A Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Potential
A Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Potential
There has not been a lot of hype about the Jacksonville Jaguars in fantasy circles this offseason. However, there is potentially some value to be had from some of the skill players based on their current ADP.
There have been a lot of changes to the Jacksonville Jaguars offense coming off of a disappointing five-win season. Gone are Blake Bortles, Carlos Hyde, T.J. Yeldon, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Brought in to replace them are Nick Foles, Ryquell Armstead, Geoff Swaim, Josh Oliver, and offensive coordinator John Defilippo.
Defilippo has limited experience as an offensive coordinator, spending one year at the position for the Cleveland Browns and 2016 and spent last year in the same role for the Minnesota Vikings. In between those years, Defilippo was the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Coincidently, Nick Foles was the quarterback in Philadelphia with Defilippo in 2017.
The hope is that John Defilippo will install a pass-heavy attack similar to the one he oversaw in Minnesota last year. The offense in Minnesota last year attempted 606 passes, good for sixth in the NFL. Let us try to break down how things may shake out in Duval for 2019.
Nick Foles (QB)
Nick Foles will get the chance once and for all to prove he is a capable NFL starting quarterback. Foles has shown potential in the past and in his Super Bowl run for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. In 2012, the Arizona Wildcat grad was the QB12 in PPR formats for the Eagles in just 13 games. Foles has only started 44 regular season games in his seven-year career. That is good for an average of just over six games started per year.
Because of his limited starts, it is difficult to know what to expect from a 16 game season out of Foles. Only twice has he started double-digit games. One of those was in 2015 under the not so offensive minded Jeff Fisher. Foles did thrive in 2013 under Chip Kelly, averaging 23.65 points in the 11 games he attempted at least 20 passes.
In that 2013 season, Foles had eight top 10 QB finishes in those 11 games. The potential is there. The supporting cast was good, not great that year with receivers like DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, and Riley Cooper. Foles has a young crop of receivers to work with in Jacksonville, with an average age of 25 years old from the four top wideouts. How they gel together will go a long way in determining Foles success as a starter.
Foles is the 27th ranked QB in the staff consensus redraft rankings at FFStatistics and falls in at QB30 for dynasty ranks. Obviously, with the depth of the QB position, you can take a wait and see approach on Foles and he should be going undrafted in all formats except superflex. Unless Foles regains his 2013 form, he can be safely left on the waiver wire for most of the season.
Leonard Fournette (RB)
Leonard Fournette is coming off of a down season that saw him finish as the RB41 in PPR formats after being the RB10 in his rookie season. The soon to be third-year running back has seen his ADP plummet because of it. In 2018, Fournette had a late first round ADP. This season, he is currently going early in the third round.
As mentioned above, Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon have left town. A total of 249 carries from last year are up for grabs as a result. A slew of veteran running backs have been brought in, but none of them appear to be a threat to the beleaguered back. Fournette had some off the field issues this past offseason. This could be why the front office brought in some veteran reinforcements and drafted Ryquell Armstead in the fifth round of April’s draft.
Fournette has also had some injury concerns, playing in just 21 of a possible 32 regular season games. The LSU grad did show some promise over the second half of the season by scoring in double-digit points in four of his last six games played. This included three games over 20 points.
The fourth-overall pick in the 2017 draft was much more consistent his rookie year, going for double-digit points in all but two of the 13 games he played. This included five games of over 20 points scored. All told, Fournette has gone over the 20 point plateau in over one-third of his games played (8 of 21).
This is the kind of upside you can expect from Fournette and he is currently a superb value at his third-round ADP. The rest of the running backs do not pose much of a threat as we will cover next.
The Rest of the Running Backs
Outside of rookie Ryquell Armstead, there is not much to get excited about in the Jags backfield. Brought in was a career backup in Alfred Blue that could not supplant underwhelming Lamar Miller, special team guru Benny Cunningham, and journeyman Thomas Rawls.
We already know what we have with the three veteran backs. Armstead is the wild card in 2019 as it is uncertain what he will bring to the NFL. The Temple grad spent most of his college career in a timeshare before breaking out his senior year in 2018. The former Owl went over the 1,000-yard mark and scored 13 touchdowns.
If anyone is going to threaten Fournette for carries in 2019, it is likely to be the downhill runner Armstead. The lack of the ability to catch passes may keep him on the back burner for the time being while he develops as an NFL running back.
The Wide Receivers
Since there is no true WR1 for fantasy purposes at the moment, we will breakdown the position as a whole. There is certainly potential for one of the likes of Marqise Lee, DeDe Westbrook, Keelan Cole, DJ Chark, or even Chris Conley to develop a rapport with Nick Foles and break out this year. Offseason activities and training camps should be monitored to see who may have chemistry early. Let us have a look at each of them.
Marqise Lee sat out all of 2018 after suffering a serious knee injury in the third game of the preseason. Lee is expected back late this preseason and should be close to full strength. The former 39th overall pick (2014) was improving each year and averaged just over 100 targets (100.5) over his past two seasons before being injured.
