The Jacksonville Jaguars looked awful at home Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, as Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and pals not only made the defense look terrible, but the David Garrard-led offense managed one measly field goal against a team that had allowed the most points in the league. The Jaguars are home again this week against a superior offense, as Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts visit. Should we expect a different result, for fantasy purposes or otherwise?
I say no, and that's the reason why Jaguars didn't fare so well in my Week 4 rankings, and I'm losing faith across the board. The only Jaguar that fantasy owners should rely on is running back Maurice Jones-Drew, he of the potentially bothersome ankle injury, and I've even soured some on him. Whereas a month ago he was a surefire top-five pick in most drafts, now I can make a case, even in a bye week, he's outside the top 10. If you've got him, you probably don't have better running back options, but then again, maybe you stole Arian Foster and got lucky with Darren McFadden, as well. It's only a few weeks, but it appears MJD, likely due to injury, the team's struggling offensive line and, well, the predictable Garrard, is not only a step slower than normal, but unlikely to get much help.
As for the other Jaguars, why bother? Garrard hasn't topped 173 passing yards in a game; while he did throw for three touchdowns in the opener, he's looked terrible since, easy to pressure and missing targets left and right. I ranked him worse than Shaun Hill, Alex Smith and Sam Bradford this week. The fact the team signed Buffalo Bills castaway Trent Edwards on Tuesday could very well be significant for Garrard. Edwards is more of a pocket passer, and while I wouldn't run out to get him in fantasy, maybe a change could help this offense.
Meanwhile, Mike Sims-Walker had a very good Week 2, with 10 receptions and a touchdown, but in the other two weeks he caught two passes total. I can't rely on someone just as likely to score two points as he is to hit double digits, and that's how Sims-Walker was in 2009, too. Marcedes Lewis is still getting targets since his two-touchdown opener, but if he's not a top-10 tight end, he's not really worth putting on a roster ... and he's not in my top 10. I've seen Rashad Jennings owned as the Jones-Drew handcuff, but if the stud can't put up numbers, how will the backup? I didn't rank Jennings.
I'm more likely to consider Jaguars better options in Week 5 when they travel to Buffalo -- all teams look better against the Bills -- but what if the Jaguars are just as bad? This could be a 10-7 borefest in which two bad teams can't move the ball. For now, think twice about using Jaguars, possibly even the top fellow.
Meanwhile, here are a few other thoughts I had while ranking players for Week 4.
Receiving line: The crew of wide receivers on bye this week doesn't seem so overwhelming -- Miles Austin is the lone guaranteed fantasy starter -- but still I found it difficult to find 50 options I wanted to rank. I didn't feel the same way about running back, where there were a few players I didn't have room for. I ended up ranking Lee Evans, Mohamed Massaquoi and Robert Meachem and wondering why, because they haven't done much and probably will not anytime soon. Ultimately, you might find, as I did, your top flex options this week are running backs.
Back on the rookie train: For now, I've ranked two of the big three running back rookies as if they will play this week, and will play well enough to start in 12-team leagues. The San Diego Chargers seem confident Ryan Mathews will suit up, and I maintain he has the same upside he did a month ago. What changed? Mike Tolbert earned himself goal-line carries at the least, but don't discard Mathews as a viable option. I ranked him 21st at running back, one spot ahead of the Detroit Lions' Jahvid Best. Yeah, he did nothing against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but I think he'll play through the turf toe injury and resume some degree of success against the Green Bay Packers.
Derek's dominoes: With Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston out for a month after knee surgery Tuesday, that likely moves Stephen Williams into the starting lineup. It should result in more targets for Larry Fitzgerald, as well. Before the news broke, I had Breaston 33rd at wide receiver, and now I moved Williams into the No. 36 spot. The Cardinals aren't a great team, but I moved running back Beanie Wells, finally healthy, into a RB2 slot (No. 18 RB) and I like the team's chances for a potential shootout in San Diego this week.