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2017 Fantasy Football Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jul 8, 2017

Blake Bortles finished 2016 strong and now has a talented, young back to take pressure off him

Geoff Lambert previews the Jacksonville Jaguars and what we can expect from them in 2017.

This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Geoff, head to GoingFor2.com.

Going into 2016, a lot of fantasy owners were excited to see what the Jaguars would do after the numbers they put up in 2015. Quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns were high on everyone’s cheat sheets for 2016. Unfortunately, they did not live up to expectations, in fact, they were downright dreadful, ruining many fantasy seasons.

Now it’s 2017 and we, as fantasy owners, have no idea what to expect from this team. Will they go back to being what they were in 2015 or will they go out and disappoint us yet again?

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QB Blake Bortles – 3,905 PaYds, 23 TDs, 16 INTs
Bortles’ 2016 season is a bit of an enigma. By all accounts, he had a terrible season when compared to his 2015 campaign.

He had 12 fewer TD passes and 500 fewer passing yards, and any owner that drafted him was left feeling like they drafted a bust as their QB. With that said, Bortles still finished as a top-eight quarterback in fantasy last season with 341.2 total points (four-pt passing TD).

He averaged more points per game than Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, and Russell Wilson, yet every one of those guys will go four or five rounds before Bortles, and, in some cases, Bortles will go undrafted. Let’s not give up on him just yet.

The biggest difference from his 2015 season to his 2016 season was his 12 fewer TD passes. Now, I’m not expecting him to throw for 35 TDs as he did two seasons ago, but I do think he can get closer to 30 TDs this year. As long as his coaches don’t give up on him, he will put up top 10 fantasy numbers again.

“What makes me think he can get closer to 30 TDs in 2017?”

This guy…

RB Leonard Fournette – Rookie
Drafting Founette in the first round of this year’s draft gives Bortles something he has never had since coming into the league…the threat of a running game. Here are the leading rushers over the past three seasons for the Jags:

Those guys don’t exactly strike fear in opposing defenses, do they? With Fournette in the backfield, defenses will have to respect the running game, and they won’t be able to double team this talented group of receivers. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns will be given every opportunity to have bounceback seasons, and with the receivers doing their part to keep defenses honest, Fournette will be able to do his own damage on the ground.

Jaguars’ running backs accounted for only eight rushing touchdowns total over the last two seasons. Fournette could have eight touchdowns by Week 11 in 2017 — he is that good.

All in all, Fournette will have a very productive fantasy season, and while it won’t approach Ezekiel Elliott’s rookie season numbers, he will still be worth the risk to draft him. Two seasons ago at LSU he carried the ball 300 times for nearly 2,000 yards and had 22 TDs. The NFL workload won’t be too much for him. Draft him with confidence.

WRs Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee
Two seasons ago both Robinson and Hurns had over 1,000 yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns. Last season, Marqise Lee started to show some promise with 63 receptions, 851 yards, and three touchdowns. The three of them together make for a formidable receiver corps, and with Founette forcing the defenses to play the run, all three could be viable fantasy players.

Robinson is the most likely candidate to return to his 2015 form as Bortles’ favorite target. Hurns and Lee will likely battle for targets, but in a PPR league, both could provide good depth for your bench. I’m not going to reach too high for any of these receivers, but if your league allows them to slip based on last year’s season, I will have no problem having any of them on my team.

Conclusion
The 2017 Jaguars aren’t going to put up same of the gaudy offensive numbers they put up in 2015, nor will they be as bad as the 2016 version. I think they fall somewhere in the middle. Here are my projections for their fantasy seasons…

  • Blake Bortles – 4,150 PaYds, 28 TDs, 13 INTs 
  • Leonard Fournette – 1,150 RuYds, 11 RuTDs
  • Allen Robinson – 80 Rec, 1,200 Yds, 12 TDs
  • Allen Hurns – 60 Rec, 850 yds, 6 TDs
  • Marqise Lee – 50 Rec, 600 yds, 3 TDs

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