2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: How does Marqise Lee's injury change Jaguars' offense?
The Jaguars lost Marqise Lee in their most recent preseason game. What does this offense look like without him?
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Marqise Lee suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury in the team's third preseason game. While we don't yet know the severity of the injury it was the type that Fantasy owners should consider it major until they hear otherwise. We certainly hope it looked worse than it was and he makes a full and speedy recovery.
If Lee is lost for the season this would be a big blow to the Jaguars. Yes, they have plenty of depth at the position, but Lee was projected to lead the team in targets, and CBS Sports NFL Senior Writer Pete Prisco said he expected Lee to be Bortles favorite targets on third downs and on intermediate routes. With that in mind, let's take a look at what the Jaguars receiving corps looks like without Lee.
Keelan Cole is another Prisco favorite, and actually led the team in receiving yards in 2017. He isn't as good underneath as Lee but he's the best deep threat on the team. I can't project him for the 120 targets I'd projected for Lee because of the types of routes he runs, but he becomes the team's No. 1 receiver in Fantasy.
Dede Westbrook has an excellent opportunity to take over a chunk of the Lee role. He has arguably the best pedigree and flashed at times last year. I don't mind spending a late round pick on him with the hope that he assumes Lee's role entirely.
Donte Moncrief and D.J. Chark will also get a bump in projections, but there's an important thing to keep in mind here: The Jaguars were one of the most run-heavy teams in the league last year. Their defense is still phenomenal. It will be difficult for any receiver in this offense to truly breakout without a large share of the targets.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett have been together for four years (two in Buffalo) so we have a pretty solid history on them, but last year was a true outlier, largely because of how good their defense was. The Jaguars ran the ball just as much as they passed it in 2017 and Blake Bortles had his lowest pass attempt total since his rookie season. From a football perspective, this worked extremely well, and I can't imagine the Jaguars will want to change much.
I do have the team throwing the ball slightly more than they did last year, if only because such a run-heavy attack is so rare in today's NFL. But I also have them as one of the most run-reliant offenses in the league. Hackett has been consistent about involving running backs in the passing game, so that really puts a strain on the volume at receiver and tight end. The Jaguars didn't have anyone reach 100 targets in 2017 and I wouldn't be shocked if that happens again.
- Leonard Fournette is going to have to be more efficient if he wants to join the elite class of running backs. He averaged just 3.9 YPC last season, which was nearly half a yard lower than the team average.
- Two of the last three years Hackett's offense has targeted the tight end position less than 100 times. But the one exception (2016) saw 148 targets go that way. If that happens again Seferian-Jenkins could be a top-ten tight end.
- The Jaguars should be the first DST selected, and I'm OK reaching a round earlier than I would for any other defense.
T.J. Yeldon is the Fournette handcuff, but I would love to see the team get the ball in Corey Grant's hands more often. Grant carried the ball 30 times last year and produced 248 yards and two scores. Three of his 68 career carries have gone for more than 50 yards. It takes at least one injury for Grant to get a true shot, but he could be flex-ish if he's sharing the role with T.J. Yeldon.
There's no one on the roster that makes me think D.J. Chark can't get targets in this offense, but it will still be extremely low volume and there is plenty of reason to question what Chark will do with those targets. He had a great training camp and it wouldn't be a surprise if he eventually passes Moncrief.
So what Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which wide receiver can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
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