The Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to produce a few diamonds in the rough this year. Generally speaking, they face a fairly soft defensive schedule (Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule metrics listed below) which should make life easier on second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew and his No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Chark. The one hiccup may be that the Jags’ defense can’t stop anything and they’re set to face a strong slate of rushing offenses. If opposing offenses control the clock via the run game, Jacksonville’s offensive opportunities will decrease. It’s also worth noting that the late season defensive schedule gets significantly tougher in fantasy crunch time. In Weeks 14-16, the traditional fantasy playoffs, the Jags have to face the Tennessee Titans, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Chicago Bears’ vaunted defenses. Best to trade away any successful fantasy assets just around Weeks 12 and 13.
Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule:
- Mid-tier overall schedule
- 4th softest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
- 2nd softest blend of pass defenses
- 4th softest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
- 6th softest blend of rush defenses
- 5th softest in terms of the opponent’s run defense efficiency
- Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
- Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s offensive pass efficiency
- 6th toughest in terms of the opponent’s offensive rush efficiency
Gardner Minshew found himself in outstanding company last year, excelling in deep ball passing, per PFF. His subtly solid pass catching corps should help him achieve usable QB-platoon numbers in the right matchups. Minshew brings added dynamism with his rushing floor. Through 14 starts last year, the then-rookie averaged 24.6 rushing yards per game.
With Leonard Fournette down the road in Tampa Bay now and Ryquell Armstead worryingly back on the COVID list for the second time this summer, primary rushing duties fall to second-year back Devine Ozigbo and rookie James Robinson. Robinson was just named the starter for Week 1 which speaks to his strong camp. Both backs are largely going undrafted. Robinson has high risk but the upside and potential is there.
HC Jay Gruden liked Chris Thompson so much, from their time in Washington together, that he brought Thompson with him to Jacksonville. Thompson is a safe bet to take the vast majority of passing game reps for the team, however, he is a bit of an injury risk. Thompson is more of a PPR-only option. He can be had at the back end of drafts.
D.J. Chark had a breakout season in his second year 2019 campaign, finishing as the WR16 in .5PPR. Given the soft slate of pass defenses and a stellar connection with Minshew, Chark has a chance to take the next step and flirt with backend WR1 numbers. New HC Jay Gruden has already stated that Chark will see high-value slot routes this year, increasing his odds of doing so. With such a strong fantasy WR class this year, the drafting public has let Chark slip into a valuable range, coming off the board in .5PPR at the 5.05, WR22 spot.
Chris Conley, a physical freak, reportedly has had a great camp. Although an Achilles injury derailed his time in Kansas City, he’s found a home in Jacksonville. Expect Conley to be a flex-able fantasy asset as a downfield receiver in the right matchups. Going undrafted in most leagues, Conley can be added on an as-needed basis off of the waiver wire.
Dede Westbrook owned rights to the majority of slot reps last season. A shoulder injury has knocked him off course in training camp this year though and rookie second round pick Laviska Shenault appears to have stolen the job with an outstanding training camp. Shenault took reps all over the place in college. Primarily operating as a receiver, Shenault also lined up at running back and wildcat quarterback. Chark will get slot reps in 2020 but the majority of reps will assuredly go to Shenault. Adding his potential for RB snaps and carries around the goal line, the rookie WR is an excellent final pick in drafts.
Keelan Cole is of little fantasy relevance.
Tyler Eifert looks to be the team’s No. 1 tight end. He managed a full 16-games in 2019 and could pay dividends as part of a fantasy tight end platoon.
The Jaguars are not expected to be a powerhouse of a team so place kicker Josh Lambo is strictly a matchup-based option.
Avoid the Jaguars D/ST.