The folks in Jacksonville are hyped about their new QB, and we
get it. At 6-5 he boasts prototypical height, has a strong, accurate
arm, and the athleticism to not just make plays with his legs,
but extend plays and escape from pressure, which may be his most
important attribute in Year 1. Simply put, the guy’s a winner
who has lost only two games since the start of high school. He’s
a leader and a playmaker who averaged just under 30 TD passes
per season at Clemson. For all the above reasons, it’s hard
to imagine a scenario where Lawrence isn’t under center
for the Jags in Week 1, no matter how well former starter Gardner
However, Lawrence is an NFL rookie playing at QB. All indications
are he has the work ethic and the game IQ to fully grasp the offense
and perform under pressure. But make no mistake, he will struggle,
and new HC Urban Meyer isn’t going to be afraid to sit his
generational talent if he struggles too much, especially with
Minshew standing next to him on the sideline. It’s also
important for fantasy owners to understand who they’re dealing
with here. Meyer is, and always has been, a run-first guy. The
same goes for OC Darrell Bevell, and even passing game coordinator
Brian Schottenheimer. Don’t be surprised if all three of
those guys, trying to protect and develop “The Franchise”
for the long term and lean heavily on those run tendencies in
Of course, there is reason to be high on Lawrence, for fantasy
purposes and otherwise. He’s a better runner of the football
than he’s given credit for, and Meyer has a reputation for
scheming to the strengths of his QB dating all the way back to
Alex Smith at Utah. The RPO will be part of this attack, and with
that, Lawrence becomes a legitimate dual threat. But the rookie
learning curve and a run-first offense are going to put a cap
on his ceiling out of the gate. I’m calling him a mid to
low end QB2 for now who could be worth a shot in the second half
of the season if he progresses as expected.
I’m not going to take a lot of your time here. Minshew actually
played well when he got on the field last year (9 games, 66% completion,
16 TD, 5 INT, three 300-yard games). But Urban Meyer is the new
sheriff in town and Trevor Lawrence is his new deputy. Meyer has
reportedly been impressed with the way Minshew competes and he
has established himself early as the clear QB2 in Jacksonville,
which makes him a smart handcuff for Lawrence owners. But if he
has to play, everyone in this offense takes a hit, particularly
a player like WR D.J. Chark, who took a step back in 2020 due
mostly to Minshew’s accuracy issues on the deep ball.
As a rookie in 2020, Robinson was a 1,000-yard rusher with 7
TD’s and added 49 catches and three receiving scores for over
1,400 total yards. Even with veteran Carlos Hyde and rookie 1st-rounder
Travis Etienne in the fold, Robinson figures to carry the mail
in the Jags’ run-first scheme. But goal line and red zone work
could go elsewhere, which could hurt his fantasy prospects.
Jaguars’ fans should expect a heavy dose of the run game
early in the season as rookie QB Trevor Lawrence gets his feet
under him, which means Robinson could have some legitimate fantasy
value as a low end RB2 or as a weekly flex option. His late-fourth,
early-fifth round ADP is too steep, but he’s a good depth
guy on your roster.
Though not quite as big and physical as Robinson, Etienne is
quick and elusive in the open field. HC Urban Meyer figures to
use those traits in more of a receiving role, putting Etienne
in motion, using him on jet sweeps, and giving him catch and run
opportunities in the short and intermediate game where he can
find open seams against zone coverages.
Etienne could emerge as a strong flex option, or even as a valuable
RB2 in PPR leagues if his receiving role expands. Urban Meyer
has always been creative on the offensive side of the ball. Expect
the Jaguars to find a bunch of different ways to get the ball
in Etienne’s hands.
Hyde is likely to be the player to benefit the most should James
Robinson miss time for any reason. A physical banger as a runner,
and a player who has played for HC Urban Meyer (at Ohio State),
he knows the system and understands what it takes to be productive
as an NFL back. Handcuff him to Robinson and don’t be afraid to
insert him in the lineup when the time comes. Meyer will trust
him when the chips are on the table.
At the request of HC Urban Meyer, Chark put on 10 pounds this
offseason, apparently without losing any of his straight-line
speed by his own account. That’s a good sign. Meyer challenged
him and Chark took the bait, looking to put a disappointing season
behind him. He’s a bona fide deep threat who struggled with
the Jags’ QB play last season as much as anything else.
Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and Jake Luton all lacked accuracy
on the deep ball.
With strong-armed Trevor Lawrence and Chark busting down the
sideline at 6-4, 210, there’s some big play potential there. It
might take some time to get Lawrence acclimated to the NFL game,
and the addition of veteran free agents Marvin Jones and Phillip
Dorsett could cut into Chark’s targets, but Chark is a bounce-back
candidate in 2021 and could return to his 2019 form when he posted
73 catches on 118 targets for 1,008 yards and 8 TD’s. Draft him
in the middle rounds as a WR3.
Jones is a very similar player to D.J. Chark, which should give
fantasy owners some pause. He’s another perimeter threat
who plays a physical style. He has the quickness to beat man coverage
and the route-running ability and IQ to find the open spots in
zone coverages. Older and more polished than Chark, he’s
not as explosive, but he is being reunited with OC Darrell Bevell,
who worked with him in Detroit, and will be a valuable veteran
presence for Trevor Lawrence. Despite all that, he’s still
not considered anything more than a WR3 or weekly flex option
when it comes to fantasy value.
Shenault displayed a versatile skill set as a rookie in 2020,
lining up as a WR, RB, and even took direct snaps as a runner.
He posted 58 catches on 79 targets for 600 yards and five scores
and added 18 carries for 91 yards, justifying the preseason excitement
of some fantasy owners. But much of that “slash” role
seems destined for rookie RB Travis Etienne in 2021.
Still, Shenault was reportedly the star of the Jaguars offseason
practices and has been working almost exclusively from the slot.
That could end up being a good spot for him as D.J. Chark, Marvin
Jones, and Phillip Dorsett all battle for snaps out on the perimeter.
The boost in skill personnel in Jacksonville figures to limit
Shenault’s targets, but with a defined role in an improved,
more creative offense, with better QB play, he could be looking
at a significant jump in production in Year 2. He’s a viable
WR3 on my board.
Dorsett’s best asset has always been his speed. He made
his name in the league as a burner on the perimeter. But since
arriving in the NFL in 2015, he has eclipsed 500 receiving yards
in a season just once and had at least 30 receptions just twice,
and that’s playing with guys like Andrew Luck and Tom Brady.
I don’t think Trevor Lawrence is going to be the guy to
put Dorsett on the fantasy map, at least not yet.
O’Shaughnessy set career highs in targets (38), receptions (28),
and receiving yards (262) in 2020, but as you can see, those numbers
do not add up to any sort of fantasy relevance. Remarkably though,
he’s the top option at the moment, as Jacksonville added only
blocking TE’s Chris
Manhertz and rookie Luke Farrell in the offseason. To me,
it all points to a focus on the run game, more four and five-wide
sets on obvious passing downs, and potentially a larger role than
anyone expected for Tim Tebow.
Though Tebow was signed as a TE, it doesn’t seem that’s
what Urban Meyer and his staff may have in mind for the former
quarterback and baseball player. Tebow is more “athlete”
than tight end, receiver, or even quarterback at this point, and
if he makes this roster, he will be used that way. We’ve
heard that he could be used as a Taysom Hill-type weapon, which
could make him a threat in the red zone and around the goal line
and a player who could vulture scoring opportunities from other
playmakers on the offense.
Tebow is not a draftable fantasy player right now, but his status
and his role bear watching for any owner of a Jacksonville player
on the offensive side of the ball.