Update August 31: Conley has made plays here and there while Westbrook has been out with a shoulder injury. Shenault is a little banged up and sat out of a scrimmage Saturday, but he isn’t dealing with anything too serious. Shenault remains the player with the highest upside among the wideouts behind Chark.
Update August 24: Laviska Shenault is gaining traction while Dede Westbrook is out with a shoulder injury. Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell said the rookie could’ve been a top-two receiver for Jacksonville had he left college a year earlier, so it looks like he’s the frontrunner to back up D.J. Chark.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a wild season last year. A Week 1 injury to Nick Foles opened the door for Gardner Minshew to become a starter. While Jacksonville only finished the season 6-10, Minshew was able to make the most of his receiving corps. The Jaguars were a middle-of-the-road team when it came to passing yards, but D.J. Chark was able to establish himself as a rising star.
Chark tallied 73 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight scores in his second pro season and was a top 20 wideout in standard and PPR leagues. He’s clearly the frontrunner to be Gardner’s top target, but Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. will battle it out for the WR2 spot.
While Westbrook recorded 19 more receptions than Conley last year, Conley had the edge in receiving yards and touchdowns. Westbrook also amassed 21 more targets than Conley. The 26-year-old appears to me more vital to the offense. Shenault is a wild card. The 2020 second-round pick is a utility player who can run the ball, return kicks, and be split out wide. He isn’t the fastest, but his bruising running style, size, and versatility could help him jump past Conley and Westbrook on the depth chart.
While none of these receivers are locks to have significantly better stats than the others, Westbrook and Shenault are the most dangerous. Conley’s athleticism is elite though, so monitoring how the battle goes in camp will be essential when determining the value of each player. Westbrook will go in as the incumbent and should be able to again see a good number of targets in 2020.