Fantasy Stud — Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
I don’t really think there’s any question about this one. Jones-Drew has been a consistent workhorse for the Jaguars his entire career, but he will go under-drafted in almost every league this year because he only played in six games last year, and because the Jaguars’ roster is so bad. Still, there are some things that will shy people away from Jones-Drew, such as the Jags’ inability to pass the ball (which does hurt him, in the long run), as well as the fact that he hasn’t had double digit touchdowns in four years.
Still, the fact remains that Jones-Drew is a big time back with the ability to get 1,500 yards annually, and if he’s healthy again this year, he should be a solid bottom end RB1, and easily a top end RB2. Jones-Drew played in only six games last year thanks to a Lisfranc injury, but he says he is now “feeling great”. The Jaguars will run their offense through MJD if he is healthy, and even in a contract year on a bad team, I think Jones-Drew is out to prove that he is healthy and he should be able to bounce back from a disastrous 2012 campaign.
Fantasy Risk — Cecil Shorts III, WR
I really like Cecil Shorts III, but I’m very worried about the Jags’ quarterback play. Shorts was able to have a very nice 2012 season and proved he can be an all-around solid receiver, catching 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. After starting off the season pretty slow, Shorts exploded from week eight on with four 100+ yard receiving games and four of his seven touchdowns.
Shorts doesn’t blow anyone away with size, but the thing that he really has going for him is the fact that Justin Blackmon could emerge this year as a legit #2 target. That could continue to leave Shorts in one-on-one situations, but a lot of his development is going to hinge on the consistency of the Jaguars’ quarterbacks.
For me, I think Shorts is a solid risk in the later rounds thanks to his progression last season, but I would be really cautious taking any Jags receiver, even after the year he had.
Fantasy Sleeper — Justin Blackmon, WR
Blackmon is suspended to start the season, but there’s no doubt he has star potential. He only had one game over 100 yards last year, and it was a doozy. The rookie had seven catches for 236 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans, showing off some of the big play ability he looked like he had coming out of Oklahoma State.
Blackmon needs to not be a distraction off the field in order to produce this year, but he will be a bargain basement player on draft day and he should see a significant amount of targets when he returns to the lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still catches near 60 passes, even with his suspension to start the season.
The troubled but talented Blackmon has a chance to be a solid option for your team down the stretch for the young Jaguars, who will desperately need the boost in their passing game.
Rookie to Watch — Denard Robinson, OW
It’s pretty cool to be able to officially list Denard Robinson as an OW or “offensive weapon”, and he could ultimately become a really solid fantasy FLEX option depending on how well he responds to this role early in the season. It is still up in the air whether or not the Jaguars will use Robinson on returns, but he’s currently listed as the third RB on the depth chart behind Justin Forsett, and to be honest with you I think he has a really good chance of having the 2nd shot at carries after Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars can also use Robinson out of the Wildcat.
Don’t expect big fantasy numbers from him right away, but keep tabs on Robinson, especially if he wins PR/KR duties and you’re in a league that tracks return yardage.