As the Jaguars head to London to take on the Colts in their annual international game, T.J. Yeldon is hoping to get right against a Colts defense that has given up far too many points on the ground early this season. The unfortunate thing for Yeldon and his fantasy football owners is this: he isn’t going to get right across the pond.
First, there are the issues with the Jaguars themselves. Blake Bortles’ sudden and steep decline has caused a ripple effect through the Jacksonville offense. Suddenly the team that was producing a ton of fantasy football points just isn’t anymore. Likely this is due to the improved defense. Most of the Jags’ production last year came in garbage time, and with their improved defense keeping the game close, there isn’t as much junk time available for Bortles to feast on soft defenses who are running out the clock. Don’t get me wrong. They’re still losing games, but they’re close games. The blowouts are true blowouts that don’t even get token production from the Jacksonville offense, either. This is likely due to the massive step back taken by the offensive line. They aren’t opening holes, and they’re letting “Bort” end up on his back more often than he should. It’s a mess up front, meaning that it is unlikely the yards per carry for Jags backs will drastically improve in London.
The return of Chris Ivory from his mystery illness will also put a damper on Yeldon’s production. The big issue with Yeldon in his rookie campaign from a fantasy football standpoint was a refusal to put him in on goal-line situations, robbing him of touchdowns in favor of getting guys like Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson touchdown opportunities. Ivory’s return means that there is another back for Yeldon to split with, one who was likely brought in to be the big back who hammers it in on the goal-line.
This means Yeldon will have trouble getting the goal-line touches to justify starting him this week. Ivory’s return also means that Yeldon’s overall meaningful touches might be in jeopardy, as well. After getting 28 carries in the first two weeks combined, Yeldon received just six last week against Baltimore, and that wasn’t just game situation, as Chris Ivory had 12. Granted, he went for 1.2 yards per carry (not a typo), but he still had twice as many runs as Yeldon, despite his ineffectiveness.
The Colts aren’t as bad against the run as advertised, either. After getting shredded week one by the triple monster of the Lions, they held C.J. Anderson in check on a yards per carry basis (74 yards on 20 rushes, 3.7 yards per carry) and stifled Melvin Gordon, holding him to just 35 yards. They’re getting healthier and won’t be the pushover that they would appear to be on paper. The safe bet this weekend is to keep T.J. Yeldon out of your lineups.