The 5-11 Jacksonville Jaguars finished with the third-worst record in the AFC last season, which tells you what kind of uphill battle they have moving forward. The good news is that they finally have a new quarterback under center this season in Nick Foles, which should give them some hope. Blake Bortles started 12 of the team’s 16 games last season, finishing with an ugly 13:11 touchdown to interception ratio. Bortles signed with the Rams as a free agent, so the Jaguars inked Foles to a four-year deal to be their new starting quarterback. Leonard Fournette also had a season to forget, playing in just eight games while backups T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde filled in for him. The Jaguars upgraded their already solid defense by drafting defensive end Josh Allen with the No. 7 pick, who set a record at Kentucky with his 31.5 sacks. It will be interesting to see what kind of offensive punch Foles can inject into this once stagnant offense and if he can get them to be DFS relevant again.
Key Departures:Blake Bortles, QB; Carlos Hyde, RB; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE; Cody Kessler, QB Donte Moncrief, WR; T.J. Yeldon, RB
Key Acquisitions:Alfred Blue, RB; Chris Conley, WR; Nick Foles, QB; Terrelle Pryor, WR; Geoff Swaim, TE
2019 Fantasy MVP
Leonard Fournette, RB
The fact the Jaguars let backups Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon walk in free agency is a sign to me that they remain committed to Fournette being the guy in Jacksonville. Fournette is expected to play a bigger role in the passing game this season, which is good news considering he’s averaged just around 3.5 targets per game in his career. With Bortles out of town, Fournette will finally have an above-average quarterback under center to work with. Injuries derailed his 2018 season but he did manage a three-game stretch of 22-plus DKFP, which is a reminder of the type of upside he possesses. Jacksonville brought in Alfred Blue to be his backup and signed Thomas Rawls for depth, but neither should be DFS relevant unless Fournette suffers an injury. I’m willing to look past Fournette’s poor 2018 numbers and will go back to the well with him early and often in this revamped offense.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Jaguars Tight Ends
The Jaguars lost Austin Seferian-Jenkins to free agency but brought in Geoff Swaim and drafted tight end Josh Oliver in the third round out of San Jose State. James O’Shaughnessy still remains on the team and did start nine games last season, making him or Swaim the most likely candidate to be the Week 1 starter. I’m expecting some kind of timeshare here between the three, and the bottom line for me is I want no part of this rotation. Geoff Swaim has one career receiving touchdown in his four years in the NFL. O’Shaughnessy had no touchdowns in his 38 targets last season and just wasn’t a priority on offense. Oliver is known for his blocking abilities, although he was used out of the slot in college, making him the most DFS-relevant option. Still, it seems like a stretch to roster a third-round tight end rookie in DFS. Foles is a major upgrade and he was not shy utilizing his former tight end Zach Ertz on a regular basis, so there is hope for this group, but I’ll need to see one of these three firmly grab the role before I even consider playing a Jaguars tight end in DFS.
2019 Breakout Player
Dede Westbrook, WR
It feels like Westbrook has been on the breakout list for several seasons now, but for the first time in his career he’ll have a decent quarterback throwing the ball to him. The news to watch is the health of fellow wideout Marqise Lee, who is working his way back from a knee injury. Lee is expected to be ready by Week 1 and start opposite Westbrook, but whether he’s 100% healthy is to be determined. If he’s not, I’d expect even more of the target share to flow through to Westbrook. We’ve seen Foles at times in Philadelphia lock onto certain receivers and just feed them the ball, whether that was Ertz, Nelson Agholor or Alshon Jeffery. With limited options in Jacksonville, this could be the big break for Westbrook. The team did bring in Chris Conley and Terrelle Pryor to replace the loss of Donte Moncrief, but Conley profiles more as a possession receiver while Pryor hasn’t been fantasy relevant since the 2016 season.
The main takeaway for me is that the Jaguars overhauled their offense and this is not the same personnel we’ve been used to. With that in mind, they could easily be one of the bigger surprises in the AFC this season if Foles can replicate the success he’s had in the postseason. If Fournette can remain healthy and be more involved in the passing game, he should also be in line for a bounce-back season. The Jaguars reinforced their defense through the draft and by re-signing Jalen Ramsey, so it wouldn’t shock me if they found themselves in more positive game scripts this season, which would be good news for Fournette. Overall, this should be a team that shows some improvements in the standings.
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