The preseason is here and the Fantasy Football season is on the horizon. Whether it be an 8 or 14 man league; a Standard, Auction or any other variant; fantasy players are gearing up around the world. Now while most NFL fans really only follow their favorite team, trusting information from other sources is important to build your team in the draft as well as post-op in the waiver wire. While your mock drafts and top player cheat sheets are under way, remember to do your homework.
The Jaguars only have one player that is worth a first round pick, although he is falling in value considering he is not with the team or NWT. Maurice Jones-Drew is falling fast and is providing some leagues with a great second round pick. Media outlets are informing fans that MJD will be in for a lengthy holdout which is notable, yet these are the same media outlets that believe the Jaguars will move to LA. even though they have a lengthy stadium deal in play. The further time moves along, the worse the situation becomes as a new playbook and not being with the team will add more rust to the tires. Expect MJD to still be drafted in the first few rounds, he is too good to pass up, even if he misses a few games.
The greatest news for Jaguars fantasy players is the amount of knowledge we have of our roster. While it may only take a few clicks to check who our current starter is, many won’t considering how abysmal the offense would have been without him last year. Yet Rashad Jennings has show to hold his own when spelling Jones-Drew is years past, acquiring a healthy 5.4 average on 123 carries in two years. He missed last season, his third, with a knee sprain, which was not serious, but placed him on I.R. Jennings will see the field this Friday night against the Giants, which depending on his performance may raise his value significantly. If you are drafting before Friday nights game, draft him in the final rounds as a good handcuff/sleeper, you won’t regret it.
The Jaguars have invested greatly in the offense this season, so don’t be afraid to take either Justin Blackmon or Laurent Robinson in the mid to late rounds, depending on how deep your league is. Mike Thomas has now been downgraded to the slot and is returning punts with Cecil Shorts, but unless they greatly impress during the next four games, don’t worry about either as well as Lee Evans as there as better value out there. The Jags have invested time money and high draft picks to make the passing game work. They also invested in head coach/ offense coordinators Mike Mularkey and Bob Bratkowski, as well as being able to snag retired wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, to coach up these offensive weapons. They will be given every chance to succeed, especially since MJD is holding out as well as Mularkey having gone on record to saying they want a more balanced offense. Blaine Gabbert however, may go undrafted as well as Marcedes Lewis after having slumps last season. Bratkowski has also said recently that the passing attack, “Hasn’t been very good”, but with Justin Blackmon arriving to camp, that should soon change. They are going up against last years six rated defense after all. Gabbert is worth being a back up in deep leagues and well as everyone else being a number 2 or 3 on your team.
The Jaguars have a kicker worth drafting or picking up in the waivers in Josh Scobee. Scobee has become one of the better kickers in the league, hitting a clutch 59 yard field goal two years ago to beat the Colts as well as helping a few fantasy games. He is coming off making 92% of his kicks being 23/25, missing one between 40-49 yards, and one over 50+ yards. Consider Scobee a reliable kicker to be taken after Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers.
Finally we have the defense, which is on the fringe of becoming elite. While the defense isn’t flashy in forcing turnovers in years past, this may change this coming season due to a variety of factors. Last season, the Defense experienced an overhaul of players including Paul Posluszny, Dawan Landry, Clint Session, and Dwight Lowery. These players now have a year under their belt with the team which has made huge impact from one of the worst, to one of the best defenses in the league. Session is currently hurt but has a good replacement in Russell Allen to take his place. The Jaguars also spent their second draft pick on defensive end Andre Branch out of Clemson. Branch has been noted for his ability to bend around the edge which will contribute to recording more sacks. Under defensive line coach Joe Cullen, the Jaguars have increased their sack totals every season since his arrival in Jacksonville. This defense is also under the radar, so expect the defense to go undrafted in most leagues, but look for a great sleeper as the season goes on.
Good luck to everyone in their drafts, and thank god the Jaguars are back this Friday.
- Antonio Furgiuele
Topics: Andre Branch, Blaine Gabbert, Bob Bratkowski, Cecil Shorts, Cecil Shorts III, Clint Session, David Akers, Dawan Landry, Dwight Lowery, Jerry Sullivan, Joe Cullen, Josh Scobee, Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-drew, Mike Mularkey, Mike Thomas, Paul Posluszny, Rashad Jennings, Russell Allen, Sebastian Janikowski