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Dynasty Price Check - D.J. Chark

We continue with our evaluation of the dynasty league value of high-profile players in our Dynasty Price Check series. Should you trade them or trade for them? Are they being overvalued or undervalued by dynasty players?

We've already covered players like Ezekiel Elliott, which you can read here, and James Robinson, which you can find here.

Today, we'll be looking at Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


D.J. Chark Background

Through three seasons, D.J. Chark's NFL career has been...strange.

As a rookie, Chark -- a second-round pick in 2018 -- was an afterthought in Jacksonville. He was targeted just 32 times, finishing with 14 catches for 174 yards. He was one of the league's worst receivers in the red zone that year and looked destined to be a bust.

Then in 2019, Chark broke out. Playing mostly with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II, Chark quickly established himself as the No. 1 receiver for the Jags, catching 73 balls on 118 targets with 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. Chark suddenly looked like a rising star. He didn't necessarily do anything at an elite level -- his efficiency stats in particular were pretty middling - but he posted solid numbers and did so in what was arguably a bad situation. He was only 66th among receivers in target accuracy, so you couldn't blame him too much for his catch rate being 62.4 percent.

Lots of us expected Chark to have an even better 2020. Minshew showed that he was a solid-enough quarterback in 2019, so he was expected to build on that in 2020. That...didn't happen, and Chark suffered for it.

Chark played 13 games last year, getting targeted 93 times. He caught 53 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns. The numbers would have been fine if Chark was a waiver-wire guy, but as someone being drafted as a WR2/3, it was disappointing.

Chark had to catch passes from not just Minshew but also Jake Luton and Mike Glennon. He was targeted 51 times by Minshew, catching 31 passes for 355 yards and three of his touchdowns. Chark was a solid, move-the-chains guy with Minshew. Luton's 25 throws to Chark resulted in 15 catches, 243 yards, and one touchdown. He averaged 2.7 more yards per reception with Luton.

And then with Glennon...yikes. 17 targets, which turned into seven catches for 108 and a touchdown, but also resulted in three of those attempts being picked off. Chark suffered a lot with Glennon under center.

But that's the past. Chark's future should be brighter because of...


Dynasty Outlook

...Trevor Lawrence!

The Jaguars are going to draft Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. We don't need to sit around and pretend that Lawrence won't be Jacksonville's QB in 2021. He will be. They're picking him. They're starting him in Week 1. Let's not pretend otherwise.

In theory, Lawrence helps Chark out immensely. Lawrence has led the ACC in pass completion percentage twice while finishing top-two in the conference in adjusted passing yards per attempt in all three of his seasons.

Simply put, Lawrence brings both accuracy and an ability to stretch the field that should greatly benefit Chark going forward.

That doesn't mean Chark has a sky-high ceiling, though. This is a deep wide receiver draft, plus 2020 showed that Laviska Shenault Jr. has a lot of upside too. There's just no way to guarantee that Chark is going to be the No. 1 receiver for Lawrence in Jacksonville.

But even if he isn't, he still can be a top-end No. 2 guy, and barring some unexpected things -- either Lawrence busting or the Jags heavily investing at receiver -- I think his floor for next year is pretty high.

The issue with Chark becomes 2022. He's a free agent then, and if Jacksonville views him as a No. 2 rather than a No. 1, will they bring Chark back on a long-term deal? Will he look elsewhere to try to find a bigger role? Lots of question marks and that really complicates the dynasty outlook for Chark.

Chark has shown that he can win on multiple levels, and if more accurate targets can translate into a higher catch rate, Chark still has the upside to be a No. 1 guy, which would make it a lot more likely that Jacksonville extends him. Chark could very easily be looking at his best NFL season in 2021, and that success could keep growing going forward with Lawrence continuing to improve going forward. So much depends on what the Jags do this offseason and on Chark looking more like his 2019 self than his 2018 or 2020 self.


What's He Worth?

I think you can probably get a nice discount on Chark right now if you target him before the draft because once the Lawrence move is official, Chark could see his value spike.

Here's where Chark sits in our current dynasty rankings:

So, a low-end WR3 right between Tyler Boyd and Tyler Lockett and below guys like Brandon Aiyuk, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller V, and Chase Claypool.

But Chark has an easier path to a No. 1 receiver role than those guys do, which has me higher on him. Even though it's risky, I'd trade a late first for him in a rookie draft because he's a better win-now piece than whoever I'd get at 1.10. I'd also be trying to deal running backs in the Chris Carson/James Robinson/David Montgomery range for Chark because running backs have such a shorter shelf life than a good receiver has, and all of those guys seem like they've got a lot of risk going forward for various reasons.

Chark has risk too, but if you believe in Trevor Lawrence as much as everyone else does, the upside of having his top receiver on your team is too much to pass up.

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