Jacksonville Jaguars: 2014 Outlook
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Jacksonville Jaguars

By Daniel Kalles, Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blake Bortles was drafted as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, making him the first QB off the board. Bortles is the quarterback of the future for Jacksonville, but the team has stated that they plan to bring him along slowly (while allowing veteran Chad Henne to start this season). Don't be surprised if Bortles is starting by the end of the season as they look to get him some game-action (something similar to when the NY Giants sat Eli Manning for the first seven games and let the veteran Kurt Warner start). Bortles' only value is in dynasty leagues, deep leagues and start 2QB leagues. Even if he does start at some point during the season, we shouldn't expect much out of him in his first year, as the Jags just don't have enough weapons that are ready to contribute. The future of suspended receiver Justin Blackmon and the development of rookie WRs Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee will help dictate how soon Bortles can be effective. Bortles is being drafted on average as the third QB in Dynasty rookie drafts at the end of the 2nd round.

Chad Henne is coming off one of his best seasons of his six-year career, unfortunately that isn't saying much. Henne passed for 3,241 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions; he did this while starting in 13 games. Henne is nothing more than a placeholder until the team feels ready to hand the reins to Bortles. Henne shouldn't seriously be considered for your fantasy rosters, no matter what format you play. There are much better options out there.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: Toby Gerhart signed a three-year contract worth $10.5 million and was anointed the starter. The Jags have been saying he will get anywhere from 15 to 20 touches per game and be an every-down back. Despite that, I wouldn't expect too much from Gerhart as the Jacksonville offense is pitiful and not much improved over last season when they were the second-worst rushing team in the NFL (rushed for only 1,260 yards). While Gerhart might help improve this, don't expect a major transformation. The former Stanford back is an adequate option, but would be best served putting up weak stats for another fantasy team. Gerhart is being drafted as RB24, but we prefer other players that are being drafted later -- namely Rashad Jennings, Pierre Thomas and Joique Bell.

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The Jaguars re-signed Jordan Todman and he will go into training camp as the tentative No. 2 running back behind Toby Gerhart. He will also battle with Denard Robinson for playing time (it is almost laughable calling this a battle). Todman is another Jacksonville player with very little value. He appeared in all 16 games last season (even making two starts), but he still only gained 256 yards and 76 carries. Worth a small consideration as a handcuff to Gerhart, Todman earns more value in PPR (point per reception) leagues, but more likely you should stay away from the Jags' running game.

Just like the rest of the Jacksonville running backs, Denard Robinson is another name not worth much consideration. The former Michigan Wolverines QB is still trying to get used to converting to running back. In his rookie year (even though the Jags lacked quality playmakers), he was only able to get 20 carries for a paltry 66 yards all while being active for all 16 games. Robinson will try and battle Jordan Todman for the backup running back spot, but don't count on it. Robinson is nothing more than a dynasty stash right now, but he may contribute here and there unexpectedly, giving him some very late round draft master value.

Storm Johnson was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He will focus primarily on special teams (if he makes the team). He has some decent skill, so if he does make the team and shows any flashes in training camp, he might be worth a look in a deep keeper or dynasty league. Outside of that, you can move on.

Former USC WR Marquise Lee is coming off a down season in his last collegiate season, but that shouldn't concern fantasy owners now. He dealt with a number of minor injuries and poor QB play, causing him to drop in the draft. The Jags took advantage by selecting him (a first round talent) in the second round. He is already missing time at OTAs due to a minor ankle injury, although it is not expected to be serious. Lee has the total package and (with the Jags on the upswing) is somebody to keep an eye on. His ability to adjust to the pro game and learn the playbook is his chief concern. Outside of his tremendous skill and pedigree, his upside is huge for two additional reasons: 1. Justin Blackmon's idiotic ways have opened the door wide for somebody to step in and fill the void for a team that will likely be playing catch up in second halves of games. 2. Cecil Shorts' concussion history makes Lee even more interesting. Rookies aren't typically asked to contribute right away, but both Lee and Robinson will have opportunity to shine. Follow Lee's progression through the summer and see where he lands on the depth chart during training camp.

Injury Status: Out - Hamstring

INJURY RISK: After a very quiet rookie season, Cecil Shorts had a breakout season in his second year, becoming the big-play receiver that the Jags were looking for. In only 14 games, he averaged 17.8 yards per reception on 979 yards, while scoring seven touchdowns; Based on those numbers, there were high expectations going into 2013. While he did catch 11 more passes despite playing in one fewer game, his yards and touchdowns dropped big time as he only averaged 11.8 yards per reception. Shorts is the unquestioned No, 1 receiver and should be drafted as a No. 3 fantasy receiver or flex option. Based on his numbers from last season and the plan to line him up more often in the slot, it likely means he should get a healthy dose of receptions. His value will be higher in PPR leagues. His overall position rank will be somewhere between 35 to 40.

Editor's note: Dynasty owners should be dumping Shorts as soon as possible. Even if you don't like Lee or Robinson, the Jags appear ready and willing to tear it all down.

Injury Status: Doubtful - Hamstring

Along with Marquise Lee, Allen Robinson was drafted in the second round. He is dealing with a hamstring issue that will most likely keep him out for a few weeks, but should be back in time for training camp. Like Lee, Robinson has some very big upside. It could come in Week 1 or it could show up a year or two from now. A late-round flier makes sense here, but very little else. Robinson should see playing time, but likely won't produce enough to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues. Most of his value is centered in the keeper and dynasty leagues.

Justin Blackmon missed the first four games of the 2013 season due to a suspension. Upon his return, he killed it over four games: catching 29 passes for 415 yards and one touchdown. He was just starting to establish himself as a legit threat when he was once again suspended, this time indefinitely. The former Oklahoma State pass-catcher is practically in hiding and will have to apply for reinstatement to return to the franchise. If and when he might come back is a total mystery. It's also not a foregone conclusion that the Jaguars will allow him to return or simply release him at that time. Despite all the drama, he is worth taking a change on when the value feels right. Blackmon's talent is too good to ignore; however, until more info is available on when he might return, you are only drafting hope.

Despite his breakout 2010 season where he set career-highs in all categories -- 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns -- Lewis is a fantasy non-option. Over the three years since, he only has eight total touchdowns. While Lewis is considered the Jagauars' top TE, he is at best a very low-end TE2. Seek out upside elsewhere and don't waste your time with Lewis.

Clay Harbor played in all 16 games last season for Jacksonville and caught 24 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. The Jags' offense is just brutal and Harbor is the second option behind Mercedes Lewis, making him someone there is no reason to have on your roster or radar, no matter what scoring system.

Josh Scobee is the kicker on the lowest scoring team in the NFL. There isn't much reason to think this will change this season. Scobee isn't even a bye-week replacement. Pass him on to someone else.



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