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Fantasy Football Sleeper - Byron Leftwich

Update [2007-9-1 5:32:0 by Skeller]: The Jags just named David Garrard the starter so this is now all moot. See the post on Garrard above. ------- Last season the Jacksonville Jaguars had an amazingly one-sided offense.  An injury to QB Byron Leftwich forced the Jags to start David Garrard instead, which meant the offense moved away from the passing game and focused heavily on the run.  

The Jags were very close to having two 1000+ yard rushers with Fred Taylor finishing with 1146 rush yds and Maurice Jones rolling up another 941 yards.  Their average of 158 rushing yards per game was third best in the league, a full twenty yards per game better than the next best team.  The tandem of Taylor and Jones-Drew became fantasy gold.

As expected, the passing game was wreck.  The Garrard-led Jaguars finished 24th in the league with only 180 passing yards per game.  The receiving corps - some of whom were touted as fantasy sleepers before the season - suffered the most.  Jacksonville didn't have a single receiver with more than 650 receiving yards or more than four receiving touchdowns.   Guys like Matt Jones and Earnest Wilford were relegated to the fantasy wastelands.

This season fantasy owners are jumping all over the Jags rushing bandwagon with Jones-Drew drafted early -- sometimes taken in the first round -- and Taylor considered a reliable #2 or #3 running back.   But everybody seems to be forgetting the passing game.  

Leftwich has never played a full sixteen game season due to injuries.  If he's healthy, and all the reports say that he is, then the Jaguars passing game will improve by leaps and bounds.  This guy is generally being ignored by fantasy owners this season - he was undrafted in both the Fake Teams Reader League and the SB Nation Writers League for example - and that may turn out to be huge oversight.  

There's always the chance of injury and with Leftwich that chance is pretty high.  But a healthy Leftwich is solid bye week starter for your team.   Keep an eye on him during the start of the season but don't wait too long to pick him up.  With his first two games coming against  Tennessee and Atlanta, Leftwich could be among the league passing leaders heading into Week 3.  If you want him, you should grab him soon.