• Inside the Locker Room
With Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union
How much of an issue is Maurice Jones-Drew’s knee?
His trainer, Pete Bommarito, says there’s no reason Jones-Drew won’t return to full strength after having arthroscopic knee surgery in January. Jones-Drew himself insists he’s training hard and working to bring his weight down, which in turn will reduce the wear and tear on his knee. The knee shouldn’t be a problem, but fantasy owners should note that the Jaguars might be a little more cautious with the number of carries they pile on him. He carried the ball 312 times in 2009, and last season, on a torn meniscus, he notched 299 carries in only 14 games.
With first-round pick Blaine Gabbert there, how long does David Garrard remain the starter?
If he’s as good as the Jaguars coaches think he is, Gabbert will be the starter eventually; it’s just a matter of how long Garrard continues to be the better option. Garrard has a distinct advantage in that he knows the system and the playbook better than Gabbert. Also, he’s more seasoned, and the shortened offseason won’t hurt him as much as it will hurt Gabbert. Garrard’s often unpredictable, but it’s unlikely he’ll lose his starting job in camp. If he struggles during the season, look for Gabbert to take over.
Can tight end Marcedes Lewis repeat his solid 2010 season?
The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Lewis, but he is looking for a long-term deal. Being in the last season of his contract was part of Lewis’ motivation in having a career year last season. He’s not the type of player who will take the foot off the gas once he gets a big contract.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: TB, @ATL, @TEN
Just make it to the end, MJD. Waiting for you are two teams (Tampa Bay and Tennessee) that were in the bottom 12 in fantasy points allowed to RBs in 2010. MJD went for 186 yards on a bum knee in Week 13 vs. the Titans last year. Marcedes Lewis owners can rejoice if you make it to your title game as he gets a Tennessee team that ranked 26th against TEs the last two years.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Mike Thomas, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Jason Hill, WR
Overvalued: Marcedes Lewis, TE
Top Rookie: Cecil Shorts, WR
Bounce-Back: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
Top IDP: Paul Posluszny, LB
• Try to Avoid
David Garrard, QB
His 53-to-38 TD-to-INT ratio over the last three years prompted the Jags to select Blaine Gabbert in the first round. Garrard averaged under 200 yards passing per game in 2010.
WAIT UNTIL: 19th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
Quarterback David Garrard’s performance has been inconsistent, but the veteran has managed to hold onto the starting job. With the Jaguars trading up to get Gabbert, though, it’s only a matter of time before Garrard will step aside as the starter. Gabbert’s ability to make an immediate impact was hurt by the lockout, but if the Jaguars are out of the playoff race, expect to see him on the field this year. Jacksonville has one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL, and Shorts is a sleeper to remember for 2011.
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams