There has only been a small window to view rookie, Blaine Gabbert, at the professional level, but the 2011 tenth overall selection has looked very confident. He is poised in the pocket and the 6’5” quarterback has very underrated mobility. Gabbert has thrown a touchdown in every one of his four starts, but unfortunately Jacksonville is 0-4 in that span and an uninspiring 1-5 on the year. So where does Gabbert stand from the fantasy perspective?The first year starter has been very careful with the ball as he only has 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles lost in his first four NFL starts, which is not too bad considering Peyton Manning had 12 turnovers in his first four starts of his career in 1998. Gabbert knows that he is able to rely on the powerful downhill running of Maurice Jones- Drew, and it helps him manage the game, rather than try to single-handedly win it. Despite Pittsburgh being favored by 12 points, Gabbert was able to keep the Jags in a tough game against the AFC Champion Steelers by scoring 13 unanswered points before running out of time in the 17-13 loss.
Gabbert has not been able to move the ball consistently; which is evident by his season-high 221 passing yards and 48.8% completion percentage. This would not be too alarming for the young quarterback if he was posting bigger numbers, but his utter lack of fantasy points is a cause for concern. Also outside of MJD, the Jaguars’ offense has not been able to score points, partially because promising wideout, Michael Thomas, has not taken the steps that the Jacksonville Faithful were hoping for. The lack of surrounding talent limits Gabbert’s overall fantasy value and puts the former Missouri quarterback in the bottom half of the NFL signal callers.
However, the 22-year old may not be a worthy starter this year, but he certainly will be among the top young quarterbacks to keep in dynasty leagues. Gabbert will have started almost every game by the time the season ends, which will help him mature as a true pocket passer. Jacksonville will likely be picking in the top five in the 2012 draft and it would be prudent of them to grab one of the standout wideouts likely to come out such as Justin Blackman from Oklahoma State or Alston Jeffery from Southern Carolina. Gabbert will still be an experienced sleeper to target next year regardless of the receiver situation, but some help on offense never hurts.
-By Adam McGill