Blake Bortles heads into the 2015 season as the undisputed starting
quarterback but he will have to show more to convince fantasy
owners he can guide them to a championship. The first quarterback
selected in the 2014 draft surpassed a modest 250 yards passing
in only three of his fourteen games played. His success will be
determined by his ability to stay in the pocket and become a better
pure passer first and a scrambler only when the play breaks down.
The team continued to improve the personnel around Bortles in
the off-season adding running back T.J. Yeldon through the draft
and former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas in free agency. The
continued development of a young receiving corps and backfield
under new OC Greg Olsen will need to grow with Bortles for this
offense to sustain any kind of worthwhile fantasy production in
Veteran Chad Henne remains with Jacksonville as the backup quarterback.
With the team already expected to lean more heavily on the ground
game, Henne would not be a viable option if asked to fill in for
Bortles at any point of the season.
Jacksonville is extremely high on their second round rookie from
Alabama. With the front office and coaching staff already on his
side, T.J. Yeldon has the inside track to the majority of carries
for the Jaguars in 2015. New OC Greg Olsen wants to complement
HC Gus Bradley’s strong defense with a quality ground game.
Doing so would take pressure off Blake Bortles and set up play
action passes to its big receivers downfield. If Yeldon’s
advanced blocking skills translate into a starting role, it will
be tough for fantasy owners to pass on a potential three-down
running back in the RBBC era. However, Jacksonville has struggled
mightily to produce a worthy fantasy running back since Maurice
Jones-Drew’s prime years. Adding further risk to Yeldon’s
fantasy star is the bevy of runners behind him on the depth chart
and the bust rate of rookie fantasy backs.
Jacksonville loves what Denard Robinson brings to the table as
a playmaker and change of pace running back. He finally produced
in his second year after health issues caused him to miss most
of his rookie campaign. He toted the rock 135 times and hauled
in another 23 passes last season but probably won’t see
that many touches in 2015. The current plan calls for the former
Michigan quarterback to see a handful of touches each game playing
behind workhorse T.J. Yeldon. However, it wouldn’t be surprising
to see Robinson make it tough on the coaches with a strong preseason
given his strong work ethic. Consequently, bargain hunters in
deeper formats will want to keep an eye on this situation throughout
Toby Gerhart failed to deliver any kind of impact after being
one of the main additions to the team a year ago. Suffering a
foot injury in Week 1 to go along with mediocre blocking, he wasn’t
even a reliable option in short yardage situations. He’ll be a
depth piece heading into 2015 along with Storm Johnson who also
failed to produce when given the opportunity. Jacksonville snagged
former Raven Bernard Pierce off the waiver wire and added rookie
free agent Corey Grant from Auburn during the off season. It seems
Pierce has gone from a promising backup to journeyman within one
calendar year. All of these guys should be motivated and the added
competition will likely result in one of them taking a firm grip
on the primary backup job.
The Jaguars entered 2014 with a question mark at the receiver
position. Nagging injuries prior to and during the season delayed
the development of promising youngsters like Allen Robinson. When
healthy, Robinson showed fans and fantasy owners alike a glimpse
of something special brewing in Jacksonville. Once Blake Bortles
was inserted under center, Robinson averaged nine targets per
game until his season was cut short with a foot injury. The injury
appears to be behind him as he has been involved in camps early
this off-season working with Blake Bortles and training with Larry
Fitzgerald. The Robinson hype is growing in both NFL and fantasy
circles but how much can he truly breakout? The Jaguars’
offense and presence of Julius Thomas is more likely to prevent
him from breaking into the top-25 of fantasy wideouts. That being
said, he is among the more promising WR3/4 choices once the big
names are off the board. The hype and energy surrounding Robinson
is akin to that of DeAndre Hopkins a year ago. Although they are
not the same type of player, Robinson enters 2015 as a potential
The Jaguars’ Marqise Lee has immense talent as a large
target with great leaping, catching and body control ability.
However, he is far from a polished receiver. More often than not,
Blake Bortles was simply throwing the ball in Lee’s general
vicinity rather than hitting him in stride to make a play. Inconsistency
will once again be the largest fantasy hurdle for anyone investing
in the former Trojan on draft day. He did show improved performances
with an increased workload after Allen Robinson went down late
in the year. A knee injury has kept him out of OTAs early this
preseason and further time away from the field will only allow
other receivers to pass him on the depth chart.
Whether it was playing from behind, injuries or a combination
of the two Allen Hurns ended up being one of the few consistently
good players in Jacksonville’s passing game during the 2014 campaign.
He posted six touchdowns after being an undrafted free agent.
Finding his home in the slot, Hurns may be the one player in the
passing game to see his production slip the most this year. Added
competition from TE Julius Thomas, potentially healthier years
from others in the offense would result in a sharp decline in
Hurns’ targets. Nonetheless, he remains a name to monitor for
fantasy purposes on a team with plenty of injury prone players
at the position.
Emerging onto the scene in Denver as a true difference maker,
Julius Thomas was signed to be a key weapon in the new Jags attack.
The former Bronco will have an immediate impact in the red zone
but his intangibles are perhaps of greater importance on a team
that hasn’t won too many football games in recent years.
Thomas’ fantasy stock takes a hit moving on from Peyton
Manning who helped Thomas reach double-digit touchdowns in each
of the past two seasons. This prowess near the goal should translate
into optimal red zone targets even with the change of scenery.
At only 26 years of age, Julius also carries some injury risk
having dealt with ankle and knee injuries in the past. As the
focal point of an offense destined to improve, Thomas’ fantasy
stock shouldn’t be discounted too heavily with Bortles as
his quarterback. Longtime Jag Mercedes Lewis and veteran Clay
Harbor do not offer much fantasy appeal but should see time in