Hey guys. Some of you know I am a pretty big fantasy nut, and, well, i'm a big Jaguars nut too. I'm a bit of a homer when it comes to my Fantasy Football teams, I always have more Jags players than any other owner, but I still know the real value of those players, and (unfortunately) they usually ride the bench.
I want to write this article because I found myself frequenting other SBNation blogs scavenging for inside info on players for their fantasy outlook. So, to make things easier for people like myself, I will provide my fantasy insights for the Jacksonville Jaguars Players for this upcoming 2012 season.
One thing fantasy owners should know, but seldom do, is the coaching staff changes made in the offseason. Every year there will be organizational changes that will change a player's outlook. For the Jaguars, we had a complete change of our offensive staff. New head coach Mike Mularkey, Assistant HC and QB Coach Gregg Olson, Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski, WRs coach Jerry Sullivan, and running backs coach Sylvester Croom.
What does this mean for the Jaguars? A completely new offense. We had arguably the worst passing attack in the NFL last year, and MJD was our only offensive player throwing up fantasy points. We hope that this offensive make-over will turn out for the better in 2012.
Jaguar Fantasy Players to Look For
1. Maurice Jones-Drew: I kept telling everyone last year that MJD was a steal as an early 2nd round pick, and he ended up as the 3rd best running back. Many thought his knee surgery was a concern, but it was MJD's only serious injury in 5 years, and he said he felt better than ever on it. In 2010 he was playing injured and neglected to get the surgery until the end of the season. His carry count will drop in 2012 with Rashad Jennings getting work in the back field and an increase to the passing game, but he should be getting more yards per carry as defenses may have to be more worried about Robinson, Blackmon and Evans than they were Mike Thomas last year. You can't go wrong with him as your RB1.
2. Laurent Robinson: Last year he proved that he could stay healthy and was ready to be the explosive receiver that he is. He was the 20th best fantasy receiver last year with 54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns in only 14 games starting. While no one is expecting Blaine Gabbert to hit him like Tony Romo did last year, his fantasy value is not shot. I expect him to be the #1 receiver on the Jaguars in 2012 and Blaine's top target. And one thing that fantasy owners don't take into account is targets. I don't care how bad your quarterback is, if you land a receiver that is getting 90+ targets a season, he is going to get some fantasy points. Laurent Robinson is a great late round grab. Pick him up safely in the 10th round for a huge upside player.
3. Justin Blackmon: Surprisingly, Justin Blackmon is being drafted a full 2 rounds ahead of Laurent Robinson, and can be grabbed in the 9th round. This is mostly due to some owners taking too much liking to rookie prospects. If you are expecting Justin Blackmon to have a rookie performance like Julio Jones or AJ Green last year, I wouldn't hold my breath. Even with an improved Blaine Gabbert, Blackmon is still a rookie, and should be the #2 receiver on the team. Roddy White outplayed Julio Jones last year, and I wouldn't expect Blackmon to outplay Robinson. I like Robinson's fantasy outlook for 2012 more than Blackmon's, but I wouldn't take either of them before the 9th round.
4. Mike Thomas: Finished as the 25th best PPR receiver in 2010 and was under the radar of most fantasy owners. His fourth year (2011) was supposed to be his break-out year, but after Garrard was let go and our passing offense was all over the place, Mike Thomas ended up with a horribly average season. He could have a bounce-back season back in the slot, and may be worth rostering in deep PPR leagues as a WR3. I can't see his ceiling being much higher than that without seeing more from Gabbert, however.
5. Rashad Jennings: I was huge on Rashad Jennings last year before he got hurt. He is respected in the Fantasy world as one of the best back-up running backs to have, partly because there seems to be a false assumption that MJD is injury-prone and overworked, and partly because we have always had a great run offense and he seems to be the next talented back in a line of champions. I think Rashad will bounce back from his injury and take the league by storm, giving us an amazing 1-2 punch run game. He is a must-own for any MJD owner, and worth a roster spot for those who are thin at the RB position, as he will see a partial time-share with MJD this year.
6. Lee Evans: Has not been a fantasy factor since 2008, and sadly, I don't expect him to make a comeback on the Jaguars in 2012. He is around for veteran experience.
7. Marcedes Lewis: Was a decent TE2 in 2010 with his pro bowl performance, but had a poor showing (like the rest of the Jag's passing game) in 2011. He dropped some easy touchdowns which would have retained some fantasy value for him, but he's pretty much off the board for 2012. With a plethora of tight ends out there and most leagues only requiring/allowing you to start 1 each week, I would avoid Marcedes Lewis at all costs.
8. Cecil Shorts: Going into his second season, he is too far down the real depth chart right now to even be considered a roster spot even in deeper Fantasy leagues. At best, he could have a great offseason, beat Mike Thomas out for the starting slot role, and then be a WR3/4 in PPR leagues. But I don't see that happening.
9. Blaine Gabbert: Fantasy-speaking, his name can be thrown into a mix along with the likes of Matt Flynn, Sam Bradford, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, and many other young QB-hopefuls. He is not worth the risk of a back-up QB position, but he should be owned in every dynasty league as someone's QB prospect. Do not expect many fantasy points from him in 2012, but a starting QB is a starting QB. Yes, there are 32 guys to choose from, and he's in the bottom half, dare say the bottom third. I expect Andy Dalton numbers from him this year with the much-improved Jaguar's offense, with an upside of 3800 passing yards, 25 TD, and 10 INT. He should also get about 20-30 rushing yards per game.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars Defense: If you're looking to get a solid defense on the cheap in a late round, you can't go wrong with the Jaguars. They didn't put up too many fantasy points last year in leagues that are driven by turnovers and defensive touchdowns, but they will hardly ever put up anything in the red. Jaguars defense should be a very consistent starter, and should yield many low scoring games. I also expect a big increase in the amount of turnovers and touchdowns going into their 2nd year as a unit under Mel Tucker.
I'm not going to get into IDPs, because I don't play IDP leagues, but for IDP players out there, Posluszny is a great IDP player to have. He is the Jaguar's top tackler, and a great MLB among other MLBs in the NFL.
Well, that's about it. If you have any Fantasy football questions relating the Jaguars or otherwise, please ask in comments below. Since 2004, I have won many Fantasy leagues and have never missed playoffs in any of my leagues. I do a lot of research and focus on the future, rather than last year's stats, to rank my fantasy players and draft winning teams.
Good luck drafting this year!