The “Top Five” is an ongoing article breaking down every NFL team’s top 5 best fantasy football
Today’s team: Jacksonville Jaguars
1. Maurice Jones Drew- RB
How soon we forget that it was two seasons ago this guy was the best running back in the NFL. Deemed a bust by most experts this year, I stand otherwise. Is Jacksonville a black hole offensively this season? Yeah. Is this mostly due to Blaine Gabbert being an awful QB? A harsh question, but up till now he’s been awful (this is his last chance to prove it). So drafting a previously hurt running back on a horrible team would seem like fantasy suicide right? NOPE! Five words for ya, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. Last year they were in the same position as MJD, and hell, with the year Peterson had it brought the Vikings all the way to a playoff spot. So the whole argument of an amazing running back playing for an awful team being an awful fantasy idea is pretty much dead. In fact, if the running back can remain healthy, it benefits the player moreso. Looking back at 2011, when MJD received at least 15 carries, he scored more than 15 fantasy points in 10 games (with Gabbert at QB). As for this year, there is concern that he is not 100% recovered from his foot injury suffered last year, however MJD said himself to rotowire.com that he felt “perfectly fine” and that he’s not experiencing any pain in his foot. He’s a top tier rb that you can probably grab in the late 2nd/early 3rd round. I recommend doing so.
2/3. Cecil Shorts III-WR and Justin Blackmon- WR
One of the biggest surprises last season was the emergence of the darling from Mount Union University, Cecil Shorts III. With all fantasy eyes on Justin Blackmon last year, Shorts was a refreshing newcomer to the fantasy world, outperforming Blackmon in rec yards, and touchdowns. With Jacksonville naming Blaine Gabbert the starting QB, I had to look back and adjust Shorts and Blackmon’s value because of the vast difference in statistics. What I got was this.
With Blaine Gabbert at QB, Cecil Shorts III averaged 62 yards a game (561 total yards over 9 games), scoring 4 tds, and having 29 receptions on 57 targets. With Chad Henne, Shorts improved to averaging 83.6 yards a game (totaling 418 yards in 6 games), scoring 3 tds on 26 receptions on 47 targets.
Justin Blackon averaged 27.7 yards a game (250 total yards over 9 games w/Gabbert at QB), scoring just 1 TD on 26 receptions with 55 targets. With Henne, Blackmon became worthy of his first round pick status. Averaging 87 yards a game (totaling 615 yards in 7 games), 38 receptions on 74 targets and 4 tds.
Night and Day. It’s kind of sickening, however, may these statistics help you this year when evaluating both Blackmon and Shorts. With Gabbert at QB, don’t reach for either one. Neither should be higher than your third best WR. Forth best if your Blackmon (REMEMBER 4 GAME SUSPENSION!). However, if you’re looking for consistency between the two, Cecil Shorts is your man, but if Henne takes over the QB spot at any given point this season, beware of Blackmon (And Mercedes Lewis!).
4. Dernard Robinson- RB/WR/QB/TE/???
With MJD on a contract year, Jacksonville took a flyer on the QB/RB/WR/TE/ whatever the hell he wants to do on the offense Denard Robinson. To be fair, both Robinson and Forsett should not be drafted in any standard league draft. But it’s a top 5 list and I’m sure as hell not going to put Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville’s DEF/ST (at least not this season), Josh Scobee, or Mercedes Lewis on this list. To Robinson’s credit though, it’s his versatility that puts him here. He’s literally a guy who could be the next MJD for Jacksonville. I’d expect him to see a lot more time/touches if MJD got hurt, however, if that were not to happen, I still wouldn’t be shocked if Robinson got 3-5 touches a game. He can come in at any time and be a factor. For that he’s number 4 on this list.
5. Justin Forsett
His history with running with the zone blocking schemes is the only reason I’m putting Forsett here. Sure he’s the backup to MJD, but think to yourself, do you really think Justin Forsett is going to get the bulk of the carries if MJD goes down? No way, at best there’ll be a time share with Robinson. Forsett is a decent backup at best, but is not good enough at holding his own with a major bulk of carries.