Stop the presses! Someone on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars has fantasy value. I know, it's hard to believe, but Justin Blackmon is on a tear.
In case you missed it—and I wouldn't blame you because there has been very little reason to check the Jaguars' box scores this season—the second-year receiver hauled in 14 passes for 190 yards Sunday in a 35-19 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Blackmon was targeted by quarterback Chad Henne a massive 20 times in that game. No other Jaguar had more than five targets.
After being forced to sit out the first four games of the season due to a suspension for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Blackmon has made a huge impact in the two games since his return to action.
His first action came in a Week 5 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Blackmon caught five balls for 136 yards and a touchdown.
Both of these games speak to his potential as a prime fantasy player, and he should continue to be just that as the season continues.
Blackmon's presence has helped give the anemic Jaguars a more viable offense. In the first four games of the year, which were played without Blackmon, the winless Jaguars averaged just 224 yards of offense. In the past two, that average has jumped to 362.5 yards.
Granted, the Broncos are ranked 32nd in pass defense, but the Rams are a decent 18th. Besides, Blackmon can suffer a drop-off from his recent production and still be a big asset on a fantasy roster.
That is good news for anyone looking to add Blackmon because a drop-off is surely coming. The quality of the pass defense's Blackmon will face for the majority of the remainder of the season will be vastly improved:
|Week||Opponent||Pass Defense Rank|
|7||San Diego Chargers||27|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||6|
Another factor to consider with Blackmon's future production is his teammate Cecil Shorts. Shorts is the Jaguars' leading receiver and most targeted player. However, he was forced to leave Sunday's game after just the third play due to an injury:
Shorts wouldn't say how serious injury is but said its AC joint under clavicle and not a shoulder injury. #jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) October 14, 2013
Shorts on playing Sunday: "I’m going to do what I can, we’ll see what happens. My goal is to get out there and play this week." #Jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) October 14, 2013
Shorts' return will cut into the 23-year-old's targets, but it will also take some of the defense's attention away from Blackmon. It is also fairly clear that Blackmon is the team's No. 1 option in the passing game, so he will get a heavy diet of targets regardless of what's going on around him.
At this point, it is safe to put Blackmon in the starting lineup and leave him there.