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Getting Dubs In Duval: Analyzing The Jaguars In Fantasy Football Going Forward

Trevor Lawrence - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

The Jacksonville Jaguars might be good. Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are, but after beating the Chargers 38-10, the Jaguars look dangerous. The team has scored 22 or more points in each of its games this season, which is notable since in 17 games last season, the team hit that mark just twice. And the defense has allowed a total of 10 points over the last two weeks.

Bringing in Doug Pederson as head coach has worked wonders for this team and its players, and now it's time to ask a question I can't believe we're asking: are the Jaguars a team you want to have a lot of exposure to in fantasy?

Let's take a look at the rest of the season outlooks for some of the key players on this Jacksonville team.

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Trevor Lawrence Has Arrived

Trevor Lawrence was bad as a rookie. I'm not going to mince words here. He completed under 60% of his passes and threw just 12 touchdowns in 17 games, which included an eight-week stretch where he threw a total—total—of one touchdown. He threw multiple touchdowns in a game twice: in Week 1 and Week 18.

This year, he's already equaled that through three games, throwing two touchdowns against the Colts and then following that up with three scores against the Chargers. Lawrence has basically had the two best games of his career during the last two weeks.

Having a competent coaching staff has really helped Lawrence, and the addition of some legitimately good NFL wide receivers helps too. Add in a year to be accustomed to NFL defenses, and we're seeing a Trevor Lawrence that is now on the road to fulfilling the hype.

So far this season, Lawrence ranks seventh in the NFL in completion percentage, eighth in touchdown rate, and third in lowest interception rate. He's throwing the ball more accurately and is avoiding the turnover issues that plagued him last season.

Lawrence should be considered a high-end QB2 going forward. His lack of rushing upside—he's averaging 2.7 rushing yards per game—limits his ceiling, but his improved accuracy helps make up for that. And because we saw Lawrence perform so well in college and because last year was such a weird situation due to Urban Meyer, I firmly believe these improvements this year are real and sustainable. Lawrence was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason.

 

Breaking Down The Running Game

Here's the most interesting thing about this Jaguars team: the running back situation.

Coming into the season, it looked like Travis Etienne would be the lead back in Jacksonville, with James Robinson, who was returning from an Achilles tear, serving as a complementary piece. But so far, those roles have been reversed.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
James Robinson Carries 11 23 17
Travis Etienne Carries 4 9 13

Etienne fans can take some solace in the fact that his carries have gone up each week and that things were closer in Week 3 than they had been, but it's still pretty clear that Robinson is the lead back. Etienne got the final four carries of the game for the team with the Jaguars already up 31-10 when the drive began, so that skews the numbers a little.

Let's go ahead and just push Etienne aside for the rest of this section. Fantasy managers should be worried about Etienne's production and usage this season—you don't need to read me talking about that to know it's true. What's more interesting to me is how Robinson has looked.

With the increased quality of play from the passing game, it seems that there's more space for Robinson to work in, and also more chances for carries since the game script has been going his way.

Robinson's per-play numbers look like they have throughout his career. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, down 0.2 from last year and equal with his rookie campaign. But because Jacksonville isn't playing from behind as much, Robinson is averaging 17.0 attempts per game—in line with his rookie season when he had 1,070 yards on the ground. But that year, he had a 70% snap share. This year, he's doing it on 57%.

I'm a believer in this Jaguars passing offense continuing to play well, which should continue to trickle down to the run game. Robinson is a solid fantasy RB2.

 

Christian Kirk Is Good, But So Is Zay Jones

A big part of this offense working this year has been the addition of Christian Kirk. Kirk spent the early part of his career in Arizona, where he played in Kliff Kingsbury's spread-out, four-wide offense. That made it tough to really get a read on how good Kirk was.

Well...the first three weeks of this season suggest that he's really good.

Kirk has had at least 72 yards in each game, with the fifth-year receiver catching exactly six passes in each contest. Against Washington, he had 117 yards. Against the Colts, he had two touchdowns. Kirk is making things happen when he gets the ball. He's a fantasy WR2 because of the mixture of his skill, his production, and his role in this offense. Whatever—you know how Kirk is playing and what he can do if you've been paying attention.

The bigger revelation, in my opinion, is Zay Jones.

Jones has been in the NFL since 2017. In 2018, he had 652 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bills, but in 2019 he was traded to the Raiders. He was a non-factor in his first two years there, but Jones flashed some good stuff last season, catching 47 passes for 546 yards, with 264 of those yards coming over the final four games. Extrapolated to a full season, his numbers at the end of the year would have had him over 100 catches and over 1,000 yards.

This season in Jacksonville, Jones has been targeted 24 times so far, catching 19 passes for 173 yards. He's not on track for a 1,000-yard season, but his current averages would put him at 980. Too bad football isn't that easy.

But it's also not that hard. Jones was second among the team's wide receivers in snap rate in Week 1, third in Week 2, and second in Week 3. He's been targeted 24 times, while Marvin Jones has been targeted 18 times. Zay Jones is the No. 2 receiver in Jacksonville, but not by a mile.

Still, this team has basically just run three wide receivers out there this year. The fourth wideout in targets is Jamal Agnew, who has three of them while playing just 12% of the team's offensive snaps. The Kirk/Jones/Jones trio will continue to get most of the targets, and Zay Jones has a slight edge there.

Zay Jones is a solid flex option in fantasy, while Marvin Jones is an intriguing DFS play, but might be a little too inconsistent for season-long purposes.

 

Evan Engram Exists

Finally, we get to Evan Engram. He was actually a dull spot in Sunday's game, as he was targeted just three times, finishing with one reception for nine yards. He did add a two-point conversion, though.

It was a notable drop in usage from what he did in Week 2 against the Colts when he caught seven-of-eight targets for 46 yards.

The former Giant probably shouldn't be in the fantasy conversation at this point, but with how meager the tight end position seems to be, there's a little glimmer of upside. Consider Engram an emergency fantasy option who can fill in if your starting tight end is injured or on a bye week, but the usage patterns so far don't suggest he should be viewed as more than that.



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