Fantasy Power Rankings No. 28 — Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the offseason reinventing their offense by snagging running back Toby Gerhart in free agency and spending the third overall pick in the NFL Draft on quarterback Blake Bortles, but the team is still near the bottom in the 2014 fantasy power rankings.
The Jaguars offer fantasy owners 69.5 percent of the value as the average NFL team, and just 39.4 percent of the value as the NFL’s best team. Jacksonville checks in at No. 28 on the 2014 fantasy power rankings.
The Gerhart hype train picked up speed as spring turned to summer, and his ADP (average draft position) is now 4.03, up from 5.09 in late May, per FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Opinions on Gerhart vary, but there’s no denying that he’s in line for a heavy workload. The ex-Viking could carry the ball over 250 times this season, something only 11 running backs did last year.
The main reason Gerhart is an appealing fantasy option heading into 2014 is because he will have little competition for snaps. Behind Gerhart are the likes of Jordan Todman, Storm Johnson and Denard Robinson (don’t feel bad if you had to Google some of those names). Gerhart is a three-down back by default. But that’s not to knock him — the Jaguars wouldn’t have put him in the position he’s in if they didn’t believe he was capable of shouldering the load.
The Jaguars also have some fantasy-relevant players at wide receiver, even with Justin Blackmon on the sidelines. Cecil Shorts had 117 targets last season in 13 games. There were 24 other wide receivers that finished with more targets, but Shorts had more than some big names, including Wes Welker (also in 13 games), Michael Floyd and Keenan Allen.
Shorts’ value is, as with all wide receivers, tied to the quarterback. Chad Henne is in line to start for the Jaguars in 2014, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the aforementioned Bortles thrust into the role at some point, especially if the Jaguars get off to a rocky start. An unstable quarterback situation involving a rookie would be unfortunate for Shorts, but he was dealt a similar hand last season and played it well.
Rookie wideouts Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson were both drafted in the second round of this year’s draft and will have prominent roles in Jacksonville’s offense because of Blackmon’s suspension. Lee in particular could see a healthy amount of targets as the team’s No. 2 receiver. Jacksonville should be down in a lot of games again this season, which means plenty of passing in the second half.
At 6’06”, tight end Marcedes Lewis gives Jacksonville a big target in the redzone. Lewis’ fantasy value is largely tied to his touchdown production, meaning he’s like to put up respectable fantasy numbers irregularly. (Though he did prove to be quite consistent down the stretch last season, catching a touchdown in four straight games from Weeks 13-16.)
The Jaguars have the 22nd most valuable backfield and group of wide receivers, but still check in at No. 28 overall because they offer little to no value at the tight end and quarterback positions.
No. 29 — St. Louis Rams
No. 30 — Carolina Panthers
No. 31 — New York Jets
No. 32 — Oakland Raiders