With high expectations in 2018, after reaching the AFC Championship game in 2017, the Jaguars were a failure. With a new quarterback at the helm, lets see how the roster breaks down in tiers.
In 2017 the Jacksonville Jaguars were the surprise team of the AFC finishing the regular season at 10-6. The Jags then made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots where they lost a nail biter 24-20. This left expectations high for 2018 as the roster remained essentially identical to the previous season. With hopes Blake Bortles would keep progressing, the opposite happened. Bortles was utterly miserable, eventually being benched for back up Cody Kessler en route to a 5-11 record.
The Jaguars have since moved on from Blake Bortles and signed Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to now man the offense. The team has a crowded group of mostly unproven pass catchers to line up at wide receiver. Leonard Fournette already has a top 10 fantasy season under his belt but the soft tissue injuries have been an issue for him. I am cautiously optimistic for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season, lets see how the roster breaks down.
Tier 1 – Draft Targets
Leonard Fournette – Running Back
2018 Stats: 133 rushing attempts for 439 yards and five touchdowns at 3.3 YPC to go with 26 targets, 22 receptions for 185 receiving yards and another touchdown.
Leonard Fournette has had two seasons with totally different stories. His rookie season he finished as a top 10 fantasy running back suiting up for only 13 games. He finished that rookie season with 1,040 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns with 302 receiving yards and another touchdown. The following season Fournette injured his hamstring in the very first game of the season and only appeared in eight contests not looking like himself.
The team is gearing the offense to help Nick Foles succeed. They have said that they want to use Fournette more in the passing game. I think this is a great idea. Over the course of Fournette’s brief career he has shown great chops as a pass catcher. In his 21 games he has been targeted 74 times catching 58 of those targets for 487 receiving yards and two touchdowns. That is a career catch rate of 78.4%, pretty darn good. Here is a glimpse into the new screen game with Fournette being the beneficiary:
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) August 5, 2019
Quarterback Nick Foles has nothing but high praise for Fournette stating “He’s a special back when you give him the ball.” Garnering confidence from your quarterback is always a plus. Fournette carries huge touchdown upside as well with 16 total touchdowns in 21 games. If he can stay healthy in 2019 than Fournette can be a top 10 RB easily.
2019 Projected Stats: 255 rushing attempts for 1,185 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns to go with 70 targets and 53 receptions for 425 receiving yards and another four touchdowns.
Tier 2 – Depth Players
Dede Weestbrook – Wide Receiver
2018 Stats: 101 targets and 66 receptions for 717 receiving yards and five touchdowns plus nine rushing attempts for 98 yards.
Dede Westbrook is by far the top receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars in my eyes. He showed great promise last year and should be lining up in the slot again this year for Nick Foles who should thrive on short throws and moving the chains as opposed to big plays. Big plays can be made by Westbrook as he is one of the best receivers in the NFL at yards after the catch. He was in the top 20 in that category in 2018 with an awful quarterback and that number should increase with more consistent quarterback play.
Dede Westbrook has great talent as he torched the NCAA en route to 2,267 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns in 26 games. He dealt with some injuries to start his career but is now healthy and has been doing work on some of the NFL’s best corners. Watch here as Westbrook makes a beautiful catch being covered by Stephon Gilmore:
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2018
Westbrook is still being severely undervalued in fantasy drafts. Click here for a link to an article written by my co-worker Boyd Killingworth (@dynastyboyd) talking about how 2019 could be Westbrook’s year three breakout.
2019 Projected Stats: 125 targets, 91 receptions for 1,025 yards and eight touchdowns.
Nick Foles – Quarterback
2018 Stats: 141 completions on 195 attempts, seven touchdowns and four interceptions with a 72.3% completion percentage. (5 starts)
Nick Foles is on his second go round with being a team’s franchise quarterback. The Rams signed Nick Foles in 2015 to be their franchise quarterback after successful campaigns filling in as a backup. Unfortunately for Foles his head coach was Jeff Fisher. After a poor showing with the Rams Foles signed to be a backup in Kansas City in 2016 only to rejoin the Eagles as a backup in 2017 and 2018.
Every year in Foles career he has been forced into starting. In 2017 he filled in for Carson Wentz, who was having an MVP season, to shine and lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl and was later named the Super Bowl MVP. In those three playoff games he put up 971 passing yards, six touchdowns to only one interception completing 73.53% of his passes. Foles has looked great so far in the Jacksonville Jaguars camp and has shown solid chemistry with 2018 second round pick D.J Chark. Watch these two plays from camp:
— PirateLife Football (@PirateLifeFF) May 29, 2019
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 2, 2019
Foles has been given a second chance at starting and I think he has a real chance to succeed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think Foles is a solid option as your QB2 for your fantasy squads with potential upside.
