Thomas was tied with Rob Gronkowski as the #1 TE through 10 weeks (in standard formats), but suffered an ankle injury which limited him to just five catches for 66 yards as he appeared in four of his team’s final seven games. He has considerable talent as a pass-catcher, but this is a huge system downgrade from Denver to Jacksonville. He'll no longer enjoy the benefits of playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense and will instead be relying on Blake Bortles to deliver the ball. He's also dealing with a finger issue which is going to require surgery and a 4-5 week recovery, so it appears that he'll miss the first three games at least. Move him down your draft boards.
Monday, August 24, 2015, 9:05am
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie receiver Rashad Greene got a lot of early playing time against the New York Giants on Saturday night and it sounds like that's going to continue throughout the rest of the preseason.
Coach Gus Bradley said the team made the decision to use more three receiver formations with tight end Julius Thomas (fractured hand) out for the rest of the preseason. With Marqise Lee out with a hamstring injury, Greene got the extra work. He was on the field a lot with the first-team offense during its three drives and was targeted four times and caught two passes for 14 yards.
"With the injury to Julius it put us in a position where we wanted to play with three-wide a little bit more and really evaluate that position," Bradley said. "[Greene] took advantage of it [with] a nice catch in the game and just some of the things that we've seen in practice."
Greene had a quiet start to training camp and that might have partly because of a sore Achilles, Bradley said. Once that eased, Greene started making plays, the story said. One might assume that once Thomas returns, the Jags may use less three-WR sets. Greene's fantasy value is still a question mark with so much young talent at the position and a young QB behind a line that sometimes struggles. He's at least a name to monitor as he seems to be taking advantage of the injuries.
“Right now, it’s just a healing situation,” he said in the locker room today. “Hopefully, it if goes really well, I’m back before then, running around and feeling great.”
Thomas was injured on the Jaguars’ second offensive snap Friday night against Pittsburgh. The injury will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Thomas caught a 2-yard pass from Blake Bortles and was hit by cornerback William Gay. Thomas had just enough time to leave his feet. Thomas should at least be a big red zone target for the Jags this year giving him some solid fantasy value. But owners may want to have a backup at the position in case Thomas isn't ready to start the season.
Update: The AP's Mark Long reports that Thomas is "out for preseason with a stable fracture of his left hand."
We'll have to wait for the injury fallout and hope that he doesn't miss any regular season games. Thomas was tied with Rob Gronkowski as the #1 TE through 10 weeks (in standard formats), but suffered an ankle injury which limited him to just five catches for 66 yards as he appeared in four of his team’s final seven games. He has considerable talent as a pass-catcher, but this is a huge system downgrade from Denver to Jacksonville. He'll no longer enjoy the benefits of playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense and will instead be relying on Blake Bortles to deliver the ball. If the Jaguars feature him in the passing game -- and why wouldn't they? -- he has the potential to finish as a solid fantasy TE1 provided he can stay healthy. He already has a finger injury, so staying healthy will be a challenge.
Blake Bortles has looked good throughout camp, but appeared to reach a different level on Wednesday. Bortles completed 10 of 15 passes in 11-on-11 work and was 7 of 8 in seven-on-seven while being more aggressive with the ball downfield than usual.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley praised Bortles’ work ethic in learning Greg Olson’s offense in the summer. Bortles says he can tell he’s playing faster in his decision making. He’s also making the right decisions more than last season.
“It’s more educated now,” Bortles said. “I’m knowing the matchup and situation better. Last year, it was like, let’s chunk it. It’s definitely more of an educated guess now.”
“We have three guys that can go catch a fade at any moment. It’s awesome to have weapons like that. They can get up and jump and make plays. It’s definitely going to be fun to do that.”
Bortles averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, which led to a #24 finish at his position. He's a passer who could make a leap in his second season if the Jaguars can give him time to throw and he can clean up his fundamentals. The receiving corps is young but talented, with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee all capable of producing when given the opportunity. The team signed Julius Thomas to provide a dangerous weapon at tight end. Bortles averaged nearly 30 yards rushing, so he offers some baseline production as a runner. If Bortles can make a leap, the Jacksonville offense will be a lot better than expected.
