This team-based draft strategy aims to identify which Jacksonville Jaguars are primed for fantasy opportunities in 2019. This series serves as an assessment of each offense and its prospects heading into next season. The stats used for this research are based on a half-PPR scoring format. Redraft rankings are listed for each player in parentheses (not that I like using parentheses).
Jacksonville Jaguars: No. 30 fantasy offense in 2018 (28th in passing, 27th in rushing)
The Jaguars offense is much-improved from last year’s iteration, at least on paper. It all starts at the quarterback position, where Nick Foles steps in for Blake Bortles. Foles is capable of playing Super Bowl-winning football and who better to get the most out of him than his QB coach from that title run? John DeFilippo was hired to run the offense in Jacksonville after lasting less than a season as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota. He was fired for his tendency to abandon the run game, which simply won’t be an option in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are built on running the ball, controlling the clock and leaning on their defense to win games.
Leonard Fournette is the focal point of the Jags offense, but his immaturity and injury history have cast serious doubt on his career. He’s already been suspended twice and has dealt with a litany of lower body injuries since college. The Jaguars went so far as to remove the guaranteed money from his contract after the season, signalling that the former No. 4 overall pick is on thin ice.
Fournette has also been inconsistent on the field. Apart from two big runs his rookie year, he’s averaged 3.3 YPC in the NFL. That’s simply not going to cut it, especially given his draft capital. Fournette has the speed to break big runs, but he hasn’t been enough of a factor in the passing game to avoid facing eight-man boxes. Defenses loaded up to stop Fournette on 35% of his carries last year, third-most in the league. That being said, the team’s offensive identity suggests he could see a ton of action this year. Fournette has had the fifth-most touches/game among RBs since 2017 and his usage could increase if he improves as a pass-catcher. Volume is king in fantasy football and Fournette (RB15) certainly has it.
The emphasis on the running game makes Nick Foles and Jags receivers a tough sell for fantasy this year. Foles (QB27) has never played a full 16-game season and provides nothing in terms of rushing production. He’s also working with an entirely new cast of receivers, so it could take time to develop chemistry and get in a rhythm.
The one certainty in the Jacksonville passing game is that third-year receiver Dede Westbrook will be the starting slot receiver. That’s a defined role, but it’s difficult to chart a path towards reliable WR2-production for Westbrook (WR43). I’d rather chase upside late in the draft than target slot receivers on low-volume passing offenses.
The rest of the Jags wide receivers have a massive range of potential outcomes. Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, and D.J. Chark each have a chance to earn a starting role this year, but it remains to be seen how the targets will shake out in Jacksonville. Lee (WR57) is the highest-ranked player in the group and week 1 will tell us a lot about how the team plans to deploy its receivers.
With all the uncertainty in the passing game, there’s an opportunity for fantasy relevance for TE Geoff Swaim. The former Cowboy was used exclusively as a blocking tight end for the first three years of his career, but Jason Witten’s retirement opened the door for 32 targets last year. Swaim reeled in 26 of those targets, making him a reliable safety valve for Dak Prescott. Now he’s playing with Nick Foles, who’s had an affinity for throwing to TEs Zach Ertz and Lance Kendricks in his career. Swaim is currently going as the TE54 in redraft leagues, which makes him an ultra-deep sleeper who’s probably not worth drafting. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on his week 1 snap count to see if he’s the clear starter over rookie Josh Oliver in Jacksonville. There’s a world where Geoff Swaim (TE24) becomes a fantasy-relevant tight end and that’s a world I want to live in.