QB Blaine Gabbert
(2012 QB Rank – #33, 12.5 FPts/G)
Entering his third year in the league after being taken in the first round of the 2011 draft, there are serious doubts as to whether Gabbert will ever emerge as a bona fide starting quarterback in Jacksonville. While the former Missouri signal caller has the athleticism required to succeed in the league, he lacks pocket presence, has displayed poor accuracy, doesn’t step into all of his throws and often makes poor reads. Perhaps new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch’s offense will benefit Gabbert, with Fisch expected to rely on a heavy amount of runs to set play action. The truth of the matter, however, is that the Jaguars offense ran much more smoothly with Chad Henne under center after Gabbert was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in Week 11. At that point in the season, he had thrown just nine touchdowns, and that pretty much tells you all you need to know about his fantasy prospects for 2013.
QB Chad Henne
(2012 QB Rank – #30, 16.1 FPts/G)
In the “life isn’t always fair” category, we present Chad Henne. Entering his third year in the league in 2011, Henne was attempting to solidify his hold on the Dolphins’ starting quarterback position, only to suffer a season ending shoulder injury after three solid outings. After joining the Jaguars in 2012 as Blaine Gabbert’s backup, Henne took over under center in Week 11 and directed the offense much better than Gabbert had, despite the absence of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville’s top offensive player. Henne’s reward? A likely spot on the bench behind Gabbert once again in 2013, at least to open the season.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
(2012 RB Rank – #52,10.3 FPts/G; #52 PPR, 12.7 FPts/G)
For the second consecutive season, Maurice Jones-Drew figures to be one of the most polarizing fantasy running backs in the league. In 2012 a contract holdout clouded his fantasy value, and this season he returns from a Lisfranc fracture that ended his 2012 campaign in Week 7. At just 28 years of age, the fantasy consensus seems to be that MJD is a spent force. He has carried a heavy workload during his first seven years in the league, plays in a dreadful offense, and the team is switching to a zone-based blocking scheme in 2013. On the other hand, he averaged 98.8 total yards per game last season (removing the game in which he was injured) and the Jaguars don’t have a backup capable of challenging him for the starting role. While his return from the Lisfranc injury increases his risk and the Jaguars’ offensive futility limits his upside, he rates as a mid- to lower-tier RB2 in 2013. Monitor his ADP and see if he can be a value add to your fantasy squad.
RB Denard Robinson
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
With running back Maurice Jones-Drew having contract or injury issues in recent years, the Jaguars used an early fifth-round selection on Denard Robinson. The former collegiate quarterback will be converted to a running back in Jacksonville. While Robinson has decent size at 6’0”, 197 pounds and the speed and agility to make defenders miss, expecting him to contribute much as a rookie is a stretch because of his lack of experience at running back. With MJD having piled up the touches over the years, however, Robinson is a solid prospect in dynasty formats. MJD owners should grab him as a handcuff, provided he beats out Justin Forsett for the top backup spot.
RB Justin Forsett
(2012 RB Rank – #63, 4.3 FPts/G; #71 PPR, 4.6 FPts/G)
With Ben Tate suffering through an injury-plagued season in Houston, Forsett stepped up as Arian Foster’s backup and had a surprisingly solid year, rushing for 374 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Signed by the Jaguars in the offseason, Forsett will compete with rookie fifth-round pick Denard Robinson for the main backup role behind Maurice Jones-Drew. While Jacksonville may prefer to hand that role to Robinson so he can gain experience, if MJD were once again lost to injury, it is doubtful the rookie could handle a workhorse role. In fact, given Forsett’s experience in the Jaguars’ new zone-blocking scheme, it won’t be a surprise if he wins the backup job outright during training camp. If that happens, he would be a must-have handcuff for MJD owners.
