Shark Bites

We passed along a late-July report from ESPN's Michael DiRocco that Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook was looking like the team's #5 WR. It sounds like that's changed -- and drastically -- over the past couple of weeks. John Oehser of the team's official website believes Westbrook "may be playing his way into a spot among the top three receivers." He ran with the starters in the preseason opener (although WR Keelan Cole was out with an injury) and hauled in 3 balls for 32 yards. "A day rarely has gone by in camp that Westbrook hasn’t stood out, and starting quarterback Blake Bortles appears to be going his way more quickly as camp continues," Oehser writes. "He appears to be putting together the entire approach necessary to be a consistent, productive NFL receiver – and that could be earning him a far bigger role this season than some observers expected." We'll continue to monitor Jacksonville's WR depth chart. Westbrook is worth a look near the end of drafts, but Marqise Lee is probably the only guy in the group we'll be able to trust in early-season fantasy lineups.

The Jaguars on Sunday announced team suspensions for CB Jalen Ramsey and DE Dante Fowler. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the moves come as a result of "violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player." Fowler reportedly got into multiple scuffles with teammate DE Yannick Ngakoue in practice, while Ramsey's misstep appears to have been his actions toward the media following the practice fights. The 2 have reportedly been suspended for a week, which could include the 2nd preseason game. The situations likely won't affect either's standing for the regular season or the team's defense on whole. It is just the latest issue for Fowler, though, who has already been suspended for Week 1 by the league and only came off the PUP list Saturday. The former early 1st-round pick already saw the team refuse the 5th-year option (for 2019) on his rookie contract.

ESPN's Michael DiRocco believes Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole and D.J. Chark are "set" as the Jaguars' top 4 WRs. "Dede Westbrook is the front-runner to win the fifth spot," DiRocco adds. This suggests that Westbrook is not only buried on the depth chart, but also fighting for a roster spot. (Some teams keep just 5 WRs.) We'll see if Westbrook makes a move in the pecking order over the next month. But for now, he's not worth a roster spot in redraft leagues.

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is down to 223 pounds, he told beat writer Jeff Duncan. Fournette checked into last year's Combine at 240 pounds and is listed on the Jags' official site at 228. Regardless of exactly how many lbs. he's dropped, consider it good news for his 2018 fantasy outlook. Fournette will again serve as Jacksonville's workhorse after averaging 23.4 touches per game last year. That gives him upside into the top 5 -- if he can stay healthy. Sports Injury Predictor has Fournette with the highest injury risk among this year's 1st-round fantasy picks.

The NFL has suspended Jaguars DE Dante Fowler for Week 1 of 2018 for violating the personal-conduct policy. The suspension stems from a 2017 arrest. Fowler has been a disappointing contributor since arriving in Jacksonville as a 1st-round pick in 2016 and doesn't sit high in our 2018 IDP rankings anyway.

The Jaguars signed Iowa State WR Allen Lazard as an undrafted free agent. Lazard led the Cyclones in catches (56), yards (808) and TDs (6) as a true sophomore in 2015. He set new career highs with a 69-1,018-10 line in 2016 and posted a 71-941-10 this past season. Lazard is big 6’5, 227-pounder with a 38-inch vertical and an 80th percentile wingspan. But he didn’t always play to that size in college and caught just 39.5% of his contested-catch opportunities last year. Lazard also had a 11% career drop rate and doesn’t offer much after the catch. That said, his combination of size and athleticism (75th percentile SPARQ) makes him worth monitoring. He joins a super crowded Jags WR corps that also added rookie D.J. Chark in the 2nd round of the draft.

The Jaguars added LSU WR D.J. Chark with the 61st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Chark’s stock got a big boost when he ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. He also posted 90th+ percentile marks in the broad and vertical jumps, earning a SPARQ score in the 96th percentile. Chark didn’t post huge numbers at LSU. He went without a single catch in his first 2 seasons before a 26-466-3 line in 2016. This past year brought a quasi-breakout, with Chark hauling in 40 balls for 874 yards and 3 scores. His 21.9 yards per catch led the entire country among players with 40+ receptions. It’s certainly worth noting that Chark played on a bad LSU passing game. He accounted for 22.3% of the catches, 33.0% of the yards and 17.6% of the TDs last year. And his 2.92 yards per route run ranked 12th among draft-eligible receivers, per Pro Football Focus. Chark at least looks like a guy who can bring big-play ability to Jacksonville. But he’ll need to refine the other parts of his game — notably his route running and hands — if he wants to turn into more than a boom-or-bust fantasy option. Chark joins a crowded Jaguars WR group that also includes Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole.

