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2011 Fantasy outlooks: Jacksonville Jaguars

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Jaguars had major holes on defense last season. They allowed 121.6 rush yards per game and a whopping 19 rushing touchdowns. Their pass defense was worse, yielding 28 scores through the air and 250.2 yards per game. Their own passing game, ranked 27th, was hobbled by a declining performance by their primary wideout.

So with all of these issues staring the franchise in the face, how did they spend their top two draft picks in April? By pairing them and trading up in the draft to select a quarterback.

Mizzou's Blaine Gabbert was picked 10th overall, turning up the speculation that incumbent starter David Garrard's days in Jacksonville are numbered. Gabbert, who has a Garrard-like game (for better and for worse), is expected to spend the first part of the season watching from the sidelines. If Jacksonville falls out of playoff contention, Gabbert will get his shot since he is the future there. If Garrard can somehow lead this team to a shot at the postseason, though, he'll keep Gabbert on clipboard duty.

How the rest of the team will perform given that Jacksonville failed to add an impact player at a need position in the draft is a completely different quandary. They added a receiver in Cecil Shorts and the defense picked up a talented youngster in safety Chris Prosinski, but otherwise the unit is coming back the way it left the field last season. Given the numbers it produced, that can't be good.

Late-round flier ... Marcedes Lewis, TE

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value
Quarterbacks
David Garrard
Running Backs
Maurice Jones-Drew
Rashad Jennings
Deji Karim
Wide Receivers
Mike Thomas
Mike Sims-Walker
Jason Hill
Tight Ends
Marcedes Lewis
Kickers/Defense
Josh Scobee
Jaguars DST

Anyone who tells you that Lewis will falter this season has no idea what they're talking about. Last year Lewis finished 10th among tight ends in targets yet still managed to tie for the lead in touchdowns with 10. He scored every 5.8 receptions. He finished fourth among tight ends in Fantasy points. And he's on a team that did absolutely nothing to improve its passing game. How in the world can anyone say Lewis won't be involved or not given a shot to be productive. Best of all, he's in a contract year (again) and will play for the big bucks. And, no one's drafting him before Round 10. He's a terrific value choice for owners who pass on the elite tight ends.

Sleeper ... Rashad Jennings, RB

Maurice Jones-Drew's knee surgery and subsequent rehab has been pretty well documented. The Fantasy stalwart should be just fine for the start of the season, but concerns about how much work he takes on along with how defenses handle him should scare Fantasy owners. Remember, Jacksonville did nothing to improve its receiving corps, so defenses can stack the box against MJD and expect to keep him in check. That will mean more contact and a greater chance of knocking him around. One good way to protect Jones-Drew is to give Jennings a bump in work, something Jacksonville has to consider after he plowed for 459 yards on just 84 carries (5.5 average) with four scores and 223 yards on 26 catches (8.6 avg.). He's got potential, and with a lack of offensive firepower, the Jaguars are going to find ways to use him. Jennings is an absolute must-draft for those owners who land Jones-Drew.

Bust ... David Garrard, QB

It's never a good idea to trust a quarterback on a leash, even as a backup. Garrard isn't promised the starting job but should sweat out the competition from Blaine Gabbert -- but nothing else is promised. Last year saw him deliver 23 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns, which were great, but he didn't deliver many wins for Jacksonville, and that's what matters here. If Garrard and the Jags struggle, he'll hit the bench regardless of how he's playing so that Gabbert can get his feet wet. Furthermore, with so many other quality No. 2 Fantasy quarterbacks out there, there isn't a need to select Garrard on Draft Day. The upside isn't there anymore and the playing time will be next to go. It also doesn't help that he's coming off of finger surgery on his right hand.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
TEN @NYJ @CAR NO CIN @PIT BAL @HOU bye @IND @CLE HOU SD TB @ATL @TEN IND

The Jaguars have the Jets in New York in Week 2, back-to-back games against the Steelers and Ravens in Weeks 6 and 7 and a short-week game at Atlanta in Week 15. Other than that, it's not all that bad for Jacksonville as they have some opponents they can hang with (including their divisional rivals) and a three-game homestand. If you don't end up with Maurice Jones-Drew on your Fantasy team and he struggles early on this season, try to buy low on him before his first matchup at Houston in Week 8, because he should tear it up thereafter based on his schedule.

Training camp topics

2010 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Maurice Jones-Drew 334
Rashad Jennings 110
Mike Thomas 78
Marcedes Lewis 58

That quarterback battle will be the talk of town, even if it's not much of a battle. But the more serious topic is who the quarterbacks will throw to. Lewis is a good target, and the running backs will get their share, but with Mike Sims-Walker headed out of town, who's left to catch passes? Mike Thomas is a given, and he might do well by default, and Jason Hill has some promise, but really someone needs to step up. We'll see who does the best in camp.

And expect Jones-Drew to miss some days in camp as the team rests him. That's a given considering that he's coming off of knee surgery and is sure to be leaned on again in 2011. If he goes down, Jacksonville's offense is in trouble -- but you probably figured that already.

