Dynasty Capsule: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacob Feldman

As part of the premium content package, we’re again unveiling dynasty capsules for every team in the NFL leading up to free agency and the NFL Draft. This year, we’re also going to do a follow-up on all the teams after all the free agency and NFL Draft movement to assess the impact of any players teams have gained or lost. Since these capsules are always done as a simple snapshot in time, we figured that was the best way to tackle the off-season and provide ultimate value for our subscribers. All in all, we’ll have close to 500 player profiles found in these capsules over the off-season.

The Jaguars are starting to be one of the NFL’s golden standards for a struggling franchise. When the team that wins your division has six times the number of wins that you had, it isn’t a good thing. However, that doesn’t mean they are a complete fantasy void, so let’s take a look.


Blaine Gabbert

Like pretty much all struggling teams, the core of the problem goes back to the quarterback position. When he was drafted early in the 2011 draft, the Jaguars expected him to be the face and savior of the franchise. Things haven’t quite turned out like that for him so far. In fact, he is starting to look more and more like he is going to be yet another first round quarterback bust.

Gabbert’s rookie season had him starting 15 games, but he managed a rather pathetic 2,214 yards passing with 12 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. Even more concerning might be the 50.8% completion percentage he had. His 2012 season was an improvement as his completion percentage went up to 58% and he managed nine touchdowns against six interceptions in the ten games he played. The fact he only played ten games is a bit of a concern as injuries to his non-throwing arm led to him missing time and he never regained the starting role.

New team management means there is no connection to Gabbert being drafted, but also no connection to his 2012 benching. There will be a competition for the starting role, but Gabbert might have missed his window to be a quality starter. At this point in time, he is still a project. Had he been able to come in and sit behind a veteran for a year or tw,o things might have been different, but it is fairly safe to look elsewhere.

Chad Henne

The main competition for Gabbert comes in the form of former backup, then starter, Chad Henne. Coming on for the injured/benched Gabbert late in the season, Henne posted over 200 more yards in two fewer games – he also had two more touchdowns. It wasn’t all roses, though. Henne was much more free with the ball, throwing 11 interceptions in seven starts compared to Gabbert’s six in nine starts. Henne also only completed 54% of his passes on the season. Games were definitely more exciting with Henne at quarterback, good and bad.

In his two near full seasons as a starter in Miami, Henne managed to put up season totals of around a 61% completion rate, 3,000 yards, and low teens for touchdown totals. When you add in he always had slightly more interceptions than he had touchdowns, it doesn’t paint the best of pictures. Henne is under contract through this season, and while he is probably better than he was in Miami and likely a superior option to Gabbert, he is still a below average starter in the NFL. I don’t view him as a long term solution at quarterback for the Jaguars. He is merely a stopgap at the position.

Running Backs

Maurice Jones-Drew

mjd2MJD has been one of the top fantasy assets in the league ever since he took over the full time starting role in Jacksonville. Unfortunately for him and his owners, the wheels fell off a little bit last season. On the second carry of his week seven game, MJD went down with what ended up being a season ending foot injury. While the team never released full details, the fact he tried to rehab prior to having surgery hints at a Lisfranc injury.

The injury is a concern, but a bigger concern might be what he did during the first five games that he did play in. Almost half of his yards, carries and his only touchdown came during his week three game against the Colts. In the other four games, he was very underused, averaging 14 carries for 58 yards, with no touchdowns and just three catches for 18 yards.  Things would look a little bit better if he had 20 or more carries a game, but this is still a pace that would have put him far below expectations.

The lack of production wasn’t all his fault since defenses were selling out to stop the run given the lack of a passing game, but it does bring up the question of how much he has left in the tank. A rather fierce runner, MJD will be turning 28 in just a few weeks and is signed through the 2013 season. Unless he comes back to form after the injury, I don’t see him getting a new contract with the Jaguars or a starting role with anyone else at the age of 29. At this point, MJD is most likely a one year rental for RB2 numbers. Anything after that is a bit of a question mark.

