AFC South Fantasy Watch: Jaguars Training Camp Issues to Monitor Pre-Draft

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

Jennings could be a sleeper
Jennings could be a sleeperElsa/Getty Images

It's easy to get excited about the return of fantasy football.

The temptation is to get all your friends together on August 1, have a huge party and draft to your heart's content.


I can't speak for the rest of the NFL, but if it's anything like the AFC South, there are too many questions that will be answered in training camp for you to draft that early.

Waiting until after the third preseason game gives you more time to get the first wave of injuries accounted for. Beyond that, every team has unknowns that won't be clear for a few weeks, at least.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are no exception.

Here are three major fantasy questions that training camp and the preseason could answer.


Does Rashad Jennings Have Value?

Backup running backs don't normally have big fantasy value, but Jennings presents an intriguing opportunity for players looking to score big with a late-round or waiver-wire pickup.

He's averaged over five yards a carry in his career, and after missing all of last season with an injury, could bounce back strong in 2012.

First, the savvy owner has to evaluate the play and health of Jennings himself. In 2010, he finished the year with four 10-point games in the final six weeks, making him an ideal wire-steal for a team heading into the playoffs. If he looks healthy and spry in camp, he's a good guy to have on your watch list if he goes undrafted or gets waived early on in your league.

Also keep an eye on on Maurice Jones-Drew's contract situation. If he does end up holding out and comes to camp late and/or out of shape, Jennings could be a great pick for the early season games. He could wind up getting extra carries while Jones-Drew rounds into shape.


Who Should be the First (Only?) Jaguars' Receiver Drafted?

Justin Blackmon has gotten all the headlines, good and bad, this offseason, but Laurent Robinson was a fantasy savior last year.

The advanced metrics crowd loves Robinson, but cynics think he was just the product of Tony Romo's prodigious arm.

Robinson came on strong in Week Four last year, with 116 yards, and piled up nine or more points eight more times after that. For a guy that was undrafted in most leagues, that's big-time production off the waiver wire.

Watch who Blaine Gabbert develops a connection with. It's unlikely either Blackmon or Robinson will be WR2 caliber, but there's a shot one or both could have value in a flex spot.


Will Marcedes Lewis Rebound?

Lewis is the best tight end in football.

Lewis is the worst tight end in football.

Within months, Jaguars fans went from declaring the first sentence boldly to bitterly grumbling out the second.

The real question is which Lewis will fantasy owners get in 2012?

In 2010, Lewis netted owners 10 touchdowns, and seven games of at least eight points. Even so, he had seven weeks where he picked up four points or less. That should have served as a warning sign to owners for 2011.

Lewis was so bad in 2011, from a fantasy perspective, that there was no reason to carry him on a roster. He scored more than four points just twice, had zero touchdowns, as well as five games with one point or fewer.

His only value was in Loser Leagues.

Despite his inconsistency, fantasy owners shouldn't write him off completely until they've watched camp. The 2004 Bills threw seven touchdowns to tight ends in Mike Mularkey's first year there, so it's possible Lewis could be in line for some scoring throws this year.

If he has a strong preseason and seems to have rapport with Gabbert, you might be able to pick up Lewis late in the draft and score a Pro Bowl tight end for little investment.