The defense is already in trouble. Last year's addition of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu didn't help much in their run defense and the pass defense is thin. Expect Jacksonville to be aggressive in the free-agent market, namely in players who get released. It's the most cost-efficient way to improve the unit.

Injury update

Maurice Jones-Drew (knee; probable for the start of training camp) ... David Garrard (finger; probable for the start of training camp) ... Aaron Kampman (knee; questionable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Dolphins' Lamar Miller surpasses 1,000 rushing yards in loss
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) Dolphins running back Lamar Miller surpassed 1,000 rushing yards during the Dolphins’ 37-24 loss to the Jets Sunday.

Miller came into the game needing 79 yards to reach 1,000 yards and surpassed it on a 97-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The run was the longest touchdown run in Dolphins’ history. Miller finished the game with a season-high 178 rushing yards on 19 carries. He was also targeted twice in the passing game, but failed to record a catch.

By surpassing 1,000 rushing yards, Miller became the first running back to surpass 1,000 rushing yards for the Dolphins since Reggie Bush in 2011. Miller accomplished the feat desite never receiving more than 19 carries in any game this season.


Philip Rivers throws two interceptions in season-ending loss to Chiefs
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers went 20 for 34 for 291 yards and two interceptions in San Diego's 19-7 loss to the Chiefs.

With San Diego down 16-7 near the end of the first half, Rivers tried to connect with wide receiver Eddie Royal, but was picked off by Kurt Coleman. 

His last interceptions came in the final seconds with the Chargers trying to add a late touchdown. 

Rivers finishes the year over 4,000 passing yards for the sixth time in his career.


Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (leg) makes late injury exit in Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Jaguars wide receivers Marqise Lee left Sunday's season finale late with a leg injury. He sustained the injury on the final offensive drive of the game and never returned. He was held in check despite receiving eight targets from Blake Bortles. The rookie finished with just two catches for 8 yards.

Lee endured an inconsistent rookie campaign. In 13 games, he came down with 37 receptions for 422 yards and one score.


Eli Manning posts sixth career 400-yard game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Giants quarterback Eli Manning completed 28 of 53 throws for 429 yards and a touchdown with an interception Week 17 against the Eagles, his sixth career 400-yard passing game. Manning finished the season with 12 touchowns and three picks in his last six games as he clicked with dominant rookie receiver Odell Beckham.

Manning found Beckham for a 63-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Beckham's 12th score in 12 games. Manning seemed rejuvenated by the rookie and could have a healthy Victor Cruz joining Beckham, Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell next season.

Manning is signed for one more year at $17 million. 


Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis misses 53-yard FG in loss
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:17 pm ET) Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis continued to struggle with long-distance field goals when he missed a 53-yard field goal during a 37-24 loss to the Jets Sunday.

Sturgis was able to make a 37-yard field goal attempt and made all three of his extra point attempts.


Jags' Jordan Todman scores second TD; Toby Gerhart does little
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Jaguars running back Jordan Todman shared the load with Toby Gerhart and scored his second touchdown of the season in Week 17 against Houston.

Todman came down with a 23-yard touchdown pass on a trick play. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw a screen pass to Cecil Shorts, who then threw a pass to Todman for the score in the third quarter. He carried the ball seven times for 52 yards and caught five of six targets for 46 yards and a score.

Gerhart took four handoffs for 8 yards and was not targets in the passing game.


Dolphins' Mike Wallace benched in second half of Week 17 loss
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:13 pm ET) Dolphins wide reliever Mike Wallace did not record a catch during the Dolphins’ 37-24 loss to the Jets Sunday.

Wallace was only targeted once and was on the bench for the entire second half. After the game, Wallace refused to answer any questions, having teammate Brandon Gibson answer for him, reports the NFL Network.


Rams' Greg Robinson questionable to return Week 17
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:08 pm ET) Rams tackle Greg Robinson is questionable to return to Week 17 against the Seahawks.

Robinson is dealing with a toe injury. Robinson replaced lineman Jake Long in the team's starting lineup earlier in the season, and has started the past 11 games. 


Dan Herron the clear No. 1 in Colts' backfield
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:08 pm ET) Colts running back Dan Herron ran 10 times for 35 yards and caught three passes for 31 yards Week 17 against the Titans, and he didn't play in the second half as starters rested. Trent Richardson rushed six times for 11 yards and had a 9-yard catch.

No. 3 running back Zurlon Tipton added 21 yards on nine carries and caught both his targets for 45 yards.

Look for Herron to keep dominating backfield snaps when Indy plays the Bengals or Steelers in the playoffs.


Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill surpasses 4,000 passing yards
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:05 pm ET) Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill capped off his career year when he was able to surpass 4,000 passing yards during the Dolphins’ 37-24 loss to the Jets.

Tannehill threw for 259 yards against the Jets in Week 17 which enabled Tannehill to become first Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino to throw more than 4,000 passing yards in a season. Tannehill completed 23 of his 39 pass attempts and also threw for one touchdown pass. Tannehill connected with Charles Clay for a 23-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

During the game, Tannehill also broke Marino's record for most completions in a season for the Dolphins. He finished the season with 4,045 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.


 
 
 
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