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2023 Player Outlooks: Jacksonville Jaguars

By Hunter De Siver | 6/19/23 |

Trevor Lawrence

QB Trevor Lawrence
(2022 QB Rank – No. 7, 21.5 FPts/G)

Trevor Lawrence’s rookie season in 2021 was an extreme disappointment. The No. 1 overall pick finished with more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12) and was headed down the bust trail. Under the disaster that was Urban Meyer, the Jaguars tied for the least amount of wins (3) and earned the first overall pick in 2022.

For the first 12 games, Jacksonville’s 4-8 record indicated their misery would very likely continue, but Lawrence stepped up in the final five games allowing Jacksonville to clinch the AFC South at 9-8. During that stretch, Lawrence threw for over 250 yards per game, eight touchdowns and was near the top of the league in quarterback rating (101.3). The man who was once treading into bust territory finished the regular season seventh in passes completed (387), eighth in passing touchdowns (25), ninth in passing yards (4,113), passer rating (95.2) and had the seventh-most fantasy points among all quarterbacks (ESPN scoring). For those that like stacking, the Jaguars are an excellent option as Lawrence threw over 750 receiving yards to three different pass catchers.

At the start of 2023, Lawrence is a QB1 in any fantasy league but probably towards the lower end of the top-10 quarterbacks. He’s got some untapped rushing ability but it appears head coach Doug Pederson isn’t going to let him get above the 400-yard mark. However, his weapons could make him shine bright by the midpoint of the season and the addition of Calvin Ridley should be a benefit to Lawrence’s numbers.

RB Travis Etienne
(2022 RB Rank – No. 16, 10.2 FPts/G)

Travis Etienne was considered one of the most anticipated rookie running backs of the 2021 NFL Draft, but missed his entire season due to a Lisfranc injury just a couple weeks before the regular season kicked off. James Robinson took over primary running back duties, but struggled, leaving the starting spot wide open when Etienne returned in 2022.

The duo split carries early on in the season, but Robinson was traded to the Jets midway through the year leaving the starting job to Etienne. He was relatively inconsistent but had a couple stretches throughout the season where he was a top-10 running back. However, there were several weeks where he finished with under 60 rushing yards and wasn’t as big of a receiving threat as we thought heading into the season.

Etienne finished 2022 with 1,125 yards on just 220 carries (5.1 yards per carry), but only found the end zone five times in 17 games (12 starts). The running back with the 16th-most points among his peers in 2022 finds himself as a much-lower end RB1 in fantasy leagues in 2023. However, the Jaguars are one of the few teams yet to establish a solid No.2 option, meaning Etienne will likely be on the field more than most starting running backs. Former Brown, D'Ernest Johnson and rookie Tank Bigsby are next up on the depth chart and could eat into Etienne’s workload if they impress during camp.

WR Calvin Ridley
(Suspended in 2022)

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley missed all of last season due to violating the league’s gambling policy while with the Falcons in 2021. The Jaguars picked him up because of his success in his first three seasons, averaging over 1,000 receiving yards and scoring 26 touchdowns from 2018-20.

The Alabama product has proven that he is proficient at route-running, catching and finding the endzone—three things that fantasy football managers hunger for. In the past couple seasons (not including 2022), he’s been considered a WR1 in fantasy football, but the plethora of weapons Trevor Lawrence has and the QB’s willingness to spread the ball makes Ridley more of a WR2. However, Ridley has the talent to break past his fellow receivers and early ADP indicates the fantasy community seems comfortable in this assessment as he’s going ahead of Christian Kirk as we speak here in mid-June.

WR Christian Kirk
(2022 WR Rank – No. 11, 9.4 FPts/G)

It's safe to say that Christian Kirk’s contract with the Jaguars in 2022 raised the eyebrows of the majority of the NFL community. Someone who was never really a WR1 received a contract that included a whopping $37 million guaranteed. However, Kirk proved his worth as he finished with career highs in receptions (84), yards (1,108), touchdowns (8) and was 11th among wide receivers in fantasy points.

With Calvin Ridley joining the mix, it’s currently uncertain who will be the Jaguars’ most-targeted receiver, but if we compare the last few years (instead of each of Ridley and Kirk’s last seasons), the former Falcon has the edge. Kirk does have familiarity with Doug Pederson’s system which could give him an advantage. As we get into August, I’d expect the two top-30 receivers to be drafted in the mid-to-low WR2 range as fantasy owners weigh Kirk’s career year in 2022 and Trevor’s love for spreading the ball around.

WR Zay Jones
(2022 WR Rank – No. 32, 7.1 FPts/G)

Speaking of spreading the ball around, Zay Jones had nearly the same amount of targets and receptions (82—career-high) as Kirk in 2022, but fewer yards (823—career-high) and touchdowns (5), finishing 32nd among wide receivers in fantasy points. Jones has proven he could find openings and get Lawrence’s attention, but the addition of Ridley should (and very likely will) decrease his numbers in 2023.

With that being said, Jones is a bench player in most 12-team fantasy leagues, but could be a very solid option for bye weeks or if an injury occurs to Ridley or Kirk. However, for 14-man leagues, the WR3 is good enough to start in the flex slot and is one of a select WR3’s to even be mentioned as a solid bench consideration.

TE Evan Engram
(2022 TE Rank - No.8, 10.3 FPts/G)

For his first five seasons in the NFL (all with the Giants), Evan Engram was known as an inconsistent tight end who had dropped the ball far too often. In fact, he led all tight ends in drops with 13 during his rookie season and finished second in 2020 with 10 - not the category you want to be leading in. His rookie year would be a high-water mark in New York, finishing 5th among all tight ends in PPR fantasy points, but the Giants chose to let him walk prior to 2022 after many ups and downs the following four seasons.

In 2022, his first season in Jacksonville, Engram corrected his shortcomings. Thanks to a strong final six weeks that included two 100-yard receiving games, he became one of the better tight ends in the league, posting career highs in receptions (73) and yards (766) and once again finished 5th in total fantasy points among tight ends.

There’s a very thin line between great and average tight ends in the NFL, and Engram is that thin line. The Jaguars have plenty of pass-catching weapons, especially with the addition of Calvin Ridley this season, so target share could be a concern as we head into 2023. While he's unlikely to see enough volume to crack the Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews tier, he definitely has the ability to be in the mid-range TE1 tier on a weekly basis due to his explosive playmaking ability and should be among the top 12 taken at the position in most redraft leagues.

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