The Jacksonville Jaguars could be a team on the verge of a Super Bowl berth this season. That could mean a spike in players drafted by fantasy football owner this year.
I have been playing fantasy football since I was in college over 20 years ago. Back then, it was a small group of beer-guzzling football fans who just learned the Jacksonville Jaguars would become an NFL franchise. Now, it has become something bigger. And because of the success of this team in North Florida, I might draft a few players from the team I cover.
Maybe you guys and gals should, too.
The Jaguars were the fifth-ranked scoring team in the NFL last season. While all the accolades were pointed in the direction of the defense, the offense wasn’t bad, finishing first in the league in rushing (141 yards per game) and 17th in passing (217 yards a contest). Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will continue to push the running game while opening up more passing offense.
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Hackett has more speed at wide receiver this season and a leaner Leonard Fournette to tote the football. Quarterback Blake Bortles has looked better following wrist surgery and while he helped me win my league in 2015 with a career season, I am not quite ready to draft him again.
Fournette, on the other hand, could be a nice pickup early in the second round, like I did last season.
No running back faced more eight-man fronts than Fournette last season (145 snaps, 27.5 percent of their total carries). The LSU star must produce more runs of over four yards from scrimmage and raise his yards-per-carry to over four yards if he is to challenge for the league rushing title.
After a rookie season that saw him gallop for 1,040 yards, does he take things to another level in 2018?
Fournette is a “given” draft pick in fantasy football leagues, but there are others to consider. Here are three other players you must consider when making your season-winning picks.
Josh Lambo may have only played a little over half a season in Jacksonville, but he was as close to automatic as there has been in Jacksonville. This is all you need to know: 10 games, 19 fields in 20 attempts.
Even more impressive he made four of five kicks from 40-49 yards and hit both his attempts from beyond 50. His longest kick of the season was 56 yards and he was perfect at home.
I would not draft Lambo until late, but he should be a name to consider this season.
DJ Chark is just a rookie, but he has as good a chance as many Jaguars wide receiver to lead this team in catches and yards in 2018. He has looked good in camp.
"“Chark has been the most impressive receiver in camp, routinely making catches over defensive backs—including against Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye,” ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco wrote."
Chark has great size at 6-foot-4 and 199 pounds – something the Jaguars did not have last season and something fantasy owners will love.
He becomes an instant target in the red zone, which is music to owners’ eyes and ears. He could also become the deep threat the team lost with Allen Robinson leaving for Chicago.
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
When a good thing comes around, you stick with it. The Jacksonville Jaguars recorded 55 sacks last season and was ranked second overall in the NFL. This season, there are some who believe this unit could be even better.
While I am not expecting 14 sacks from Calais Campbell, I am hoping pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue continues his uphill climb as the best sack artist in the game. Malik Jackson came to camp in the best shape of his career and could improve on his eight sacks in 2017.
Dante Fowler, despite the off-field issues and the most recent incident during practice, could have a big year knowing this is a dress rehearsal for other franchises. Telvin Smith will continue to play at a top level.
The secondary is one of the best in the NFL. While Ramsey and Bouye (led team with six interceptions) get all the credit, both safeties – Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson – had four interceptions each.