackmon- If you're in a PPR league definitely take a flier on Blackmon. I'm sure Gabbert will be forcing (*cough, cough*) feeding him the ball early and often. He still won't get the yardage needed to be a fantasy pickup of the week, but he'll definitely get you the ppr points and possibly a short TD. If you're not in a PPR league there are much better options available off the waiver (IE: Josh Gordon, Chris Givens, Nate Washington, etc).
Cecil Shorts- He gets his first start against a very fast secondary. Shorts has finally made enough of a name for himself in succeeding in his few and far vertical routes throughout the season. Oakland has given up the 11th most points per game to opposing WRs this season. If there's ever an opportunity for the youngster to succeed this would be it. The only reason I put him on the sit em list is because there are simply way to many more proven/less risk y players available on the waiver wire.
SIT-Anyone else associated with The Jaguars passing game- because there's just no logical reason to believe they'll play better against a tougher opponent than they've seen all year.
Jaguars Defense- The Jaguars defense just breathed a sigh of relief with the return of Derek Cox a few weeks back. Now they're screaming in horror at the memo that Chris Prosinski will be starting. His presence alone means two touchdowns given up. Without Daryl Smith this Jaguars D/ST has currently averaged slightly over 1 point per game currently (no, that's not a typo). Against an offense full of speed where one play could equal a touchdown I'm not even homer enough to advise you to start this D full of misfits. Oakland has given up the 13th most fantasy points to team defenses, but the only teams that do well against them were successful rushing the passer in that game....we haven't been able to do that all season to date.
So who's in your lineup this week Big Cat Country?
**Note - I still see the Jags losing this game, but not because of the offense. Just think we get exposed early and often in the running game and over top in the passing games by the Raider's speed.'**