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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Jacksonville Jaguars

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Let's face it, the Jaguars offense has not exactly been fun to watch in recent seasons.

Most people would rather stand in line at the DMV or change a dirty diaper then watch them try to move the football. My friend who covers the Jaguars called their offense "pathetic."

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Aside from Maurice Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing last year, no skill player had more than 460 total yards. And Blaine Gabbert was one of two quarterbacks (Sam Bradford) to attempt at least 350 passes and not reach 2,300 passing yards. Calling the Jaguars offense pathetic might be offensive to anything pathetic.

But this year things should improve. The Jaguars made some exciting additions by signing Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans and drafting Justin Blackmon, who was considered the best receiver coming out of college. Marcedes Lewis should also rebound from his poor 2011 campaign when he saw a decrease in 10 touchdowns from the year before, and Jones-Drew remains a workhorse.

The key for the Jaguars will be Gabbert. If he can hold off Chad Henne as expected for the starting job, he should have the chance for a breakout year. He clearly was overwhelmed as a rookie in 2011 with 2,214 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with just 51 percent completions.

But the Jaguars appear to have plenty of faith in him and have given him weapons to succeed. No one is drafting Gabbert as even a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, but he could turn into a waiver wire addition if he starts off the season playing well.

We're cautiously optimistic about the Jaguars this year, and hopefully new head coach Mike Mularkey can turn things around on offense. Jones-Drew will once again carry the load, but maybe Gabbert and company can make this offense more dynamic. If that happens, some additional Fantasy options just might emerge in Jacksonville, which would be a good thing for all owners.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Blaine Gabbert ND
Chad Henne ND
Running Backs
Maurice Jones-Drew 1
Rashad Jennings ND
Wide Receivers
Justin Blackmon 7
Laurent Robinson 9
Lee Evans ND
Mike Thomas ND
Tight Ends
Marcedes Lewis ND
Kickers/Defense
Josh Scobee ND
Jaguars DST ND
ND - not expected to get drafted

Bust ... Laurent Robinson, wide receiver
Robinson capitalized on his career year in 2011 with a big payday this offseason in Jacksonville. He had career highs in receptions (54), receiving yards (858) and touchdowns (11) in 2011, but that was playing with Tony Romo and the Cowboys. In Jacksonville, Robinson will have to make do with Gabbert, who will have plenty of growing pains. As such, his stats should suffer. Prior to his one-year stint in Dallas, Robinson combined for 89 catches for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns in four injury-plagued years with Atlanta and St. Louis. Don't be the one to reach for Robinson as a starting option, and he should only be drafted with a late-round pick. He is going to help improve the Jacksonville offense, but his production is definitely going to be a letdown after what he accomplished last year.

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Impact rookie ... Justin Blackmon, wide receiver
The Jaguars drafted Blackmon in the first round of the NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State, and he is expected to make an impact right away for Fantasy owners barring a suspension for a DUI arrest in early June. Jacksonville needs playmakers, and he has the makings of a star. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Blackmon scored 38 touchdowns in his final 25 games and caught 244 passes for 3,378 yards in his collegiate career (35 games). Catching passes from Brandon Weeden, Blackmon set an NCAA record with at least 100 yards and one touchdown in all 12 games in 2010 and won two consecutive Fred Biletnikoff awards as the top college receiver. If Gabbert can consistently get Blackmon the ball then his Fantasy value will rise, but that's the one thing that could hold Blackmon back. We're not expecting an A.J. Green-type rookie year for Blackmon, but he could end up as a solid No. 3 Fantasy receiver. He is worth drafting with a mid-round pick.

Bounce-back candidate ... Marcedes Lewis, tight end
I had Lewis as a bust candidate last year, but I never expected such a steep dropoff in his production from 2010. Lewis went from 58 catches to 39, 700 yards to 460 and 10 touchdowns to zero. You can blame the switch in quarterbacks from David Garrard to Gabbert or that he signed a big contract for his struggles, but he said a family issue ruined his concentration. We hope all of that is behind him. He may never be a Top 5 Fantasy tight end again like he was in 2010, but he could return as a Top 12 option. All he has to do is find the end zone again, and we could see Lewis scoring around five touchdowns. He is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues, but Lewis could be added off the waiver wire as a bye-week replacement. If he plays well enough to become a starting option again then great, but there's little risk and plenty of reward in looking at Lewis this season, especially in deeper leagues.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@MIN HOU @IND CIN CHI bye @OAK @GB DET IND @HOU TEN @BUF NYJ @MIA NE @TEN
Jones-Drew posted career highs last year with a tougher schedule than this. The only fearsome run defenses on the schedule are the Texans twice, the Bears and the Jets, all of which are spread out throughout the season. Opposing pass defenses are fairly weak, too, so if there's anything Mularkey can do to get Gabbert going, he'll have a chance to make some noise. One more big issue for Jacksonville is keeping its opponents from putting up a lot of points -- it might be a lot to ask this defense to do as well as it did last season against these offenses.

Training camp topics

Jones-Drew has stayed away from Jacksonville during offseason workouts because he wants a new contract. He was the NFL's leading rusher in 2011 with 1,606 yards, and he also added nine touchdowns and 43 catches for 374 yards. But with Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster getting significant raises since last year, Jones-Drew wants a new deal. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this year and has two years remaining on his current contract.

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Maurice Jones-Drew 343 carries, 43 catches
Deji Karim 63 carries, 14 catches
Mike Thomas 44 catches, 3 carries
Marcedes Lewis 39 catches
Jarrett Dillard 29 catches

We fully expect Jones-Drew to report to training camp on time, but his attendance is worth monitoring. He is a No. 1 Fantasy running back and should be drafted in the first round, most likely in the first six overall picks in the majority of leagues. Only a potential holdout would lower his value.

You should also keep an eye on his backup. Rashad Jennings (knee) was out all of last year, but he should be fine for this season. He is a great handcuff option for Jones-Drew and should be drafted with a late-round pick in deeper leagues. If Jones-Drew misses any time this year then Jennings would have increased Fantasy value, and at some point Jones-Drew, 27, is going to slow down. He's had more than 330 total touches in each of the past three seasons, and wear-and-tear could become an issue. Just put Jennings on your watch list because he might end up as a key waiver wire addition during the year.

Injury update

Henne (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Jennings (knee; questionable for the start of training camp) ... Zach Miller (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Paul Posluszny (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) … Rashean Mathis (knee; probable for the start of training camp)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:02 pm ET) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:55 pm ET) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


 
 
 
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