This is a series on my 2014 outlook of players you would want to have on your Paper Pigskin team (fantasy football). What you'll find here are my views based on years of playing experience and countless hours of geeking out researching stats, trends, and film. I'll advise where to reach and whose hype not to believe.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Passing 215 ypg Rushing 79 ypg
To say that Jacksonville was a bad team last season is an understatement. The Jaguars ranked 27th in total yards allowed and 28th in points given up at 28.3 per game. They were even worse on offense than defense in 2013; ranking 31st overall and scored a league-low 15.4 points per game. It's hard to find value in fantasy football on a team with a -12.9 point differential. Gus Bradley was handed a team devoid of talent but is working diligently to transform this team into the Seahawks south, which would mean team glory takes precedent over individual stats. Things are looking bright as they finished with a positive stretch of four wins in eight games; partly because the offense started to find a rhythm, with Chad Henne and Cecil Shorts emerging as leaders.
QB: They used the third pick in the draft on Blake Bortles; in Seattle, Pete Carroll chose a rookie to lead his team over a big money acquisition. The difference there was Wilson was easily better than Flynn and earned his keep, while Henne has actually performed well in the early going, playing efficiently with his new weapons. Henne, like Russell Wilson, can be a solid game manager except he lacks the ability to use his legs as a weapon. If you somehow fail to draft a QB1 on your Paper Pigskin team or are one of those wishing upon a Johnny Football star, you can use Henne as part of your stream versus some putrid pass defenses; the first 2 weeks are against Redskins and Eagles and Week 10 he faces the Cowboys, after that the bye week might bring on Bortles in his place if the team is out of contention.
RB: Jaguars as a team didn't splash cash on Toby Gerhart to have him lead a platoon, they plan on using Gerhart early and often as they slow the game down with a ball control offense. Toby Gerhart is a young, low-mileage running back who can play on three downs because he’s a good receiver and pass-blocker. Any running back getting 20-25 touches per game is a safe bet for potential RB1 status because opportunity is the name of the game; I can't stress that enough. According to Pro Football Focus, he led all running backs last season with a 123.4 elusive rating.
You might have forgotten that as a senior at Stanford, Gerhart was tops in the nation in rushing with 1,871 yards on 343 carries while scoring 28 touchdowns in 2009. It's not out of the realm of possibility that his impressive career numbers can resemble a career season - 276 carries for 1,305 yards at 4.7 yards per carry, while catching 77 passes for 600 yards. The only thing he's lacked is opportunity because he played behind arguably the GOAT running back. He sports an ADP of RB20 (44th overall), you better get him early… Be on the lookout for Denard Robinson, although Todman is the backup, Robinson possess the type of big play ability that the bland Jags offense can use to turn games in their favor.
WR: Cecil Shorts III is on top of the depth charts as of now but his track record shows it’s likely he’ll miss a few games from some type of leg injury. His ADP is WR45; I’m not going to have faith in him if the team felt they needed to draft two receivers in the first round. Rookie WRs Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee were running as the Jaguars' starters in his absence. Lee has earned praise from quarterback Chad Henne for playing with the poise of a veteran when it comes to understanding routes and coverage; the pair seemed to have developed chemistry that can lead to some big games. He’s worth a late round flyer at his WR71 price tag.
TE: Marcedes Lewis was one of the original basketball players to star at this position; don't forget about his 10 touchdowns in 2010. Over the last five games of 2013, Lewis caught 16 passes for 254 yards and 4 touchdown; good for 9.6 fantasy points per game. Last season was mired with injuries; interestingly enough the 4-12 Jags were 0-6 with Lewis out of the lineup, the run game averaged 0.6 ypc more with him on the field than without. His ADP is TE31, don't sleep on him, watch him.
Def: This unit has been bolstered with some former Seattle talent along the defensive line; If you don’t know Gus Bradley is one of the architects of that vaunted Seahawks defense.