NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have had a busy offseason. They traded away QB Nick Foles, CB A.J. Bouye, and DL Calais Campbell and acquired TE Tyler Eifert, DB Rashaan Melvin, LB Hoe Schobert, and DE Rodney Gunter, while franchise tagging Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue wants out and they are looking to trade him, but so far have found no takers for his high price.
Starter: Gardner Minshew
Backups: Joshua Dobbs
Gardner Minshew played well his rookie season, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions while rushing 67 times for 344 yards. He did have fumbling issues and was inconsistent, but for a rookie, he was above average.
His play appears to have won him the starting job in Jacksonville for now, as the team traded away Nick Foles and haven’t made a move for another quarterback. They still might, but they aren’t keen on replacing Minshew at the moment.
Starter: Leonard Fournette
Backups: Ryquell Armstead
Fournette took a step forward in fantasy last season due to his good usage as a receiver, but had trouble getting into the end zone. He finished as RB9 in half PPR last season despite scoring just three time. His 73 receptions topped his career high by 40 and his 4.3 yards per carry was the highest of his three seasons in the league.
The touchdown numbers should come up at least slightly, with a chance for strong numbers under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, as he is more run-oriented around the goal line.
Starters: D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley
Backups: Marquise Lee, Keelan Cole
D.J. Chark had a strong second-year, finishing as WR17 with 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. New OC Jay Gruden could hamper some passing stats compared to last season, but Chark has established himself with Minshew throwing to him and should be able to continue playing at a high level without much competition as the No. 1 target.
There is talent behind Chark, but I wouldn’t expect Westbrook or Conley to have much consistency in what will likely be an average offense at best. Conley has the most upside of the non-Chark receivers if he can stay healthy.
Starter: Tyler Eifert
Backups: Josh Oliver, James O’Shaughnessy
Josh Oliver would have been in line for the No. 1 tight end job, but the team grabbed Tyler Eifert in free agency. That casts some doubt on Oliver’s longterm prospects with the team and pushes Eifert into fantasy value in two tight end leagues. His injury history is still very much a concern though, which will likely push him off your draft board in most leagues.