The top options here include free-agent pickups Nate Washington (31) and Cecil Shorts III (27), and rookie Jaelen Strong, who was taken in the third round with the 70th pick in this year's draft. Strong's start has been delayed a bit, and we'll get to that more later. Coach Bill O'Brien was effusive in his praise of Washington last week. "I really like Nate. I think he's been a good addition to our football team, both from a veteran leadership standpoint and then from his route-running ability. He's really practiced hard all spring. He's been here a lot. He's been out there every day at practice. He's picked up our offense well. He's always communicating with the other receivers and the quarterbacks. I think he's going to add a lot to our offense. I'm glad he's here."
Strong suffered a hamstring injury during the Texans' first OTAs, which is sometimes an injury that is the result of not being in the right condition for practice. He hasn't returned yet, which is a function of those kinds of injuries. Too much time lost will be a big problem, but we aren't there yet. O'Brien called the injury minor a couple of weeks ago.
The WR2 spot in Houston is wide open. Cecil Shorts should be the frontrunner, but it sounds like Washington is the one turning heads. He's a savvy vet who has produced whenever he sees significant targets. Strong is missing valuable reps.
This offseason so far reminds me of the Texans offseasons when it was Andre Johnson and a buncha rando wide receivers competing to see who would be starters. No receiver targets in OTAs have been *oh-wow* type guys where you see a particularly positive future for him when they are in the offense longer.
Texans writer John Harris: When the Texans signed Nate Washington, I wrote a piece on him as it pertained to how his veteran savvy could be seen in his route running. I watched him closely today on a few of his routes and that man can get open in a phone booth. He has a knack of selling his routes to get open and it’s fun to watch a veteran at his age still know how to find seams or win against man coverage.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 4:13pm
WR Nate Washington signed a one-year deal for $1 million, including $30,000 guaranteed.
In PPR formats, Shorts finished #25 in 2012 and #38 in 2013, so he has been fantasy relevant in his career. At this point, we're penciling him in as the starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins, but the team is likely to shore up the receiver position in the draft. Shorts isn't a threat to Hopkins up-and-coming status, and he's capable of turning in a fantasy starter-type season if he stays healthy and gets good quarterback play.
General manager Dave Caldwell said Tuesday he's "hearing good things" about Blackmon, who is suspended indefinitely for repeated violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
"We hope he comes back because we know he's talented," Caldwell said. "But we know he's also a good person that's fighting a tough battle. I think we have to treat it as a luxury. If he comes back, that's great. If he doesn't, we can't count on it."
Caldwell said in April he didn't expect Blackmon to play in 2014. He responded by drafting Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round and adding Allen Hurns as an undrafted free agent. The trio combined to catch 136 passes for 1,647 yards and nine touchdowns as rookies.
Blackmon certainly would bolster the unit, especially if veteran Cecil Shorts III hits free agency as expected. Blackmon voluntarily checked into a 90-day treatment facility earlier this season, and coach Gus Bradley said back then that updates from Blackmon's agent were positive. Blackmon was suspended without pay in November 2013 for at least a year for his latest violation. NFL rules prohibit coaches and general managers from having contact with players suspended indefinitely. Blackmon has already proved he has the talent, but would be a risky fantasy pick aside from a safer spot in the middle of the draft.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 17. Shorts will be fine to face Houston.
Monday, December 8, 2014, 11:02am
Sunday seemed to be the first time in a while when there was a conscious effort to get Jags WR Cecil Shorts going early. He was targeted on the first three plays of the game.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was vague when asked about the start, saying the plan was to get everyone involved. However, QB Blake Bortles acknowledged the script called for Shorts to be the primary read on those plays.
The plan made sense. Houston entered the game ranked 29th defending the pass. Its secondary was vulnerable.
Shorts should have had a productive day against the Texans. Bortles targeted Shorts 10 times, but the end result was a stat line that’s hard to duplicate in its hideousness, the story said - Shorts caught two passes for 3 yards ... on 10 targets. The piece makes it seem like Shorts' opportunities are slipping away. With a younger crop of WRs, it's possible Shorts won't be part of the growing process next year. He has four games left on his rookie contract and has also been hindered by injuries this season.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (illness, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 13. Shorts will play, but is a sketchy start with the way QB Blake Bortles is playing.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 6:20pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (illness) did not practice Wednesday. Shorts should be fine by Sunday.
Bradley said Lee continues to practice well and the rookie had his best two weeks of practice. However, Lee's role right now is as a WR3 with Hurns and Shorts the starters. Obviously by now you know the Jags offense is tough to count on in the fantasy world, but there should be opportunities for both WRs in terms of garbage time production. Hurns and Shorts are probably best suited for deeper leagues.
That's about to change.
With Tuesday's announcement that fellow second-round pick Allen Robinson will miss the final six games because of a stress fracture in his right foot, look for Lee to become more involved in the passing game.
Due in large part to problems with both hamstrings during training camp and early in the regular season, Lee has only 13 receptions for 141 yards and no touchdowns through 10 games.
There's nothing revelatory here, but it gives us a chance to discuss the Jaguar WR corps and how it might look now that Allen Robinson is out of the picture. Cecil Shorts should be the most-targeted player if he can stay healthy, which has been an issue this season. But we believe Allen Hurns will hold the most fantasy value due to his big play ability and status as the #25 fantasy WR this season. In the six games where Hurns has played more than 70% of the snaps, he has averaged 3.8 catches for 65 yards and 0.8 TD (on 7.3 targets), or 11.5 fantasy points, which are strong WR2 numbers. We can't count on the touchdowns, but the yardage is reasonable. The only issue with Hurns at this point is that he was knocked out of Week 10 with a concussion, and his status for Week 12 is unclear. As for Lee, we believe he'll serve as the team's WR3 as he hasn't played more than 40% of the snaps since Week 2. With TE Marcedes Lewis due back in Week 12, we don't see Lee as a major fantasy factor barring an injury to Shorts and/or Hurns.
Robinson broke his foot during Sunday's loss to Dallas in London.
A second-round draft pick from Penn State, Robinson has been one of Jacksonville's bright spots on offense this season. He had 48 receptions for 548 yards and two touchdowns, outperforming veteran Cecil Shorts III and fellow rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns.
The Jaguars (1-9) say Robinson is seeking a second opinion regarding whether or not to have surgery.
The loss of Robinson means closer looks at rookies Lee and Hurns for the rest of the season as it's all about 2015 for the Jags. Robinson could very well come back as the team's number one, but for the most part, things are wide open for a lot of skill positions outside of quarterback.
Friday, November 7, 2014, 6:15pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring, probable) returned to take full practice reps Friday after missing practice Thursday and is probable for Week 10. Shorts is suddenly on track to start against the Cowboys. His return undercuts any Sneaky Start value Allen Hurns had built up this week.
Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6:28pm
Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (ankle) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Lee turned an ankle in practice, though his return is encouraging. Lee could serve as the #3 WR behind Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns if Cecil Shorts remains out.
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