Scheme and Metrics fantasy team preview- we’ll take a look at each of the 32 teams and look at a combination of offensive scheme/philosophy and some player metrics to give us something else to think about when drafting our fantasy squads this summer. In this edition, we’ll look at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• The Jaguars fired OC Nathaniel Hackett- he completely ignored analytics and usually ran from heavy run personnel while predictably throwing consistently out of 11 personnel. Because they were so predictable, their offense was horrible- far worse than the sum of their parts. In comes John DeFilippo as OC, and he’s been one of the pass-heavier play-callers on early downs, and that can make Fournette more effective as well as allowing new QB Nick Foles to be in positive/manageable passing situations. In terms of background, I expect DeFilippo to use many elements that the Eagles have used over the past few years- Foles may not be a great QB, but this system will define reads and not require him to beat defenses with his arm, which is what this coach/QB duo did when they worked together.
• Dede Westbrok has an 83rd percentile 40-yard-dash time, though he possesses just 38th percentile explosiveness and 16th percentile agility, but he may just be one of those guys who can just play football despite the measuarables.
• Keelan Cole dropped so many passes last year that he was benched, and he won’t wow anyone with his metrics- he has less than 20th-percentile speed, but he does have 67th percentile agility, so in a functional offense, he should be able to get open and be a reliable possession WR with the occasional big play sprinkled in.
• Chris Conley never got going, even with Andy Reid as his coach in KC. If he couldn’t make it there, it’s hard to believe the Jaguars will make him a great player. You’ve gotta love his profile- 98th-percentile speed and 100th percentile explosiveness, but his agility is just 33rd percentile, so he’s not the type of player who’ll set up DBs and make them pay. Also, his big-play speed hasn’t really materialized at the NFL-level- we’ll see if he earns a prominent role and if John DeFilippo can unlock him.
• Foles’ familiarity with the offense, along with the play calling, opens up the offense. Fournette not only stays healthy but is used as a receiver against stacked boxes and a runner in short-yardage situations and against light boxes. They also use play-action to get their WRs into favorable situations, and this becomes a slightly above-average offense.
• Outside of Philly, Foles is exposed as a career backup that was made better by the team around him in Philly. As a result, teams stack the box consistently to stifle Fournette, and they dare Foles to beat them with his arm, which he’s unable to do. As a final insult, fans are hoping the team trades for Blake Bortles!
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• Fournette has had bad injury luck so far, but his lack of production was due to him running into stacked boxes in predictable situations. He really is an excellent back, and now he’ll get the chance to prove it. His ADP has been being drafted as a middling RB2, but used properly, he could be the player who was being drafted in the first round that past couple seasons. I’ll aggressively target him if he’s healthy during camp.
• Westbrook primarily plays in the slot and especially with the new OC, he could be used as a weapon on early downs, as John DeFilippo aggressively attacks defenses through the air on traditional running downs. In addition, Nick Foles has a long history of success throwing down the middle of the field- especially at a cheap ADP, he could emerge as a strong WR3.
• I’m fading the rest of the Jaguars’ WRs because I don’t expect any to stand out, and the passing volume will likely be on the low side.
• If I need a QB3 late in leagues that require two starting QBs, Foles looks like he has a great schedule, and as an emergency starter, I could do worse.