Jags WR Allen Robinson spent the first several months of 2015 rehabbing his foot and began the offseason conditioning program cleared only for some individual work. It wasn’t until the next-to-last week of OTAs that he was cleared to participate in individual drills.
He was immediately noticeable. Though rules prohibit the media from describing exactly what happened during OTAs and minicamp, Robinson was the most impressive offensive player on the field -- even more so than tight end Julius Thomas, the prize of the Jaguars’ free-agency class.
"He’s been unbelievable," quarterback Blake Bortles said on the next-to-last day of a three-day minicamp. "I know he worked really hard in the training room to rehab and trying to get back as quickly as he could, and he’s done that. You guys have been able to see him go and make plays and he’s definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He’s physical; he can run and do everything out in the open field, so he’s been fun to throw to."
Robinson said he feels comfortable with his knowledge of coordinator Greg Olson’s new offense so far despite not having a lot of reps, but that’s not a surprise since he did miss all that time last year during OTAs, minicamp and the preseason and still was the Jaguars’ best receiver through the first 10 games of 2014. He caught at least four passes in all but one game. The Jaguars made addressing the offensive line a priority in free agency and the draft. That should mean the passing game will be significantly better, which will give Robinson a chance to have a breakout season. The Jaguars haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2005. Robinson may have a chance to break that streak, the story said. Robinson is 33rd on our list and could presents a nice value in the middle rounds. Before his injury, he put up fringe WR2 numbers.
There are plenty of ways to break down just how bad the Jaguars' offense has been the past several seasons, but the best way to illustrate the ineptness is by looking at how the unit has performed in the red zone.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Jaguars scored an NFL-low 13 touchdowns and completed an NFL-worst 39.1 percent of passes on an NFL-low 85 snaps in 32 red zone possessions in 2014. They were still last in TDs and completion percentage if you include the 2013 season, too.
The blame is spread between the quarterbacks, offensive line, backs and receivers, and play calling. Not much the Jaguars have tried the past two seasons has worked consistently and as a result the team has averaged just 15.5 points per game the past two seasons.
Things could be significantly better in 2015, though, thanks to the addition of tight end Julius Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was not only one of the league's better tight ends the past two seasons – catching 108 passes, including 24 for touchdowns – he was one of the NFL's most effective players in the red zone.
Thomas had 13 catches in the red zone in 2014, including nine for touchdowns. Only Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb had more (10) and Thomas had the same number as New England's Rob Gronkowski, Miami's Mike Wallace, New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, and San Diego's Antonio Gates, the story said. Obviously potential owners of Thomas need to keep in mind the situation is now a little bit different. The Jags don't have the same weapons Denver had a year ago that also needed to be accounted for in the red zone, and don't forget about Peyton Manning as the QB. Still, Thomas will be looked at as a big red zone option, and if the Jag WRs can step up as threats, that should also help Thomas' chances to continue his success. Thomas is ranked eighth among our TEs and is available in the middle of drafts.
“(Green) still has huge upside and possibilities,” said Chargers TE coach Pete Metzelaars. “Last year he had to fight through a number of different injuries at different times, so I am excited for him this year. He is an asset in the passing game, and has deceptive speed. So I’m looking forward to putting him into situations to take advantage of that, but also challenge him to put more tools into his toolbox.”
“He seems faster than he’s ever been,” quarterback Philip Rivers acknowledged. “He certainly seems that way with the way he’s moving. Some of that comes with (having) more and more confidence. You just naturally gain that the more you play and the more comfortable you are in an offense. When you don’t have to think or do as much, you do play a little bit faster.”
“He’s looked really good and he needs to be a bigger part…” Rivers said. “We need to have him be a weapon for us because he could be a heck of a matchup for us against some defenses.”
Gates will miss the first four games due to a suspension for PED use. Green figures to see starter's snaps with Gates sidelined. In the five career games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
Owen Daniels and Virgil Green appear locked in on the top two spots, and depending on the frequency at which the Broncos use certain personnel groups, could both end up with play counts that reflect being starters. It was appropriate that their contracts were finalized within 24 hours of each other in free agency, because the two are best viewed as a collective as the Broncos work to build a deep tight end complement after Julius Thomas left for the Jaguars and Jacob Tamme joined the Falcons in free agency.
