Aside from one good year where they lost in the AFC Championship, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been very poor over the past decade. James Robinson was a recent spark of excitement from their typical languishing. This poor performance has led to a lack of fantasy-relevant players, with the best options being Blake Bortles for his garbage time fantasy points and Leonard Fournette who provided a few decent years as a fringe RB1. Last year, the Jaguars had a couple of fantasy-relevant players in quarterback Garner Minshew, who was serviceable as a streaming option, D.J. Chark, and UDFA James Robinson who seemingly came out of nowhere and provided a great option for fantasy managers.
While they had a couple of decent fantasy options, the team was very bad and finished the year with a record of 1-15. This year, the Jaguars’ coaching staff has been revamped with Urban Meyer now as its head coach and the Jaguars drafted Clemsons’ Trevor Lawrence with the 1st overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They gave Lawrence some additional help by drafting his college RB and signing underrated WR Marvin Jones in free agency - is this enough to give Lawrence a starting spot on your fantasy roster this season?
Last year, the Jaguars had three starting QBs: Gardiner Minshew (9 games played), Mike Glennon (5 games), and Jake Luton (3 games) and there was never any definitive play by the last two. Glennon and Luton combined to throw for 1,696 yards (212 yards per game), 9 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Minshew played a bit better but was still nothing special, throwing for 2,259 yards (268 yards per game) and threw 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He was somewhat serviceable last year in fantasy as a streamer, but these games had to have been early on in the season when you likely trusted another option more. Minshew only had 3 of his games where he finished north of 20.0 fantasy points, which isn’t great.
This year, the Jaguars have a lot to look forward to at the position as they found their franchise QB. Trevor Lawrence was the most anticipated player to come into the NFL since Andrew Luck was drafted by the Colts in 2012 and his college resume speaks for itself. He has a ton of collegiate accolades including the Heisman Trophy runner-up and being named the ACC Player of the year in 2020. During his final season with Clemson, he threw for over 3,100 yards, 24 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, while adding over 200 yards on the ground and ran in for 8 touchdowns.
Lawrence gets to continue his rapport with running back Travis Etienne who the Jags selected in the 2nd round, and there is a ton of talent at wide receiver to support him in D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones. Lawrence has all of the tools you would want coming out of college into the Pros and has a great team of players at his disposal. With his rushing upside, Lawrence has the potential to finish top-10 at the position since they will be in positive fantasy game scripts since they are not projected to win a ton of games and will be forced to throw a lot.
The lone bright spot for the 1-15 Jaguars last season was James Robinson who was quietly one of the most under-appreciated rookies that emerged last season. Leonard Fournette was released two weeks before the 2020 season which left the door open for Robinson to ball out, and that he did. There were weeks where he had 100% of the teams’ RB carries and he had a ton of volume, which was very valuable for fantasy even though he was on a bad team. He finished the year 5th in rushing yards (1,070) and scampered in for 7 rushing touchdowns. He also added 49 receptions (on 60 targets) and had 3 receiving touchdowns. Things were looking great for Robinson as a workhorse RB heading into the 2021 year and then, in April, the 2021 NFL Draft happened.
With their second pick near the end of the first round, the Jaguars took Lawrence’s college RB, Travis Etienne, 30th overall. There weren’t too many rumblings that the Jags would add a rookie to compete with Robinson but with a new coach in town, they went and got their guy.
Travis Etienne had a great college career at Clemson and during his four-year stint he racked up 4,952 rushing yards, 70 touchdowns, 102 receptions, 1,155 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns. Wow! He can do it all. Etienne is a great receiving back and the Jags plan to use him as a hybrid player - he will be a nightmare to guard as a linebacker or safety.
