2022 AFC South Preview: Fantasy Football Outlook, Sleepers, and Busts

Justin Herrera breaks down the AFC South from a fantasy football perspective.

2021 Review

 

Points per Game 14.9 32nd
Offensive Snaps 1028 28th
2021 Record 3-14 32nd
2022 Vegas Win Projection 6.5 26th

 

 

The Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville lasted longer than it should’ve and thankfully it is over. Last year was a nightmare that was highlighted by their head coach making headlines for partying, kicking kickers, and generally being a nuisance to their QB of the future’s growth.

The Jags in 2022 will be led by Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson. They also went out and signed G Brandon Scherff, WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, and TE Evan Engram. The Jags took Georgia standout DL Travon Walker with the first overall pick in the draft, and Luke Fortner to upgrade the interior line in the third round. The Jags will also be bringing back their two young running backs from season-ending injuries. Overall this team is not ready to compete for a playoff spot, but they have a decent team on paper and need to show the league that they are ready to move out of the basement.

 

Passing Game

 

Passing Yards per Game 202.1 22nd
Passing Touchdowns per Game .7 32nd
Pass Attempts per Game 35.5 T-11th

 

The Jags can’t get much worse than 2022 as a passing offense that threw so much and scored so little. It must be encouraging to have someone like Doug Pederson running your offense, you know an accredited NFL Head Coach. Last year Trevor Lawrence threw the ball for 3,641 yards and had 12 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. His best receiver was Marvin Jones who collected 73 passes for 832 yards and four TDs. Jones will look to continue his role as a deep threat for the team with the addition of slot specialist Christian Kirk who signed a four-year, 72 million dollar contract. Kirk had a big year with the Cardinals, collecting 982 yards and five TDs. He’ll look to continue his role in the slot where he took 49% of his snaps. Zay Jones was another addition to this offense, in 2021 he helped the Raiders get to the playoffs and earned a three-year, 24 million dollar contract. Their final big offensive move was Evan Engram, who will look to turn back the clock to his rookie year with the Jags. You can’t say the Jags aren’t trying to get better this year, but we can wonder if it’s enough to get them out of the basement of the league.

 

Running Game

 

Rushing Yard per Game 103.2 22nd
Rushing Touchdowns per Game .76 23rd
Rushing Plays per Game 23.1 30th

 

The Jaguars ran the ball 38.1% of the time last year and that seems about right for a team that was behind the eight ball more often than not. This year the backfield looks very much the same with the addition of fifth-round pick Snoop Conner. They also have lead-backs Travis Etienne and James Robinson coming off season-ending injuries. The Jags have added some help to their line as well bringing on G Brandon Scherff and third-round pick Luke Fortner out of the University of Kentucky. This team wasn’t bad when they ran the ball last year and with Doug Pederson, at the helm, there’s a very good chance that this team is running it early and often in games. This is a team with a lot of potentially good players for fantasy but there is no doubt that these same players can have a very low floor as well.

 

Sleeper

 

Evan Engram, TE

Evan Engram signed with the Jags after years with the New York Giants. Engram’s rookie year set a standard that Engram has yet to live back up to. Now Engram will get a second chance to be a successful tight end with the Jags. He’ll offer Trevor Lawrence¬†a 6’3 240 LB red zone go-to guy. This move could rejuvenate the young tight ends career, and in order to do that we’re going to have to see Engram prove he can thrive in Doug Pederson‘s tight-end-friendly offense.

 

Deep Sleeper

 

Marvin Jones, WR

Marvin Jones is a hard sell as a deep sleeper until you realize he’s currently ranked as WR69. That’s a crazy spot to have him considering he’s someone who succeeded in Urban Meyer’s nutty system. Last year he had 832 yards and 4 touchdowns on 73 catches.¬† And now this team adds Christian Kirk, who will help alleviate the attention given to Jones and will give defenses a slot/possession receiver to worry about, and they will give Jones the Z receiver spot to essentially go long, hopefully boosting what we saw last year from Jones with 11.4 yards per reception. The Jags will take advantage of this skillset, and Jones will look to be a benefactor in this offense yet again.

 

Bust Candidate

 

Travis Etienne, RB

Coming off a LisFranc injury last year, the best thing that did for Etienne is that he didn’t have to deal with Urban Meyer. This year there is a ton of hype behind Etienne, but I don’t see it. First off Etienne was touted as a specialist receiving back out of Clemson that was going to be familiar with Trevor Lawrence. My main problem with Etienne is he’s had over a year to recover and still James Robinson, who is about 6-7 months back from an Achillies surgery is taking 1st team reps in practice. What is that supposed to tell up about Etienne’s inflated value? Maybe that it is not worth it? Maybe Robinson is a better option in the 11th round?

 

 

Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter)/Photography by Jeffrey Brown, David Rosenblum + Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

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