August 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings (23) runs for a gain against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
Seeing as your Jacksonville Jaguars NFL season kicks off on Sunday in Minnesota at 1:00 pm against the Vikings we thought it would be a good time to discuss which Jaguars players have fantasy relevance this week? Who are our Jaguars must starts/sits?
Every week join myself your Big Cat country Fantasy Football Expert (termed loosely) to sit down and discuss your options in Fantasy Football Start Em'/Sit Em' for the week. After the jump take a look at my thoughts on the Jaguars/Vikings fantasy starts and sits.
Rashad Jennings-While the emergence of Maurice Jones Drew may hamper some of Jenning's (previously thought) star power against the woeful Vikings run-stopping defense he will still be the starter at least this week giving him ample opportunity to carry the load this week. Yes, the Vikings were ranked #11 in rushing defense last year (107 yards per game) but anyone who watches Vikings games will tell you that is only because most teams just preferred to pass against them. This is evidenced by their #26 ranking in passing defense from 2011. Jennings, who has a 5.4 yards per rush career average should do just fine against this Vikings front. This is proof that simple stats don't always tell the full story. This Vikings D averaged giving up 18.41 points per game to running backs. Start the man!
Justin Blackmon-As stated above, the Vikings #26 passing defense should have their hands full with Mr. Blackmon. Blaine Gabbert's favorite new toy has been on showcase the past few pre-season games and Jags fans couldn't be happier to hear it. This wonderful Vikings secondary averaged giving up 27.2 points to WRs (second most in the NFL behind New England). With monster games (19 or more points) given up to Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Devin Hester, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Jordy Nelson, Roddy White, Demaryius Thomas, and Lance Mooregiven up by this team you can probably see why I would be excited about this matchup, huh? This is before mentioning the other 4 or 5 WRs who scored between 10-15 points against them last season. We paid the man, now play the man. #PutMeInCoach!
Blaine Gabbert-If his name wasn't Blaine Gabbert, I would say play him against this D. He's looked way too good this preseason and the Vikings defense may possibly be the weakest secondary in the NFC currently. If there is anything that I would be concerned about it would be fumbles lost. Anytime you play against Jared Allen and Kevin Williams you have to be worried about ball security, especially with Gabbert's fumble-prone past. Please see important note below...
Maurice Jones Drew-Now, you see everything that I wrote about Rashad Jennings above? Disregard it all when referencing Jones Drew. There's just way to much risk involved with not knowing how many touches a RB will get when he is just coming in and learning the playbook. Let the other guys take on the risk. You play to win.
Mercedes Lewis- The Vikings averagged giving up 7.6 points per game to opposing TEs. This places them in the top quarter of the league in this area. Mercedes Lewis spent all off-season trying to find the old Mercedes and it seems that it may be the case. But, has anyone seen him go vertical this pre-season as of yet? I haven't. The only way Lewis gains fantasy relevence this week is if the Jags rushing game carries the team into the redzone and we hit him on an intermediate route. All of these things could most definitely happen. Just, with TE being a feast or famine position outside of the top 3 you generally want to place your roster spot in the hands of someone who's going to get you consistent yardage with a possible TD here or there. I'm not sure Mercedes is that guy or any better or worse than anyone on your waiver wire. Maybe he'll prove me wrong; but I wouldn't be willing to start him to test that theory.
Jaguars Defense- If there is a game on this schedule that I would say start the Jags D it would be this one....but I can't bring myself to say that with Derek Cox likely being out this week. After watching and re-watching the Jags/Ravens pre-season game and watching the jags secondary get just manhandled by the Ravens WRs speed I'm just not so sure that this D will be the top 5 D we all seem to believe. Until I can see more I just can't see someone playing them unless their other defensive matchup was just horrendous. The pass rush has looked close to non-existent with the front 4, we're short on DEs currently, Missing our starting CB with our third CB also still not 100%, and missing our starting MLB. Do you need another reason to question this defense this week? Special teams. You've seen the pre-season games just as I have. You have to believe that we're one punt return or kick return away from actually having points given up on ST. With Percey Harvin back there I want no part of this situation. Sit them, at least until they prove last season wasn't a fluke or are at moderately full strength.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are in a situation where you are starting or contemplating starting Gabbert in week one of your fantasy football season may God be with your fantasy team's soul..... ;)
So who's in your lineup this week Big Cat Country?