The year 2008 is a year in which the Jacksonville Jaguars would simply like to forget. The team finished with a disappointing 5-11 record after losing in the Divisional Playoffs in 2007 at the hands of the New England Patriots. What went wrong? Maybe a better question is what didn’t go wrong? For starters, the offensive line was in complete shambles due to various injuries and the misery climaxed with the shooting of Richard Collier who was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result. The end result was the Jags were left unable to do what they really want to do and that is to pound the rock on the ground with their Mighty Mite Maurice Jones Drew. The offensive line was clearly one of the main reasons that the Jags didn’t perform up to expectations. Furthermore, Jacksonville’s WR corps (past and present I might add) was more concerned with blasting lines of Coke than catching TD’s and this also contributed to the teams decline. However, in my estimation things are looking much better for Jacksonville heading into ’09 with the addition of tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton via the draft last month. With that being said lets analyze the fantasy prospects for the Jaguars this season.
Jacksonville is committed to QB David Garrard and it seems as though as he is returning the favor. I recently saw an interview of Garrard and I could not believe it. He has dropped over 30 lbs and looks outstanding. During the interview he mentioned that he is ready to take his career to the next level and to become more of a team leader. This is good news for Jag fans as I truly think Garrard can be the answer for this team if they protect him and provide him with some weapons. Not a lot just some because last year he had none. However, this article is from a fantasy perspective and in terms of a fantasy QB Garrard is no more than a nice number 2 QB. The Jags have never been a passing team and the drafting of Britton and Monroe tells me that the team is not looking to become one anytime soon. This is clearly Jones-Drew’s team and the offense is being built around him in a big way. Garrard is simply a game manager who is going to be handing the ball off to MJD constantly. On draft day this summer treat him as such and look at other options when choosing your starting QB for the season. Take a flier on Garrard as your backup starting around round 12 but nothing much more than that.
I am a huge fan of MJD and this year with the release of Fred Taylor he is finally the man in Jacksonville. Jones-Drew has been a TD machine since coming into the NFL in 2006 amassing a total of 38 TD’s during that span. MJD’s yardage has historically been down but that can be directly attributed to Taylor’s presence. Head Coach Jack Del Rio has stated publicly that the reason the team released Taylor was to get Jones-Drew on the field more often. Don’t let Greg Jones or rookie Rashad Jennings scare you in the least bit. This is Jones-Drew’s team and I am expecting a career year out of him this season to the tune of around 1200-1400 yds and between 10-15 total TD’s. Treat him as a Top 5 overall selection in all draft formats this summer. If you are fortunate to land MJD in the first round be sure to handcuff him with Jennings later in the draft for insurance.
This will prove to be a short paragraph as we are talking about the Jags receiving corps in terms of fantasy potential. Gone are the Cocaine Cowboys Matt Jones and Reggie Williams (don’t forget about Jimmy Smith either) as well as bust Jerry Porter and in their place come Torry Holt and a bunch of rookies. Although Holt is a marked improvement over the previous jokers he has lost a step and also realize that the last time Holt posted a 100 yard receiving game outdoors was the first week of the 2005 season. Where do the Jags play? Outdoors. Holt will clearly be the number 1 option in Jacksonville but what does that mean when half the offense if not more will run through Jones-Drew? Initially, I treat Holt as a number 3 WR or possibly a Flex player worth a late round pick but someone who recognizes Holt’s name will probably draft him sooner without doing any sort of research or leg work. Well, I am doing the research for you so I am saying DON’T LET THAT PERSON BE YOU!! As for all the other Jags WR’s it is real simple: Troy Williamson, Dennis Northcut nor any of the rookies are draftable at this point in time. Moreover, although improving TE Marcedes Lewis represents another Jag who does not warrant a selection on draft day come August.
Historically, one of the better fantasy options when referring to the Jags has been their DST. For years the middle had been anchored down by big John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Well, Stroud is gone to Buffalo and Henderson is not getting any younger and all in the entire Jags defense has regressed a bit from their heyday back in the early 2000’s. They are still not a bad unit and the team will try to get much more out of former Gator Derrick Harvey whom the team selected with the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Furthermore, the team’s improved offensive line will go a long way towards achieving a ball control offense and thus allowing the defense plenty of time to rest. I view the Jags DST as a low end number 1 fantasy unit. Josh Scobee is an accurate, strong legged kicker and is also a viable number 1 fantasy option.
In summary, look for the Jaguars to rebound as a team and make a strong run towards the playoffs. This run will be thanks in large part to a vastly improved OL that will pave the way for the running and receiving of MJD. Other than Jones-Drew, and maybe Holt, don’t expect much from the position players of the Jags this year. Next up: The Indianapolis Colts.
Chris Limburg is the fanatical purveyor of gothicfootball.com: A Oakland Raider and fantasy football blog that provides commentary on everything that is the NFL and fantasy football. Sign up for my free newsletter at: http://www.gothicfootball.com