2008 is a year the Jacksonville Jaguars would simply like to forget. The team finished with a disappointing 5-11 record after losing in the Divisional Playoffs in 2007 to the New England Patriots. What went wrong? Perhaps a better question is what didn’t go wrong? To begin with, the offensive line was in complete chaos due to various injuries and the misery culminated in the shooting of Richard Collier, who was paralyzed from the waist down as a result. The end result was that the Jags were left unable to do what they really wanted to do and that is slam the rock into the ground with their Mighty Mite Maurice Jones Drew. The offensive line was clearly one of the main reasons the Jags didn’t perform up to expectations. Also, Jacksonville’s WR corps (past and present, I might add) were more concerned with Coca-Cola lines than catching TDs and this also contributed to the teams’ decline. However, in my opinion, things look much better for Jacksonville heading into 2009 with the addition of tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton via last month’s draft. With that said, let’s break down the fantasy prospects for the Jaguars this season.
Jacksonville is engaged to quarterback David Garrard and appears to be returning the favor. I recently saw an interview with Garrard and I couldn’t believe it. He has lost over 30 pounds and looks outstanding. During the interview he mentioned that he is ready to take his career to the next level and become a team leader. This is good news for Jaguar fans as I really think Garrard can be the answer for this team if they protect him and give him some weapons. Not much just a little bit because last year he didn’t have any. However, this article is from a fantasy perspective and in terms of a fantasy QB Garrard is nothing but a good No. 2 QB. The Jags have never been a passing team and the Britton and Monroe pick tells me that the team isn’t looking to become one any time soon. This is clearly the Jones-Drew team and the offense is building around it in a big way. Garrard is simply a game manager who will hand the ball over to MJD constantly. On draft day this summer, treat it like one and look for other options when choosing your starting QB for the season. Take a flyer on Garrard as a backup starting in round 12, but nothing more than that.
I am a huge fan of MJD and this year with the release of Fred Taylor he is finally the man from Jacksonville. Jones-Drew has been a TD machine since coming to the NFL in 2006, racking up a total of 38 TDs during that span. Historically, MJD’s yardage has been down, but that can be directly attributed to Taylor’s presence. Head coach Jack Del Rio has publicly stated that the reason the team released Taylor was to get Jones-Drew on the field more often. Don’t let Greg Jones or rookie Rashad Jennings scare you in the least. This is Jones-Drew’s team and I’m expecting a career year from him this season with about 1,200-1,400 yards and 10-15 total TDs. Treat him like a Top 5 overall pick in all draft formats this summer. If you’re lucky enough to get MJD in the first round, be sure to handcuff him to Jennings later in the draft to make sure.
This will prove to be a short paragraph since we’re talking about the Jags getting bodies in terms of fantasy potential. Gone are Cocaine Cowboys Matt Jones and Reggie Williams (don’t forget Jimmy Smith either), as well as Jerry Porter arrested and in his place came Torry Holt and a bunch of rookies. Although Holt is a marked improvement over previous wild cards, he has missed a step and also realizes that the last time Holt posted a 100-yard receiving game outside was the first week of the 2005 season. Where do the Jags play? Outdoor. Holt will clearly be the No. 1 option in Jacksonville, but what does that mean when half, if not more, of the offense will run through Jones-Drew? Initially, I’m treating Holt as a No. 3 WR or possibly a Flex player worth picking in a late round, but someone who recognizes Holt’s name will probably pick him early without doing any research or legwork. Well, I’m doing the research for you, so I say DON’T LET THAT PERSON BE YOU! As for all the other Jags WRs, it’s really simple: Troy Williamson, Dennis Northcut and none of the rookies are recruitable right now. Plus, though, the improved TE Marcedes Lewis represents another Jaguar who doesn’t deserve a pick on draft day in August.
Historically, one of the best fantasy choices when referring to the Jags has been their summer time slot. For years, the medium had been anchored by the greats John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Well, Stroud’s gone to Buffalo and Henderson isn’t getting any younger and overall the Jags’ defense has regressed a bit from its early 2000s heyday. They’re still not a bad unit and the team will try to get a lot more out of former Gator Derrick Harvey, whom the team selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft. In addition, the team’s improved offensive line will go a long way toward achieving a ball-control offense and, therefore, Therefore, it will allow the defense a lot of time to rest. I see the Jags DST as a number 1 low-end fantasy unit. Josh Scobee is an accurate, strong-legged kicker and is also a viable No. 1 fantasy option.
In short, look for the Jaguars to bounce back as a team and make a strong playoff run. This execution will be thanks in large part to a much improved OL that will pave the way for MJD execution and reception. Other than Jones-Drew, and maybe Holt, don’t expect much from the Jags’ position players this year. Next up: The Indianapolis Colts.