Editor’s Note: Here’s another post by our fantasy expert, Adam McGill. Hope you guys enjoy!
After being a relative unknown for the past five years, Marcedes Lewis finally made an impression on the fantasy world and became a household name in 2010. Lewis caught an amazing 10 touchdowns last year, tied for the most among the fellow tight ends, alongside Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski. He only grabbed 7 touchdowns in the four years previous to that, but the surprising increase in red-zone trips for the Jaguars’ offense and subsequent red-zone targets for Lewis made him a extremely viable fantasy option last year. He also caught a career high 58 balls for 700 yards, easily making 2010 his most successful season.
So if the past is the past, where does that leave Marcedes Lewis and his fantasy owners for the 2011 season?The 27-year old is finally living up to the post-draft hype after being selected by Jacksonville in the first round in 2006. He was awarded the John Mackey Award for the best tight end in the nation in 2005, joining such prestigious winners as Dallas Clark, Aaron Hernandez, Heath Miller, and Kellen Winslow. He has always been an amazing red-zone target at 6’6″, and his 17 touchdowns in his last two seasons at UCLA showed he can be a reliable receiver. Expectations were high for the 275 pound man-child coming off campus, but he never appeared to fully grasp the Jag’s pro offense. That is, until now.
Lewis looked a little streaky last year, as he started hot with 7 touchdowns in the first eight games, but then only managed to haul in 3 in his next eight contests. This isn’t as alarming as it first seems, considering that the now defunct David Garrard was the one throwing him the ball. Cutting Garrard just days before the start of the regular season doesn’t bode well for the offensive chemistry early in the season, however, Luke McCown (and possibly Blaine Gabbert later in the season) will rely heavily on Lewis as a checkdown and big, easy target over the middle.
The starting quarterback position is currently held by Luke McCown, who will be keeping the seat warm until rookie phenom Blaine Gabbert is deemed ready – after all, the team drafted him tenth overall expecting him to be a starter in the near future, so the youngster will take over under-center at some point this year…it’s just a matter of when. Gabbert completed 90 passes in 2010 to his tight end at Missouri, Michael Egnew, and showed that he knows when to look across the middle, even in Missouri’s radically spread offense. He and Lewis will quickly build rapport and the two could easily become a Rivers-Gates style combination down the road. The “Gabb” will rely heavily on Lewis to move the chains, and the two will only get better as they mature, much like a nice bottle of Chianti.
A tight end that catches 10 touchdowns in a single season is an absolute godsend for fantasy owners. Lewis was one of only 13 players to catch 10 or more touchdowns in 2010 and in fantasy sports, touchdowns are worth their weight in gold. Marcedes is a true fantasy starter regardless of the quarterback situation in Jacksonville, and this “G-Class” SUV will be running over defenders all year long.
– Adam McGill