Jaguars' fantasy questions for the offseason

Posted Feb. 14, 2012 @ 12:46 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

15th in a series.                                                                

The Jaguars have a new head coach in former Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. As the head coach of the Bills in 2004-05, Mularkey had a 14-18 record. At the end of the '05 season, he did not agree with the direction of the team and resigned. In 2006, Mularkey became offensive coordinator for Nick Saban in Miami and the regime was a miserable failure. After moving on, he proved himself again in Atlanta and he has overcome his own challenges to get a second shot at being a head coach in the league. 

Mularkey is given credit for developing QB Matt Ryan, who quickly progressed, although 2011 was a setback based on fantasy expectations. Ryan's development is one of the reasons the Jaguars hired Mularkey. The job to develop Blaine Gabbert is a much greater task for Mularkey than developing Ryan. If anything; it's the lack of a supporting cast. While Mularkey might have various pros and cons as a coach, so did Bill Belichick before taking the Patriots' job.

What does the team do with QB Blaine Gabbert?

Fantasy owners love to knock Gabbert, but he never had quality wide receivers or consistent protection — he was sacked 40 times during his rookie season. If you look at Jack Del Rio's offense, it was never a QB-friendly scheme for fantasy owners. One can argue that Gabbert never had a chance. Never a fantasy starter, the real question boils down to dynasty owners and keeping him.

In 15 games he averaged 147.6 yards and 0.8 TDs with 0.7 interceptions. Gabbert's not much of a runner, rushing for 48-98-0 on the season, which boils down to 6.53 yards per game. He has no fantasy value entering the offseason and if the team does not upgrade the WR corps all hope is lost for him as an eventual fantasy candidate. Gabbert should be held in dynasty leagues if you have the room; if you need the slot, waive him. He might take longer to develop, as the team has to rebuild at certain positions. Once he begins to play well, then it's time to consider picking him up during the season on the waiver wire.

Where do you draft RB Maurice Jones-Drew?

With questions at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end, this is a team for which fantasy owners will look at only Jones-Drew and then move on. MJD had 343-1606-8 rushing and 43-374-3 receiving on 63 targets and will be one of the highest rated running backs going into 2012. We know his value and where he goes will be based on scoring rules, but he'll be a high draft pick again. As far as Rashad Jennings, who missed all of last season with a knee injury after looking promising in 2010, look for him to back up Jones-Drew.

What does the team do to begin rebuilding the WR position?

Look for the team to find a quality wide receiver through free agency as well as the draft, as the only receiver who had fantasy value was Mike Thomas — and he only had 44-415-1 receiving last season. We won't see much until free agency and once the draft takes place. Until then, this position has no value and is too volatile to determine. 

Can TE Marcedes Lewis continue to develop or has he peaked?

Mularkey is a former tight end and already has praised Lewis as one of the league's best blocking tight ends. That doesn't bode well for Lewis' fantasy prospects, and please note that the offense will revolve around MJD in the power rushing offense. Remember, Michael Turner flourished with the Falcons for fantasy owners and that will be this team's strength. Don't look at Lewis as being draftable, as the league is heavy with No. 2 fantasy tight ends who are in much more pass-friendly offenses than this one.

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