It's summer. The draft has come and gone; voluntary workouts are over; and mandatory minicamp is here. It's still early, but football is slowly making its way back, baby! With the offseason in full swing, that means your fantasy football draft is right around the corner, and if you're anything like me, you've already started your research. Also, if you're like me, your fantasy team simply doesn't feel complete without at least one Jaguar on your roster. So without further ado, let's take a look at some Jaguars you should have your eye on during your draft this year.
Nick Foles: If you're one of those people that want to grab a QB early and take Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady early, that's on you, because I think you can wait and grab Foles later in your draft and get a solid starter with a value pick because of how far he'll probably drop. The Jaguars passer has never played all 16 games in a season, so his stats aren't going to jump out at your opponents. Contrary to popular belief, Foles finds himself in a situation this year that will allow him to be productive. With Leonard Fournette in the backfield behind a healthy and revamped offensive line, opposing defenses are going to dare the Jaguars to throw, and they're going to regret it. In OTAs and minicamp, Foles has shown off this short throw accuracy that will allow the likes of Marquise Lee (when he returns to the field) and Dede Westbrook to make plays after the catch. Throw in Chris Conley, an improved DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, and Terrelle Pryor and you've got a laundry list of weapons. Not to mention in his last two years with the Eagles, Foles only averaged .5 interceptions per game. Get your skill players early, wait on the quarterback, and snag Foles in the mid-to-late rounds of your draft.
Leonard Fournette: Likely the first Jaguar off the board, Fournette is poised to have a bounce-back year. The Jaguars finally have a quarterback opposing defenses have to respect, which will open the field for Fournette. In just eight games last year Fournette netted 439 yards which put him on pace to just miss the thousand-yard mark, but it's not crazy to think with a big game somewhere down the stretch he wouldn't have been north of 1,000 yards again. He's going to be hungry this year and play with a chip on his shoulder to prove his rookie year wasn't a fluke. If the offensive line can stay healthy, I like Fournette to have a career year, which makes him more than deserving of a starting spot on your roster each week.
Defense: Sacksonville is back. There are a lot of good defensive lines this year, but I don't think any of them have the secondary that the Jaguars do to create time for the pass rush to get to the quarterback. Opposing offenses are going to have their hands full with Calias Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and first-round pick Josh Allen rushing the quarterback while Pro Bowl cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye lock down receivers in the secondary. What about the run game? Well, good luck running it up the middle against Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones. They're is not a weak spot on the defensive side of the ball for teams to try and exploit. If the Jaguars offense can be productive and the defense can play with a lead and force turnovers, the Jaguars can regain their status as the best defense in the league, which will pay dividends for your fantasy team at a position that can sometimes be hard to get value.
Low Risk, High Reward
Marqise Lee: After tearing his ACL in the third preseason game of the 2018 season, Lee missed the entire 2018 campaign, which will scare away some of the other players in your league. However, this shouldn't scare you away from drafting him. Lee is going to be the number one target for Nick Foles. His positive attitude and eagerness to return to the field have been well-documented throughout training camp. Combine that with having other offensive options on the field to take the attention away from him, and Lee is set to put up some solid numbers on your fantasy team this year, especially with how far he's probably going to fall in your draft.
Dede Westbrook: After the veteran, Marqise Lee, went down last year, second-year wideout Dede Westbrook became the go-to target on the Jaguars offense and was probably scooped up pretty quickly off your waiver wire. With Lee projected to be going up against the opponents #1 corner back in 2019 Westbrook finds himself in a situation for some serious production. So, what's the risk? I put Westbrook here instead of under "solid starters" because unlike his teammate, Lee, he will be on the radar of the other guys and girls in your league and you'll likely have to spend a third-fifth round pick if you want him on your roster.
Worth A Late-Round Flier
Josh Oliver: The tight end group is almost always a fantasy nightmare, even more so this year with Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski announcing his retirement. You still have the likes of Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz, but unless you plan on drafting a tight end early in the draft, you're going to have to get creative this year. Josh Oliver could be the answer. Nick Foles loves his tight ends; during his time in Philadelphia Zach Ertz was Foles' favorite target and the Jaguars were smart to get him a big-bodied tight end that can catch. Oliver weighs in at 6'5" and 246 pounds, and the Jaguars' didn't draft him to block. Entering the draft, Oliver's best skills were his hands. The leap Oliver made from his junior to senior year shows he's a player on the rise. If it's late in the draft and you're still without a tight end, or want some depth, Oliver is your guy.
D.J. Chark: Chark showed some flashes during his rookie campaign, but the Jaguars had him rated as a first-round talent, and he did not live up to that hype and was used mostly on special teams before a season-ending injury. However, there's a lot to like about what he's shown us during OTAs. In what should be a more talented and productive receiving corps, Chark should see plenty of time on the field as a deep threat. Will he be a starter week in and week out on your fantasy team? Probably not. But he's worth stashing if you like a matchup or in the event of an injury.
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