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Why Fantasy Owners Can Rely on Cecil Shorts in Week 8 vs. 49ers

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Why Fantasy Owners Can Rely on Cecil Shorts in Week 8 vs. 49ers
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars might be the most anemic offensive team in the NFL, but that doesn't mean wide receiver Cecil Shorts is fantasy trash.

The winless Jaguars have an unenviable matchup this week against the 4-2 San Francisco 49ers in London, that's for sure. 

However, Shorts has been a reliable WR No. 3 this season, and there's no question about his Week 8 availability after he reportedly played through the pain of a sprained SC joint in his shoulder in Week 7:

Here's a quick look at Shorts' production through seven games: 

Cecil Shorts' 2013 Production
Targets Catches Yards TDs
Week 1 vs. Chiefs 10 3 40 0
Week 2 at Raiders 14 8 93 0
Week 3 at Seahawks 15 8 143 0
Week 4 vs. Colts 12 7 61 0
Week 5 at Rams 11 5 74 1
Week 6 at Broncos 0 0 0 0
Week 7 vs. Chargers 13 8 80 0
Totals 76 39 491 1

ESPN

(*Shorts injured his shoulder in the first quarter of Week 6's outing against the Denver Broncos)

Pretty respectable numbers, right? 

When it comes to fantasy wideouts, first and foremost, owners want targets. 

Shorts is getting plenty of those. 

For perspective, only Vincent Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals have seen more targets than the Jaguars wideout thus far. 

If the injury against Denver never occurred, Shorts would probably be the NFL's leader in passes thrown his way.

Don't let the catch percentage of 52.7 scare you away.

/Getty Images
Shorts has statistically outperformed Hilton so far in 2013

It's better than the catch percentage rates of Jackson, T.Y. Hilton and Mike Wallace, and Shorts' 491 receiving yards are one yard shy of Calvin Johnson's current total yet higher than the totals of Wes Welker, Pierre Garcon and Larry Fitzgerald.

Jacksonville's dealt with a quarterback carousel in 2013, and it sounds like Chad Henne will get the nod against a San Francisco defense that's allowed the third-fewest yards per drive this season, per Football Outsiders:

Neither Henne nor Blaine Gabbert have shown necessarily encouraging play this season, but Henne has been the more prolific passer of the two:

Comparing Chad Henne to Blaine Gabbert in 2013
Completion Percentage Yards Per Attempt Yards Per Game TD% INT%
Chad Henne 59.5 7.1 186.5 1.2 2.9
Blaine Gabbert 48.8 5.6 138.0 1.2 8.1

ESPN

Ugly stats, but quite the disparity in general quarterback effectiveness. 

Shorts caught his only touchdown of the year from Henne against the Rams. He made three grabs for 40 yards against the Chiefs and caught seven passes for 61 yards with Gabbert under center.

How many fantasy points will Cecil Shorts score this week

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In short, Shorts' most productive games in 2013 have come when Henne has been in at quarterback for the Jaguars. 

Sure, the 49ers' defense will likely dominate Jacksonville's offense. 

But Shorts will reach his double-digit target number, make some plays—potentially most of them late, with the score out of reach—and piece together another fine fantasy day for his owners. 

If you're in a PPR league—who isn't these days?—although the matchup is ugly, get Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Cecil Shorts into your lineup this week. 

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