Thursday - Mar 21, 2019

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He Said, He Said: Breakout Players

Keith Jordan:
Cecil Shorts
is your man!

Much has been made in recent years over third-year wide receivers and their penchant for breakout fantasy seasons. I personally don’t buy in to that theory, instead choosing to analyze each player and their circumstances individually, regardless of the number of years they have been in the league. Ironically, Jacksonville’s
Cecil Shorts
is a third-year receiver whose talent and opportunity have him poised for a break out campaign. Shorts exploded on the scene last season hauling in 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. I believe this season he is capable of even more production.


Justin Blackmon
is the bigger name in the Jacksonville receiving corps, but he will be sidelined for the first four games following a substance abuse suspension. I expect Shorts to use that time to take hold of the new offense and stake his claim as the team’s go-to receiver. Shorts enters this season having added seven pounds of muscle this offseason to help him get a better release off the line of scrimmage from bigger, more physical defensive backs. In addition to his commitment to getting physically stronger, Shorts attended
Larry Fitzgerald
’s summer camp and displayed great leadership by dragging
Blaine Gabbert
and
Chad Henne
along, allowing him to gain valuable reps with whomever emerges as the team’s signal caller.

I know we are talking the Jaguars offense and many fantasy owners will cringe at the thought of relying on Shorts to produce weekly, but I would argue that his numbers last year were with the same mediocre quarterbacks and a non-existent running game.
Maurice Jones-Drew
expects to come back healthy and should allow the Jaguars to keep defenses honest, opening up the passing game for Shorts.

As draft day nears, Shorts will likely be a trendy name thrown around and we all know value is the name of the game. Players like
Andrew Luck
with more name recognition are more likely to be overvalued at a similarly deep position. Spend your weeks leading up to draft day convincing fellow owners that last season was a fluke and the Jaguars are going to return to a reliance on the running game and then pounce on Shorts as your low WR2 or high WR3 and confidently pencil him in your lineup every week.

Mark Chamberlin: It does take a little “Luck” to win the title.

Sorry, bad pun, I know; but I’m not actually sorry. Anyway, why
Andrew Luck
? According to many opinions he is the best quarterback prospect to enter the league since
Peyton Manning
. I agree, in fact I think he is even better. He has it all, physically and mentally, and unlike Manning he has his legs as an asset, too.

Last season was considered a rebuilding year for the Colts as they started primarily rookies and washed up veterans throughout their offense, with the exception of
Reggie Wayne
while mostly ignoring a porous defense during the offseason rebuild. What did they do as a result? Make the playoffs. They did this on the heels of their offense. It may have been green with rookies, but as it turns out they were oozing with talent. As far as 2014 is concerned, ask any opinion maker in the league and they will tell you the most development an NFL player makes is between year 1 and year 2. That means, if all goes to plan, all of the primary players on their offense, except for
Reggie Wayne
, are going to get significantly better this year.
Andrew Luck
is coming off a top 10 season yet is barely even being drafted in the top 10 among quarterbacks. That is some pretty crazy math, huh?


Additionally, the Colts added another weapon to their arsenal, running back
Ahmad Bradshaw
. How will a running back improve Luck’s performance? According to
Pro Football Focus, Bradshaw was the No. 1 running back in 2012 in regards to pass blocking. Most people who followed the Colts last year noted how beaten up Luck got behind an ineffective offensive line. The fact that the Colts went out and signed the best pass blocking running back in the league is telling in that regard. Simply put, the Colts running back corps in 2012 was not effective at protecting Luck; it is now. The Colts want to be a passing-focused team and are making every move to support this thought process.

My drafts are still a few weeks out and my game plan for those drafts is continually changing, but there is one thing I’ve settled on – I want
Andrew Luck
. I have visions of
Aaron Rodgers
‘ 2009 breakout, also his second year as a starter. Almost 4,500 yards, 30 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, 316 yards on the ground, and another five rushing touchdowns. I will go a round or two early to get him if I have to, based on current average draft position reports on myfantasyleague.com that says I need to pull the trigger in the fifth round. I’m on board with that idea. I’m getting a second- or third-rounder in 2014 so I will profit.

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