Expect Lee to be the WR1 if healthy. This would bode well for him as the WR1 saw 155 targets in John DeFilippo’s offense last year for the Minnesota Vikings. Granted that wideout was Adam Thielen, but it speaks to the willingness of the coordinator to target the position.
Lee has no ADP data at the moment. There are currently 67 wideouts being drafted and not one of them is the under the radar wideout. There could be late-round value here if the training camp target return date is met and there are no setbacks. Monitor the situation this offseason.
DeDe Westbrook had a solid sophomore season in the NFL finishing as the WR33 in PPR formats. Westbrook saw over 100 targets (101) and hauled in 66 of them for 717 yards and five touchdowns. It will be difficult to see if the target share remains with Marqise Lee coming back from injury. The 101 targets he saw in 2018 was almost exactly double the 51 he saw his rookie season.
The Oklahoma grad did flash some upside in 2018 with half his games reaching double-digits, including two over 20. If he can maintain his target share, Westbrook could be a value at pick 113.9 (WR46). How he gels with Nick Foles will go a long way in determining his success.
Keelan Cole and DeDe Westbrook sort of flipped roles in 2018. In 2017, Cole was the WR48 where Westbrook was the WR90. Last season it was Westbrook that jumped to WR33 and Cole fell back to WR79.
Cole saw similar usage with 70 targets in 2018 compared to 82 in 2017. The problem is his yards per catch dropped from 17.8 to 12.9 and the touchdowns decreased from three to one. The decline of Blake Bortles may attribute to some of this but it is concerning still the same. Similar to Marqise Lee, Cole is going undrafted. There is not as much upside with the Kentucky Wesleyan grad as there is with Lee. He can safely be left undrafted in 2019.
DJ Chark had a disappointing rookie season. After being drafted 61st overall in the 2018 draft, expectations were high. Chark struggled with drops, fumbles, and injuries. The LSU grad missed five games his first year in the league. The hope is Chark can make the leap in his second season. With a steady Nick Foles at quarterback and not much talent in front of him on the depth chart, the stars are aligned.
You can see that the speedster failed to hit double-digits in any of his games played. Chark does have blazing speed however and ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine in 2018. Similar to Lee and Cole, Chark has no ADP data. The speed and athleticism make him one to watch in camps and offseason drills for the upside he presents.
Chirs Conley scored five touchdowns for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, but still finished as just the WR78 in PPR formats. Conley managed the five scores on just 32 receptions. That is good for a TD every 6.4 times he touched the ball. The underutilized wideout has never seen more than 69 targets in a season. That is not likely to change with a crowded receiving corps in Jacksonville.
Foles and Conley have played together in the past. They were teammates in Kansas City in 2016. The data is limited, but Foles had a QB rating of 108 when targeting Conley. Perhaps the familiarity will bode well for the veteran wideout in Jacksonville.
As expected, Conley is going undrafted. Just like Chark, Cole, and Lee, you will want to watch the OTAs and training camp reports to see if anything is brewing. Although it is only OTAs, the duo has already connected on a deep ball early.
— Tad Dickman (@TDickman89) May 21, 2019
The Tight Ends
The tight end position was pretty uninspiring in Duval County until the Jags selected Josh Oliver with the 69th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Geoff Swaim was signed on March 15th but he only has 35 career receptions and just one career touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins left for the New England Patriots on April 10th. This would seem to leave Oliver as the tight end to focus on for fantasy purposes.
It is widely known that tight ends struggle in their rookie seasons. A lot of times this has to do with opportunity. Oliver should be able to see the field early and often. Though the San Jose State grad struggles a bit with run blocking but is capable of running a full route tree. The comp for him at the combine was Vance McDonald. Foles also has a tendency to lean on his tight ends and referenced by this target by position chart courtesy of FFS.
John DeFilippo has a history with his tight ends as well. In his two prior years as an offensive coordinator, his tight ends have had finishes of TE4 and TE7. These tight ends were Gary Barnridge with the Cleveland Browns in 2015 and Kyle Rudolph with the Vikings last season. In 2015, Barnridge saw a whopping 122 targets. It is clear that DeFilippo likes to use his tight ends. It is no coincidence that the Jags drafted one early this past April.
Oliver has no redraft or dynasty ADP data at this point but should be on your radar in dynasty leagues. This may be a mistake as Oliver may be the cornerstone of an offense that lacks a true WR1 at this point. As with the wideouts, watch his growth in OTAs and the preseason.
There have been a lot of changes in Jacksonville this offseason and a plethora of questions. How Nick Foles does as a full-time starter and how the young, athletic skill position players perform will go a long way to determine their fantasy value. There is value to be had with Leonard Fournette and even the receivers and tight ends. The tea leaves just need to be read during the offseason and training camp to see who may emerge as a viable fantasy play for 2019.