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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
Panthers DST gets steamrolled
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) After opening the season with two strong performances, the Panthers DST got run over Week 3 by the Steelers. Carolina allowed a whopping 264 rushing yards and 454 total yards in the 37-19 loss. Pittsburgh averaged 7.8 yards per carry.

Carolina mustered one sack, by defensive end Mario Addison, and zero turnovers. The Panthers DST will try to bounce back Week 4 at Baltimore.


Graham Gano goes for seven points
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:51 am ET) Panthers kicker Graham Gano converted a pair of 40-yard field goals and a PAT in the Week 3 loss to the Steelers. He'll visit the Ravens in Week 4.

Panthers get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) The Panthers got some minor contributions in their Week 3 loss to the Steelers. Wideout Brenton Bersin made a 29-yard catch, and receiver Jason Avant caught two of six targets for 12 yards.

Greg Olsen finds paydirt
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Panthers tight end Greg Olsen continued his strong start to the season with another touchdown catch Week 3 against the Steelers. Early in the fourth quarter, Olsen caught an out route and turned upfield for a 37-yard touchdown.

He finished with five grabs on seven targets for 69 yards. Olsen has 224 receiving yards and two scores entering Week 4 at Baltimore.


Philly Brown up and down in first start
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:44 am ET) With Carolina hurting at receiver, Panthers rookie Philly Brown got his first start Week 3 and had some strong moments, catching seven passes for 66 yards. But Brown made a huge mistake that virtually killed his team's comeback chances.

Early in the fourth quarter, he fumbled a punt return and the Steelers receovered for a touchdown.

An Onio State product, Brown drew nine targets, second-most on the team. The catches were the first of his career. He'll look to improve Week 4 at Baltimore.


Kelvin Benjamin posts first 100-yard game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:37 am ET) Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin stayed on the fast track to stardom Sunday night with his first 100-yard game. He caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Steelers.

Benjamin made a slew of contested catches, including a 35-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter from Derek Anderson. Benjamin drew a game-high 11 targets and is now averaging nine targets per game.

While he again dropped a couple passes, Benjamin has clearly emerged as Carolina's No. 1 receiver. He has 253 receiving yards and two scores entering Week 4 at Baltimore.


Derek Anderson plays well in relief
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:31 am ET) Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson relieved Cam Newton in the fourth quarter of the Week 3 loss to the Steelers and played well. Anderson completed 5 of 6 throws for 80 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin.

Anderson will go back to the bench for Week 4 at Baltimore.


Steelers DST scores in Week 3 rout
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) The Steelers DST enjoyed itself Sunday night in Carolina, producing three sacks, two turnovers and a touchdown in a 37-19 win.

The biggest play came early in the fourth quarter when the Panthers' Philly Brown fumbled on a punt return and safety Robert Golden recovered in the end zone. It was one of two fumble recoveries for Pittsburgh, which got a sack-fumble from outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Linebacker Arthur Moats and nose tackle Steve McLendon also sacked Cam Newton. Pittsburgh allowed just 42 rushing yards in what was easily its top defensive performance this year.

The Steelers DST has a chance to dominate again Week 4 against the lowly Buccaneers.


Shaun Suisham nails three field goals
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:19 am ET) Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham was perfect on three field-goal attempts Sunday night, hitting from 42, 24 and 45 yards. He added four PATs for a 13-point night.

Suisham plays the Bucs in Week 4.


Steelers get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) A number of Steelers contributed to the Week 3 win in Carolina. Among them, receiver Justin Brown caught two of four passes for 10 yards. Fullback Will Johnson was targeted once without a catch.

 
 
 
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