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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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