Looking into the 2021 season it’s tough to say who has the leg up on who and their ADP reflects that. James Robinson’s current ADP is 4.12 and Travis Etienne’s is 5.07. They are the 25th and 27th RBs off the board. In full PPR leagues, the advantage goes to Etienne as we know he is going to have a role in this offense tailored to his receiving ability and we’re unsure just how loyal Urban Meyer will be to James Robinson. One of these RBs will outperform their ADP; it's still unknown which one that is. If I had to choose, again, it would be Etienne since Urban Meyer used high draft capital to get him whereas James Robinson, while he did produce last year, was signed as an undrafted free agent last year.
Last season, there was not one receiver on the Jaguars that stood out from the rest, and the most receiving yards all season by a receiver was D.J. Chark who only had 706 receiving yards on 53 receptions and 5 touchdowns. He was followed by Keelan Cole (55 receptions for 642 yards and 5 touchdowns) and rookie Laviska Shenault (58 receptions for 600 yards and 5 touchdowns). The top three receivers saw an even amount of targets and ended the year with 5 touchdowns - these types of numbers were not worthy of an every-week start on fantasy managers’ squads.
In the offseason, the Jaguars brought in veteran Marvin Jones from Detroit who has achieved back-to-back years of 60+ receptions, 770+ yards, and 9 touchdowns. This was a great addition to the team and he will be a reliable option for Lawrence to target this season.
The Jaguars have a very good set of receivers this year and Trevor Lawrence should hit the ground running because of it. D.J. Chark continues to lead the Jaguars in ADP for pass catchers, being selected in the 7th-round at 7.05 as the WR 30 in PPR leagues. A couple of rounds later you can draft his teammate Laviska Shenault at around the end of the 9th round (9.12) as the 43rd WR off the board, and if you believe in Marvin Jones continuing to dominate as a fantasy asset, you can wait on him in drafts as his current ADP is 13.05 and is the 56th WR off the board.
D.J. Chark failed to separate himself last year from Shenault and Cole and I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him in the 7th round, even for a teams’ presumed WR1 now that there are even more bodies to feed. I would rather wait and take a chance on Laviska Shenault in the 9th/10th round.
Speaking of Shenault, there is a lot of untapped potential as he only started in 12 games last season. He is used all over the field as a gadget player at times but actually makes a difference in games whether he is being asked to run the ball, catch screen passes, or work as a typical receiver. If Urban Meyer can get him scripted targets he could be a steal at his ADP and has a very good chance at improving on his end-of-year TD total. Last season he finished on a high and he will look to continue that into 2021.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Marvin Jones who has been an underappreciated fantasy asset for the past 4-5 years. He’s been a great fantasy player and while he isn’t a complete alpha WR1, he can give you serviceable weeks and is a good “floor” player as a WR3 or Flex play on your team. Now that he is positioned as the WR3 on this team it will be interesting to see if he is the one that Lawrence goes to. If he can demand 7+ targets a game he will be one of the first additions on many waiver wires at the beginning of Week 1 if he doesn’t get drafted.
History says it’s unlikely that a rookie QB will be able to sustain two startable fantasy WRs this year and so a choice will have to be made. For me, it’s going to be either Laviska Shenault - he’s going to be game scripted touches and has a chance to do great things this year.
Last year, Tyler Eifert was Jacksonville’s most productive TE, finishing the year with 36 receptions on 60 targets, 349 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. In the fantasy world, he finished as the TE28 scoring only 5.5 fantasy points per game in full-PPR leagues. He was only owned in 0.6% of leagues. Basically, the Jaguars did not utilize its TEs in the passing game, and it doesn’t look much better for the season ahead.
The buzz this offseason was all about the addition of Tim Tebow, who has made the transition from QB to TE and was able to land a roster spot (for now) with the Jaguars. The listed depth chart at the position for them is now Chris Manhertz, James O’Shaughnessy, Luke Farrell, and Tim Tebow - is there honestly going to be a fantasy-relevant TE from this team? I don’t think so, and none of these TEs are being drafted in any serious draft this year.
While there are no usable TEs this year once again, this should allow fantasy managers to focus on the RBs and WRs who should have a bit more target share than some teams who heavily utilize the TE position in the passing game.
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