If both Daniels and Green play starter's snaps, then it's not going to leave much playing time for Cody Latimer as the team's WR3. Marlon Brown (40%) and Kamar Aiken (26%) didn't play enough to be fantasy relevant under Kubiak last year. However, things could change if Latimer makes a leap in training camp.
Daniels and Green appear locked in on the top two spots, and depending on the frequency at which the Broncos use certain personnel groups, could both end up with play counts that reflect being starters.
Julius Thomas, who scored 24 touchdowns the last two years, left for Jacksonville. We rank Daniels 16th on our TE list, but project him for only about 5 TDs this season. While Daniels has the experience in Gary Kubiak's offense, and Green the experience with QB Peyton Manning the last four years, the story points out the job description for the tight ends is a bit different than it was the last three seasons - there'll be a bit more blocking involved. Daniels ADP is the 12th round, however. Compared to those around him, that's about three rounds earlier than Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert who are ranked ahead of Daniels on our list.
Even before the suspension, Green was due a bigger role in the offense. If the Chargers utilize his natural abilities and he shows he’s ready for primetime, Gates will have to settle for a reduced role when he returns.
Given how effective Gates was last year, it's hard to see the team benching him for Green even if Green lights it up in the first month of the season. One thing's for sure -- Gates's suspension has thrown a pretty settled situation up in the air. In the five career games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates will be suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, the league informed the Chargers on Thursday.
Gates's statement included the following:
“In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions."
Gates will be eligible to return in Week 5. Ladarius Green figures to see starter's snaps with Gates sidelined. In the five games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' shoulder didn't require surgery, said HC Jim Caldwell, who referred to it as a "dead arm" suffering from inflammation, forcing a reduction in practice reps after roughly 17 months straight of throwing through the quarterback's last year at Central Florida, the pre-draft process and his first NFL season.
A toe injury suffered in a December loss to the Baltimore Ravens exacerbated things by disrupting Bortles' footwork but didn't stop him from making a start four days later against the Tennessee Titans (one of the Jaguars' three wins).
"A lot of it was good until some of those (injuries) happen," said Caldwell. "Now he's gotten healthy, and he's gotten back to really taking care of his body. I just asked him today, 'How's your body feel compared to this time last year?'
"He said it's night and day, man."
Bortles averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, which led to a #24 finish at his position. He's a passer who could make a leap in his second season if the Jaguars can give him time to throw and he continues to clean up his fundamentals. The receiving corps is young but talented, with Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns all capable of producing when given the opportunity. The team signed Julius Thomas to provide a dangerous weapon at tight end. Bortles averaged nearly 30 yards rushing, so he offers some baseline production as a runner.
Robinson missed the end of last season with a stress fracture in his foot, and then was limited early in the on-field portion of the offseason program. Once he returned to full speed around the third week of organized team activities early this month, he emerged quickly as one of the standout players of the offseason. He had the offseason look of a player on the rise, and if that look translates to the regular season, he could be a go-to player at a position where the Jaguars haven’t had one in a while.
Just because we’ve talked about Robinson a lot in the last few weeks doesn’t mean he’s the Jaguars’ only young, ascending receiver. Lee missed OTAs and minicamp with a knee injury, but he was close to being on the field during minicamp in June. He appears to have matured after struggling early in his rookie season and he has more explosiveness than any other Jaguars wide receiver. Hurns has been steady, consistent and reliable in a little more than a year since joining the Jaguars. He must reduce his drops, but he showed last season he can get open against NFL defenses.
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-974-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. In other words, he posted fringe WR2-type numbers before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. He should be better this year, provided new TE Julius Thomas doesn't gobble up all the targets. Lee and Hurns are both late-round types as it's not completely clear who is next in the pecking order.
Shocker, right? The way he moved around the practice field this month was unlike any player of the Caldwell-Bradley Era. For a franchise that’s been without difference making players, Thomas checks that important box.
If Thomas wasn’t leaping to catch a Blake Bortles catch down the seam — with a linebacker trailing him, he was running a post pattern to catch a Bortles offering — with a safety scrambling to cover him.
It's not shocking, but maybe a bit surprising. Thomas was a very productive tight end in Denver, but we're worried about the quarterback and offense downgrade to Blake Bortles and Jacksonville. He should offer at least baseline fantasy TE1 numbers, but we're dubious about a top 5 finish.
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