Duval is back on the map after an exciting offensive explosion in 2015 and an off-season of building their defense and suring up their running game. The Jaguars are looking for their first winning season and playoff birth since 2007 with key free agent additions of: Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Prince Amukamara and Chris Ivory. The Jags also doubled-down in the NFL draft and selected arguably the two best defensive players in the entire draft in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack and got a 4th round steal in Sheldon Day. If the Jaguars’ fan base wasn’t excited before they now have to be ecstatic with all the defensive talent that was brought in throughout the off-season. Oh yea, did I forget to mention that last year’s 3rd overall pick and talented edge rusher Dante Fowler is back after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. The defense will try and match the output the offense produced in 2015 but can the offense match last year’s outburst of fantasy goodness?
QB Blake Bortles
Let’s start with the signal caller Blake Bortles as he has become one of the most talked about players in fantasy circles after throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. The question now becomes can he duplicate that performance and be your starting quarterback for your fantasy team. Although his stats suggest Top 5 quarterback I believe the Jags will try to focus on running the ball more in 2016 with the two headed backfield of Ivory and T.J. Yeldon in an effort to win more football games. Therefore, the 606 passing attempts he attempted which often times he threw playing from behind is not attainable in this new balanced approach. If we all believe the Jaguars will be a better NFL team in 2016 then passing the ball at a 68% (offensive plays) clip will not be efficient. But at the same time Bortles can still be a low end QB1 for your fantasy team with less attempts which should lead to less interceptions and make him a more efficient passer. The weapons surrounding Bortles are top notch with the “Allen Boys”, Julius Thomas, and sleeper alert Rashad Greene. If you rather take a wait and see approach at the QB position while drafting your WRs and RBs, Bortles can be a nice grab for you in the mid rounds.
WR Allen Robinson/Allen Hurns
The aforementioned “Allen Boys” took different paths to NFL success but together they make up the best young dynamic duo threat in the entire league. They both had 1000+ yard campaigns in 2015 with Robinson accomplishing 1400 yards and they both scored double digit TDs in 2015 with Hurns scoring in 7 straight games. Robinson is a true number 1 receiver with an excellent size/speed combination who can go up and snag passes at the highest point and can rack up yards after the catch with excellent elusiveness. His league high 14 TDs last season should come down in 2016 but I still expect double digit TDs and I still expect him to put up huge numbers even if the Jags offense is more balanced. If he is sitting there in Round 2 of your fantasy draft select him and watch as he evolves into a household name and top receiver for years to come. The forgotten “Allen” is Hurns. Undrafted out of the University of Miami and came out of nowhere to most. Ten touchdowns will be hard to replicate as the entire Jaguars passing offense will have some regression but Hurns is a solid WR3 for your fantasy team.
TE Julius Thomas
Things didn’t go quiet as planned for Julius Thomas in his first year in Jacksonville. After back-to-back 12 touchdown seasons in Denver with Peyton Manning as his signal caller, Thomas bolted to Duval for greener pastures receiving a $46 million contract. In his first game as Jaguar, Thomas suffered a fractured hand in the preseason. After missing the first month of the season Thomas returned in Week 5 and never re-claimed the dominance he showcased in Denver. Fast forward to 2016 and the question is now can he be counted on as your TE1? I am a firm believer in Thomas’ talent and also believe he will be a quality TE1 in fantasy this season. Playing for a Jaguars offense who blew it up offensively and having an entire off-season to develop a rapport with Blake Bortles, the sky is the limit for the touchdown making tight end. Thomas will be a great bargain pick at his 8th round average draft position.
Others of note:
- RB Chris Ivory
- RB T.J. Yeldon