Monday, August 25, 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Football Outlook

JAG-ri-culture!

You know what my fantasy is?


My fantasy is that someday the Jags are actually a fantasy preview that someone clicks on with any sense of urgency and interest whatsoever. There have been years in the past where the Jags provided not one but two solid Fantasy RB options with MJD and Fred Taylor. 2014 is the first year in over a decade where neither of those backs is on the roster. The man who steps in is none other than the white knight known as Toby Gerhart! Seriously though, doesn’t that sound like a member of King Arthur’s court, or someone out to slay a Lannister? Sir Toby Gerhart is here, my Lord.

Gerhart steps into a starting role after years of being that first priority waiver wire pickup whichever week Adrian Peterson inevitably hit the DL. Gerhart produced in his role as backup, reminding everyone why he was a force to be reckoned with in college and a guy who was initially pegged as a potential NFL starter before getting drafted by a team who, lets face it, knew who their guy was going to be for the foreseeable future the minute the called his name.
A few years have gone by and, shocker, AP is still the man in MN. Gerhart is now in Jacksonville with the pressure any backup-turned-starter receives when getting the real life and fantasy promotion. Will Gerhart be Michael Turner in his first year as a Falcon? Sure hope so. If he is…he’s worth a 4th and maybe even 3rd round pick this year to make sure you get him. If he isn’t though, he might be someone you want to let your opponents take their chances on while you grab guys like Pierre Thomas who have proven success in their role already.    
The guy getting the most hype in the pre-season, and rightly so, is Quarterback Blake Bortles, who has been announced as starting the season on the bench as a backup to Chad Henne, something every young hurler dreams of. Yawn. As a real life Jags fan, you like the patience involved in developing the future franchise arm but as a fantasy player you hate the fact that this move makes Bortles pretty undraftable in a 10 or 12 team league. Sadly, this means that is he does take over as the starter mid-season, the team that will reap the benefits will be the team that happens to have waiver priority that given week.

For this reason BB is definitely worth a fifteenth round or so stash in a keeper league for sure. Its possible BB is a solid fantasy QB option as early as the 2nd half of this year but more likely beginning in 2015. Making a late round play on Bortles and keeping him for 2015 could get you the Andrew Luck/Matt Ryan of 2015 for a dollar or two, or a late round penalty. Drafting Bortles in a redraft league this year though might be a waste however, because you might end up dropping him come that Tight End or Defensive bye week if he’s still riding pine, and why not just score the better option on draft day in that case. Skip Bortles this year unless it’s a keeper, but also be prepared to regret it if Henne is awful. But, contrary to what the Jags’ record has been over the past few years, Chad Henne is one of those guys who has a miraculous ability to never look truly awful, so expect Bortles to develop on the sideline until at least week 10.

My man Marcedes Lewis, who proclaimed me the “Official Jacksonville Jaguars Fan of the Northeast” years ago (You can hear that interview HERE on A Shot of Yager) is always a guy to keep your eye on at the Tight End position. The talent and athletic ability is always there and always give ML the opportunity to have a big game here or there or an eight-touchdown season when you least expect it. Do you want him as your fantasy starter? No…but definitely keep the Marcedes in your rearview mirror and never in your blind spot.

As for the other pass catchers, there isn’t really a Jags WR you want to own after the draft and there aren’t many you really have to own. Seriously, which one gets drafted? The move is to wait and see who emerges and debate whether using a waiver on them is worth it after that 2nd big week. A big mistake people make is grabbing the guy who has that big week one, wasting a valuable waiver spot on a guy with zero track record who might never recreate that performance again that season, or in their career at all (Kevin Ogeltree on Dallas a few years back comes to mind). Cecil Shorts is out and Ace Sanders is suspended so someone needs to emerge, right? But not even a Jags fan like myself would pretend to know who that guy is going to be. Tread lightly with this core. Tread very, very lightly.  We ranked Shorts 33rd in our WR rankings.

Excited to say that I will be there to cheer (in my head, and only silently, with no signs on Jaguars affiliation whatsoever on my person, to avoid batteries to the dome) when the Jags take the field in week 1 vs. the Eagles and who knows, maybe it will be the beginning of a new era in which the teal and black are relevant to fantasy players such as you and I once again. Would I bet on it? Probably not. But that’s what’s great about the NFL, anything is possible!

Follow Scott on twitter @ShotOfYager

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