The Jaguars selected Florida DT Taven Bryan 29th in the 1st round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Afterward, executive VP Tom Coughlin called Bryan a "3-technique penetrator" and "outstanding athlete," according to the team website. Bryan totaled just 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss across 3 college seasons, but there could be statistical upside well beyond that as a lead interior rusher on a strong D-line. Bryan crushed the athletic testing at the Scouting Combine, delivering 79th percentile or better results in the 40, vertical, broad jump, 3-cone and short shuttle -- plus a 71st-percentile performance on the bench.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has inked a 2-year deal with the Jaguars. It's a rather disappointing landing spot after ASJ had been connected to the Seahawks and Saints. He should serve as Jacksonville's lead pass-catching TE but will compete for targets with a relatively deep WR group in a run-heavy offense. Seferian-Jenkins' upside is likely a TD-dependent fantasy spot starter.

The Jaguars have signed TE Niles Paul, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Paul flashed with a 39-507-1 line back in 2014 but hasn't been the same player since a fractured ankle cost him the entire 2015 season. He's still only 28, though, and owned a 94th percentile SPARQ score pre-injury. Don't bother drafting Paul in early best-ball leagues, but he'll be worth monitoring this summer.

The Jaguars on Tuesday reached a deal with WR Donte Moncrief, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The former Colt surpassed 32 receptions just once over his 1st 4 seasons and lost 13 games to injuries over the past 2 years. He has plenty to prove before you should treat him as a significant fantasy asset in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have re-signed WR Marqise Lee to a 4-year, $38 million deal. So Jacksonville chose to let WR Allen Robinson walk and bring back Lee for about $4.5 million less per year. The 2014 2nd-rounder's pro career got off to a rough start, with 9 games missed and just 52 catches over his first 2 seasons. But over the past 2, Lee has missed just 2 games and racked up 119 grabs. He looks like the slight favorite ahead of WRs Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole to lead Jacksonville in 2018 targets

The Jaguars are set to sign G Andrew Norwell to a 5-year, $66.5 million deal when free agency kicks off on Wednesday. The $13.3 million annual salary will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Norwell was widely regarded as the best OL available on the free-agent market after ranking 3rd among 77 Gs in Pro Football Focus' 2017 grades. He finished 1st in pass blocking and 8th in run blocking. It's a big addition for both QB Blake Bortles and RB Leonard Fournette.

The Jaguars and QB Blake Bortles have agreed to a new 3-year, $54 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed. The organization has been lukewarm on Bortles (and rightfully so), but obviously thinks he's their best option for now. It's actually a relatively short and cheap deal for a starting QB -- and it reduces Bortles' 2018 cap hit by $9 million. It's possible this contract is structured so that the Jags can get out of it as early as next offseason, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them add a QB at some point during the upcoming draft. Bortles is at least locked in as Jacksonville's 2018 starter, though. As shaky as his play has been at times, he's finished as a top 13 QB in each of the past 3 seasons.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles had surgery on his right (throwing) wrist on January 26, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Bortles reportedly played the entire season with the injury after suffering it in December 2016. We don't have any details on the procedure or his timetable for return, but we'll monitor his progress throughout the offseason.

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) put in a limited practice on Wednesday. He got his ankle twisted in the 1st half of Sunday's win over the Steelers but returned for the 2nd. He'll be out there for this weekend's AFC Championship against the Patriots.

Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon (illness) is inactive for today's playoff game against the Bills. Yeldon wouldn't have been much of a fantasy option anyway, but he accounted for 12 targets, 8 catches and 9 carries over his past 2 games with Leonard Fournette in the lineup. More available touches can only help Fournette in an already strong matchup.

Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon is questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills. He missed practice Thursday and Friday with an illness. We'll see about his game status. Yeldon's obviously not a strong fantasy option but is in play for DFS because of the small slate.

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills. He returned to a limited practice on Friday -- his 1st since going down back in Week 15. It sounds like he'll be active this weekend, but Lee is a risky fantasy play in his 1st game back. It's entirely unclear how the Jags will divvy WR snaps between Lee, Allen Hurns, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook.

A source tells NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that the Jaguars believe WR Marqise Lee (ankle) will play against the Bills on Sunday. Lee didn't practice on Wednesday, and Rapoport suggests he might not practice at all this week. So he obviously won't be at 100% if he suits up this weekend. None of Jacksonville's WRs will be particularly strong fantasy options vs. Buffalo's 5th-ranked WR defense.

 
 
 

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