Kickoff: Sunday, September 11th, at 1:00 PM EST
Location: FedEx Field, Summerfield, Maryland
Betting Odds: JAC +2.5, 44 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)
Trevor Lawrence (Sit)
Take two for Trevor Lawrence. The 1st overall pick from last season had the pleasure of having Urban Meyer as his head coach. It was a disaster of a situation to endure, but Lawrence still managed to eclipse 3000 passing yards, yet only had 10 passing touchdowns on the season. Now with Doug Pederson calling the shots, and a new cast of weaponry, one would think Lawrence can begin to show why he was the highest touted QB prospect since Andrew Luck. All that said, I wouldn’t be comfortable starting Lawrence in a one-QB league, though one can figure Jacksonville will favor the pass plenty this season.
Travis Etienne Jr. (Start, RB2), James Robinson (Sit)
The Jaguars backfield no doubt is one of the more intriguing group heading into 2022. Travis Etienne Jr. is ready to make his NFL debut having suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury last season, and James Robinson appears ready to roll, coming off a torn Achilles. Pederson has already spoken to the fact that Robinson will play this week, though the back I would feel most comfortable starting is Etienne. His rapport with Lawrence dating back to Clemson is the exact reason why Meyer (albeit maybe not being the right selection) drafted him in the 1st round last year. Look for Etienne to be featured out the gate, though time will tell if his ADP (#36 overall/RB19, per FantasyPros) will have been worth it in comparison to Robinson, who is the consensus RB42.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Christian Kirk (Start, WR3), Marvin Jones Jr. (Sit), Zay Jones (Sit), Evan Engram (Sit)
The Jaguars spent plenty of money this offseason, and a lot of it went to the offense with Lawrence in mind. Christian Kirk – perhaps not all that deserving of the contract compared to his peers – got paid, whether we agree with it or not. He’s been brought in to be the WR1 on this Jaguars team, and gets to line up against a Washington team that allowed the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers last season. Kirk set career-highs in 2021 with the Cardinals, having reeled in 77 receptions and 982 yards. I would be comfortable starting him ahead of the likes of Marvin Jones Jr. and speedster Zay Jones. Former Giants headache Evan Engram is the new tight end in Jacksonville, but he quite simply needs to prove he can catch and hold onto the ball before inserting him into your lineup.
Carson Wentz (Sit)
Another year, another new team for Carson Wentz. He’s been brought in to be the QB of the newly named Commanders. Unfortunately, Wentz has had a mixed summer in training camp and is hard to trust in a one-QB league early on. He does get to face his former head coach from the Eagles, but that’s not enough to start him. Wentz is 12% owned on Yahoo and is the consensus QB25 per FantasyPros.
Antonio Gibson (Start, RB2), J.D. McKissic (Sit)
It’s been quite the interesting training camp for Antonio Gibson, who had spells of being on kick-return duty. Gibson has not had the start to his career that both Washington and fantasy players envisioned when he came into the league in 2020 as a third-rounder from Memphis. In 2021 he eclipsed 1000 rushing yards – barely at 1037 – but did it in 16 games (14 started). He’s worthy of an RB2 start this week, especially given the fact that he’s going to command (no pun intended) the bulk of the carries with rookie darling Brian Robinson recovering from his gunshot wounds suffered back on August 28th; not to mention Jaret Patterson was recently released by the team as well. J.D. McKissic is worthy of a bench spot in PPR leagues, but it’s hard to start him in the first week of the season. Look for him to continue to own the role of the pass-catching RB in this offense, especially with Wentz under center.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR1), Jahan Dotson (Sit), Curtis Samuel (Sit), Logan Thomas (Sit)
One could argue Wentz is Terry McLaurin’s best quarterback of his career, but he’s proven he can produce at a high level no matter who is throwing him the ball. McLaurin enters 2022 coming off of back-to-back 1000+ receiving yard seasons, as well as 130+ targets, and an average of 82 receptions in that span. Look for “Scary Terry” to see plenty of targets as the lead receiver of the Commanders WR room. Rookie Jahan Dotson of out Penn State has impressed and is the clear WR2 behind McLaurin. He’s certainly worthy of a bench spot to kick off the year, but time will tell whether he can be relied upon as a FLEX option at best. Curtis Samuel played in just five games last season after signing a free-agent contract with Washington, dealing with a groin injury that limited him to just six catches. Don’t rush to start him, let alone roster him, until he proves he can stay on the field and attempt to mirror the success he had in Carolina. Logan Thomas, remember him? He only played in six games in 2021 due to a knee injury, but 2020 was when he broke out and finished as the TE2 in PPR formats. His ADP this draft season was at a consensus TE26 and #240 overall, which seems to be great value despite coming off the PUP just two weeks ago. On Monday, Thomas himself said he’s uncertain about his playing status for this week, despite his knee feeling good. Sit him this week, and see if he suits up and performs well enough for a Week 2 start.