So it's been a week full of anger, frustration, and baby punching for Jaguar fans after the tough loss to the Texans this past Sunday. The positive? Blaine's butt is doing fabulous and Maurice Jones Drew's touchdown helped to save my fantasy victory. ;) Will a Jaguar player help lead you to fantasy stardom this week? Sit back and let's discuss which Jaguars players have fantasy relevance in this week.
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. After the jump take a look at my thoughts on the Jaguars fantasy starts and sits as they take on the Indianapolis Colts this week in Indy.
Maurice Jones Drew- Let's just call it what it is here folks, MJD is a must start unless he's injured. Period. With Rashad Jennings as doubtful MJD will again carry even more of the load. Now while he may not have the monster 150 yard day we're all praying for, he should at minimum get you 10-15 points one way or another. The Colts are giving up the 8th most points to fantasy running backs overall. It should definitely be noted that though the Colts run defense is currently averaging a middle of the pack 104 yards a game on the ground, a good majority of that yardage came in week one against the Bears. In their game last week they held the Vikings to 3.7 yards per carry and Peterson to 60 yards rushing and no TDs. Do I expect this of MJD? No. Is it something to think about with the state of our O-line and offense? Absolutely. Start him; just know if Indy's D shows up it may be a long day.
Josh Scobee- If you've been paying attention to the NFL this season you'll likely notice that we played the Texan's top ranked D last week. As our offensive and defensive units were unable to give us favorable field position Scobee was rendered useless in the fantasy realm. He's got a heck of a leg and he's generally very good from longer distances. With the probable designation of Derek Cox, the presence of Bryan Anger, and a Colts defense that's approximately the same skill-level of the Vikings I at least see our offense and defense doing enough to get us in field goal range on multiple occasions. If you get him close, he will boot them. It's a decent enough matchup but dependent on how the total team plays. The Colts have given up the 10th most fantasy points to kickers, which puts them in the top 1/3. So there's that....
Mercedes Lewis- After his week two showing of an incredible zero points you're probably wondering how in the world can I suggest starting Mercedes this week? Well, because if you recall, I predicted that Mercedes would struggle heavily against the Texans, as he now has in his last 6 games against them with a fantasy best of 5 points. It's sort of his forte'. Even before they were good on defense they were good at knowing how to erase him. Nevertheless, the Colts are not the Texans. Mercedes is very good at feasting on the lower-tier defensive teams and the Colts are the lowest of the low in stopping the passing game, ranking 25th in the league. Now if you were to listen to Yahoo or ESPN it would tell you that the Colts are ranked 27th this season at specifically stopping TEs. Unfortunately it does not mention that the Bears literally did not use their TE in week one (zero targets to either in the blow out win). In the Vikings game Kyle Rudolph ran wide open on multiple occasions but was only targeted five times. Rudolph ended the game with five targets, 1 TD, and one dropped TD. There is definite risk associated but I am stamping M. Lewis with the starter tag if you're choosing between multiple tier-two TEs this week. If the Jaguars just choose to use him (aka give him targets) he should be inadequately covered. I'm projecting him at 7points in non-PPR leagues.
Buyers Beware: (Upside exists, but with extreme risk)
Blaine Gabbert- The positive: The Colts are ranked 25th in the league in opponent passing yards and are 14th in the league in fantasy points allowed-giving up 19 points to jay cutler in week one and 17 points to Christian Ponder in week two. You don't get many games in which you go up against a D in which you truly know that your QB is likely to have at least an average day. The Colts are the equivalent of the Vikings secondary - not very good. It all falls on Blaine. I'm projecting Blaine to have a bounce back game ending up with something in the range of 15-18 fantasy points. I also see him being sacked a minimum of 3 times with us being up against a 3-4 defense that's built to confuse linemen and QBs. Without O-line shuffling I see communication/pickup issues on the horizon.
Laurent Robinson-While there's no way in your right mind you'd prefer to start Robinson this week (or any week until he shows you he can do it), this matchup truly warrants starting consideration. He is currently leading the Jaguars receivers in targets (albeit, a small number still). He is the deep threat on this team. And he is definitely due for a breakout game against a squad that struggles against vertical WRs. This D allowed Brandon Marshall 9 catches and 19 points in week one and Percy Harvin 12 catches and 14 points in week two. The Colts chose not to play Harvin close due to his speed and ability to run by them. They will likely won't give Robinson the same luxury so the opportunies will definitely be there. I believe he holds the most upside of the Jaguars WRs in this matchup. Projecting WR 3/Flex numbers 7-10 points.
Justin Blackmon- I'm not sure we can play the rook until he shows us something, anything. He's doing what we normally expect of rookies in struggling to get a hold on the game and speed. I think he'll get a grasp on it sometime this season, but in the meantime let's leave him to the bench while he figures it out.
Jaguars Defense- The Jaguars defense just breathed a sigh of relief with the return of Derek Cox. His presence will be welcomed with open arms. The Jaguars have currently scored -2 points and 4 fantasy points in their initial two season games. While his presence will allow the Jaguars D to do more personnel-wise, we will likely have to blitz a moderately significant amount to stop the running game, even against this line. With the injury to Daryl Smith our run stopping D has been near-crippling. I expect a slight bounce back verses the rookie QB this week. With cox we have a better secondary than the Vikings and I expect it to show in the form of INTs. The lack of a pass rush and ability to stop the running game still leaves room for concern though. Unless you're playing in a two defense league I wouldn't even think about it. The risk isn't even in the same ball park as the reward. Projected: 1 sack, 27-30 points against (mainly in garbage time), 1 INT.
So who's in your lineup this week Big Cat Country?