The Wrath of Khan: A Preview of the Jacksonville Jaguars

By Connor Rigg

​The Jaguars had a disappointing season going 6-10 during the 2019 NFL season. They began the year with Nick Foles but quickly gave the reigns to the guy with the best mustache in Florida: Gardner Minshew. He surprised many people with his passing and rushing ability. But can he repeat his success this season, or are they on the verge of getting a high draft pick and looking for their future QB? Let’s take a glance at the Jags players for 2020.

QB: Gardner Minshew

​Minshew completed 60.6% of his passes on the year for 3,271 yards (7.0 Y/A) while throwing 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He had an excellent season on the ground as well, rushing 67 times for 344 yards. QB’s with rushing ability are so valuable in fantasy leagues, and Minshew provides that. Minshew tied for 9th in red-zone passing touchdowns inside the 20, which provides the perspective of how good Minshew was this past season. All of his weapons are back, as he looks to showcase his talents for a full season as a starter. Minshew has a safe floor due to his rushing ability. He is a viable option in 2 QB leagues and is a solid streamer in 1 QB leagues.

RB: Leonard Fourtnette, Ryquell Armstrong, Chris Thompson, Devine Ozigbo

​Fournette had a very productive season yet again, finishing as the RB7 in PPR leagues. He had 265 rushing attempts for 1,152 yards (4.3 Y/A) and a  surprising 3 touchdowns. While productive on the ground, what vaulted Fournette’s RB7 output is his involvement in the receiving game. He received 100 targets catching 76 of them for 522 yards (6/9 Y/R) and not scoring a touchdown. Yes, you read that right. Fournette had 341 total touches and only THREE touchdowns. This stat screams positive touchdown regression. This offseason, the Jags brought in Chris Thompson as a 3rd down option, so 100 targets aren’t likely for Fournette. However, he will see 50-60 targets, so his involvement won’t disappear. I look for Fournette to score between 7-10 touchdowns this year, but his receiving numbers come back down to earth. He is a fine RB1/2 in drafts this upcoming season. Jags did talk about trading him or releasing him, so keep an eye out for this situation.

Armstead and Chris Thompson will be the main guys behind Fournette this season. Armstead didn’t receive many opportunities on the ground, rushing 35 times for 108 yards and a measly 3.1 Y/A. He did flash receiving upside catching 14 passes on 24 targets for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. But with Chris Thompson coming to town, Armstead may not get the same number of opportunities this season. He is a solid stash for Fournette owners. If Fournette gets traded, Armstead will have ample opportunity to showcase his talents. Thompson will be the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield like he was for the Redskins. Fournette drew 100 targets last season, and I look for Thompson to provide low-end RB3/4 numbers this season.

​Devine Ozigbo had minimal playing time and isn’t on the fantasy radar unless multiple injuries occur. No need to worry about him for now.

WR: DJ Chark, DeDe Westbrook, Chris Conley, Laviska Shenault

​Chark was one of the biggest surprises in fantasy football last season. He caught 73 passes on 118 targets for 1,008 yards and scored 8 touchdowns and finished the season as the WR17 in PPR formats. He led the Jaguars in targets (118), receiving yards (1,008), touchdowns (8), and was second behind Fournette in catches (73). He did cool down after the bye week, and defenses started to adjust, but he still produced as a backend WR2-high end WR3. I believe Chark produces roughly the same numbers this season with Minshew as a full-time starter. You can safely draft him as your WR2/3 and is an excellent piece to your dynasty squads.

​Westbrook had a solid season in 2019 but regressed from his 2018 season. He caught 66 passes on 101 targets for 660 yards and three touchdowns. Oddly enough, his 101 targets and 66 passes caught were the exact same as they were in 2018.  He was third on the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns while receiving the 2nd most targets on the team. He’s the 2nd option in the passing game. Still, the Jaguars are a run-first team, so 101 targets may be hard to replicate again, especially with the addition of Chris Thompson. Westbrook is a late-round flier in dynasty formats.

​Conley had an underrated season for the Jaguars. He was 2nd on the team in receiving yards (775), 2nd in receiving touchdowns (5), and led the team in yards per reception (16.5). His 16.5 Y/R was good for 10th among wide receivers in the NFL. Conley has always been a deep threat, and that should be no different this season. Conley’s playing time may be in jeopardy with Shenault coming in. Shenault’s versatility allows him to move into the slot, but he is best as an outside receiver. Proceed with caution.

​Shenault was the Jaguars’ 2nd round draft pick and for a good reason. Shenault was a beast at Colorado and has all of the tools to be a WR1 in the NFL. Every NFL coach dreams about his size, speed, and ability to make plays after the catch. Due to the limited training camps and getting acclimated to the NFL, Shenault may start slow, as will most rookie-wide receivers. Once he learns the playbook and gains chemistry with Minshew, he will be a force to be reckoned with. He’s an excellent target in dynasty drafts and is worth a 2nd round pick in rookie drafts.

TE: Tyler Eifert, Josh Oliver, James O’Shaughnessy

​Eifert, Oliver, and O’Shaughnessy are the tight end group in Jacksonville. For fantasy owners, this means nothing but headaches. Eifert played all 16 games last season for the first time in his career. He caught 43 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns on 63 targets for the Bengals. They signed him to a two-year deal, and he should be the favorite to lead this group in targets. O’Shaughnessy led the tight end group last year with 20 targets while catching 14 of them for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Oliver only managed 6 targets while catching 3 for 15 yards. This situation is one to avoid, but if you chose one, I would lean Eifert. Still, given his injury history, that’s not saying much.

Connor Rigg – Dynasty/Redraft
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Twitter: @conbon45