2019 Projected Stats: 3,850 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Tier 3 – Rotational Players
Marqise Lee – Wide Receiver
2017 Stats: (Missed 2018 due to injury) 96 targets, 56 receptions for 702 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Marqise Lee was the defacto WR1 for the Jacksonville Jaguars from the end of 2016 into 2017. He was supposed to have a breakout year in 2018 but missed the entire season tearing his ACL in the preseason. Lee may have been more productive in his career had he not had Blake Bortles throwing him the ball. Marqise Lee was another college standout that the Jaguars drafted having put up 248 receptions for 3,655 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns during his 36 games at USC.
Lee is still recovering from his ACL injury and is currently on the team’s PUP list. It is said that he will be ready for the start of the season and will be one of the starting outisde receivers with either D.J. Chark or Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook manning the slot. Lee is great in space and terrific with the football in his hands as you see here:
One of my favorite Jaguars is WR Marqise Lee. The teams best receiver in 2016 and 2017. Will he return to his old form after hurting his knee early last season? pic.twitter.com/qall2gFNRJ
— Another Jags Podcast (@AnotherJagsPod) June 26, 2019
The Jaguars have some receivers with great yards after the catch potential and Lee is one of them. I expect him to be a volume based WR4/5 for the season.
2019 Projected Stats: 90 targets and 65 receptions for 735 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
D.J. Chark – Wide Receiver
2018 Stats: 32 targets and 14 receptions for 174 yards.
D.J. Chark was an afterthought during his rookie season. The entire offense was for that matter. Chark has a very intriguing skill set though and lit up the 2017 draft combine. Chark ran a 4.34 second 40 yard dash, had a 40 inch vertical and a 129 inch broad jump. Needless to say his athletic ability is off the charts. Not only that though, he was excellent in drills during the combine which led him to being a second round pick.
Leading in to Chark’s second season he now opens up the first team depth chart as a starter on the outside opposite of Marqise Lee. There is one thing that separates Chark from the other receivers in the group…height. Chark is 6’3 to go with his speed and athleticism. Keelan Cole is the next tallest measuring in at 6’1. Chark also brings a skillset of being a return man for the Jags. He is listed as the Jaguars first string Kick Returner. Watch here as you can see Chark’s speed on full display, he uses a few blocks and when he hits the open field you see a second gear:
Chark is having a great camp with Nick Foles as his quarterback. You saw in the two Nick Foles clips earlier, both of those passes going to Chark. Here you see the clip of the type of athleticism he has, watch the play he makes on the ball here:
DJ chark is good at football.
Bad situation/crowded receiver core/rookie year caused lack of production
Now… just a crowded WR group and everyone is just as fast 🙄 https://t.co/pdS5xqZuFA
— FFGriff (@LGriffis52) July 31, 2019
Chark is a dark horse to have a good year but his draft capitol, return skills and physical ability give him the upside to be fantasy relevant.
2019 Projected Stats: 65 targets for 40 receptions, 520 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Geoff Swaim – Tight End
2018 Stats: 32 targets and 26 receptions for 242 receiving yards and one touchdown. (10 Games)
If anybody has listened to the F3Pod recently I have talked up Josh Oliver, the rookie tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as being a sleeper with big upside. Unfortunately Oliver suffered what the team is saying is a significant hamstring injury. Oliver was having solid camp and was a standout at OTA’s but now will miss significant time and the team will not rush back the youngster in order to prevent a setback.
Enter Geoff Swaim who will now enter the season as the team’s starting tight end. Geoff Swaim was the lead tight end for the Dallas Cowboys to start last season putting up very pedestrian numbers. During the teams first 10 games he was the starter putting up per game averages of 3.2 targets, 2.6 receptions and 24.2 receiving yards per game before going on IR. One stat that does jump out is his catch rate:
Swaim is your prototypical chain mover and Foles is a big fan of throwing to his tight ends. Over the past two seasons Foles started in seven regular season contests and three playoff contests. During those 10 games Foles targeted tight end Zach Ertz an astounding 91 times, an average of 9.1 targets per game. Now I know Swaim is not Zach Ertz by any means but he catches anything thrown at him. Swaim has a possible volume upside to be a TE2 streamer this season.
2019 Projected Stats: 70 targets, 58 receptions for 560 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The Jacksonville Jaguars do have some intriguing fantasy options this season on the offensive side of the football. Leonard Fournette already has a top 10 fantasy season under his belt and I expect him to get back to form. Nick Foles has a much better shot at being a successful starter without Jeff Fisher calling the shots on offense and he should be a draftable asset for BYE weeks. Dede Westbrook is enjoying a bit of a hype train but it is well deserved. He has great upside and is the team’s top receiver and should receive a high volume of targets.
The rest of the starting receivers are tier three based off history and talent. Marqise Lee has already been the teams WR1 but has since ceded that role to Westbrook. That does not mean that he now becomes irrelevant and he could still be a decent WR4/5. D.J. Chark is entering his Sophomore season in the NFL and is enjoying great OTA’s and training camp. Geoff Swaim rounds out the group as a volume based chain mover who could be a deep fantasy sleeper at an incredibly week position for fantasy.
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