Rashad Jennings

Once MJD went down, the torch was passed to Jennings. Things didn’t quite go as hoped. He topped 50 yards just once (59 yards in week eight) and had a disastrous 2.8 yards per carry average on the season. His year ended with a concussion and shoulder injury. Set to be a free agent this off-season, Jennings stock took a major hit. People don’t realize he is about to turn 28 years old. I don’t know if he’ll be re-signed or allowed to look elsewhere, but his age combined with the ineffectiveness this year should keep hopes in check.

The rest

The Jaguars host one of the thinnest backfields in the league, as we all saw when MJD went down. No one else on the team carried the ball more than 50 times or for more than 210 yards. Any free agent or rookie who ends up with the Jaguars is someone to keep an eye on – they could very quickly become the backup to MJD and the back of the future.

Wide Receivers

Cecil Shorts

One of the waiver wire gems and breakout players of the 2012 season, Shorts burst onto the scene with 55 catches, 979 yards and seven touchdowns – this is even more impressive when you realize Shorts didn’t really get going until the seventh week of the season. Prior to week seven he had only eight catches. From week seven on, he had double digit fantasy points in standard scoring PPR leagues in all but one week. He looked very much like a fantasy WR2 over that span.

The downside to Shorts is how his season ended. He missed the week 14 contest due to a concussion. He returned in week 15 only to get knocked out of the game in week 16 with a second concussion. In today’s NFL, any player that gets two concussions in short order raises a few red flags. The good news is he was fully cleared in mid-January; however, we have seen many players that struggle to get cleared after third and fourth concussions. Should Shorts get another one, it could jeopardize his future in the league.

The 25 year old Shorts is signed through the 2014 season. He is definitely a rising star in the league, but the medical red flag adds some risk to the equation. Risk also means value in that you might be able to find an owner that is a little bit leery of the concussions and get a top 25 WR at a discounted price.

Justin Blackmon

With a lot of the rookie focus going to quarterbacks last season, Blackmon very quietly put together a very solid rookie season. His 64 receptions for 865 yards and five touchdowns came largely at the end of the season. If you only look at the second half of the season, Blackmon was on pace for 82 catches, 1,280 yards and eight touchdowns. Owners who drafted him in the middle of the first round of their rookie drafts last year and realized that not all rookies are great from week one will surely be rewarded with a very solid receiver down the road.

With Shorts on the other side helping to keep defenses honest, the only thing preventing Blackmon from pushing into the top 20 receivers is the quarterback position. If the Jaguars can get an upgrade in the next few years, Blackmon could make up half of one of the best young receiving combos in the league.

Laurent Robinson

Signed to a big free agent contract during the last offseason, Robinson was a pretty big disappointment. He only appeared in seven games with a 24/252/0 stat line – that isn’t exactly what the Jaguars were expecting when they gave out a five year contract averaging $6.5 million per year with $14 million guaranteed.

The major reason for his statistical shortcomings is he reportedly had as many as four concussions during the season. The last one was suffered in early November and he was reported to have still been experiencing headaches in early February. It is unsure if/when he plans on returning to football activities, but the 28 year old receiver will be third in line behind Shorts and Blackmon if he does. With his large contract, there is a high chance that he’ll be cut once the guaranteed money on his contract is paid out. At least that is assuming that he can avoid another concussion, which would likely end his career.

Jordan Shipley

After struggling to get back to form with knee injuries, Shipley was released by the Bengals and ended up with the Jaguars. He appeared in seven games towards the end of the season and was reasonably productive working out of the slot. His 23 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown shouldn’t get fantasy owners too excited. With the top two spots in this receiver group locked up, Shipley has the upside of being the third receiver on a team with a very shaky quarterback situation. Look elsewhere for your fantasy production.

Tight Ends

Marcedes Lewis

Outside of his ten touchdown season in 2010, Lewis has been largely off the fantasy radar. He is a big bodied, three down tight end who can block, run routes and be a big red zone threat. He is signed through 2015, but his cap number might be a little too high for someone with his production. I expect the Jaguars to ask him to ask him to take a pay cut or to cut him either this off-season or in 2014. Given the current quarterbacks on roster, Lewis will struggle to be much more than a TE2 in dynasty leagues. The light glimmer of hope is that if he is cut, he could easily end up in a better situation and creep into the TE1 level of production.

jacob feldman