WR Cecil Shorts
(2012 WR Rank – #22, 10.0 FPts/G; #25 PPR, 13.9 FPts/G)
A fourth-round pick of the Jaguars in the 2011 draft, Shorts was considered a raw prospect coming out of Mount Union. His rookie season proved that speculation correct, as he caught just two of 12 targets for 30 yards and a touchdown. He proved to be a quick study, however, hauling in 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 despite missing two games and not opening the season in the starting lineup. Shorts displayed solid big-play ability, averaging 17.9 yards per reception, and finished second in the league in that category. Entering his third year in the league, there is little reason to suggest that Shorts won’t continue the tremendous growth he has shown since entering the league. This guy is a playmaker, able to haul in deep passes and turn short and intermediate throws into long gains. However, the Jaguars quarterback situation prevents him from being a WR1candidate in 2013. Concussion issues also raise his risk profile, but Shorts should be considered a high-end WR3 with upside. He is also a solid dynasty prospect. And if you’re looking for consistency, Shorts hit double-digit fantasy points in nine of 14 games last season.
WR Justin Blackmon
(2012 WR Rank – #28, 7.4 FPts/G; #29 PPR, 11.4 FPts/G)
Taken fifth overall in the 2012 draft, Blackmon struggled over the first half of his rookie season with just 250 receiving yards and a single touchdown through the first nine games. The 6’1”, 215-pound Oklahoma product caught fire in a Week 11 matchup against the Texans, with 236 receiving yards and a touchdown on his way to averaging 87.9 yards and 0.57 touchdowns per game over the season’s final seven games. That’s the good news. Where do we start with the bad? How about a four-game suspension to open the 2013 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy (his next suspension would cause him to miss 16 games). Or should we go with his offseason groin surgery. Or that he did most of his damage with Chad Henne under center last season, and Henne is expected to open the year behind Blaine Gabbert. Or that he caught just 48.5 percent of his targets. Or that 27.3 percent of his receiving yardage came in one game. And in the “statistics can mislead” category, removing the Texans game, Blackmon averaged 63.2 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game over the season’s final six games (still impressive, mind you). While he has the ability to be a 1000-yard receiver, he needs to show far more maturity in order to consistently approach that level of production. Blackmon rates as a WR4/5 in 2013 because of his suspension.
WR Jordan Shipley
(2012 WR Rank – #107, 4.3 FPts/G; #104 PPR, 7.6 FPts/G)
After a solid rookie year in 2010 with 52 receptions for 600 yards and three touchdowns, Shipley suffered a torn ACL that ended his 2011 season in Week 2. Since then, he has failed to land a meaningful role in Cincinnati or in short stints with the Bucs and Jaguars. He gets another shot in Jacksonville in 2013 on a Jaguars team desperate to find a solid receiving threat behind starters Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. In six games with the team last season, he hauled in 23 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown. Look for Shipley to hold off rookie fourth-round pick Ace Sanders to open the season as the team’s main receiving option out of the slot. Just don’t look for Shipley to become fantasy relevant in 2013.
WR Mohamed Massaquoi
(2012 WR Rank – #117, 2.8 FPts/G; #117 PPR, 4.7 FPts/G)
After four disappointing seasons in Cleveland, Massaquoi, the Browns’ 2009 second-round pick, was signed this past offseason by Jacksonville. While he is a likely starter for the first four games of the season, while Justin Blackmon serves a suspension, there isn’t much evidence that Massaquoi will grab hold of the opportunity. With the Browns, he caught an absolutely dreadful 42.7 percent of his targets (118 out of 276), and it’s not like the Jaguars’ quarterback situation in 2013 is much different than what Massaquoi had to deal with in Cleveland.
WR Ace Sanders
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
The Jaguars used a fourth-round pick to acquire Sanders this offseason and he is expected to challenge Jordan Shipley for playing time as a slot receiver and to contribute as a returner. While Sanders has the ability to make defenders miss, his diminutive size (5’8”, 175 lbs.) could cause the Jaguars to limit his reps in the base offense. He is waiver wire material in redraft leagues and doesn’t offer much upside in dynasty formats.
TE Marcedes Lewis
(2012 WR Rank – #18, 5.2 FPts/G; #18 PPR, 8.7 FPts/G)
After posting a career year in 2010 with 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, Lewis’s reward was a pair of seasons of neglect, as the Jaguars’ previous coaching staff chose to feature their mostly inept wide receivers over their talented tight end. After a dreadful 2011 campaign, Lewis bounced back somewhat in 2012 with 52 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns. If there is hope for Lewis in 2013, it is that new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch plans to utilize him more this season. Unfortunately, the team’s quarterback situation remains as dire as ever, and that limits Lewis’s fantasy potential. Consider him a TE2 with some upside in 2013.