Fantasy Football Fallout: Trent Baalke Wilds Out

The Jacksonville Jaguars told Trent Baalke to go out and spend some money, and he did just that… before they changed their mind. The Jaguars spent a ton of cash at the start of free agency, with the moves broken down as follows:

Granted, all of these are top-level deals and not guarantees (which changes things slightly but mostly just cut the years and the cash in half and you usually get the ballpark). The Jaguars gave out $259.5 million in contracts during the legal tampering period, but there are three we want to concern ourselves with: Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. I won’t ignore Brandon Scherff but here’s the analysis: nice upgrade, good for Trevor Lawrence! Let’s take a look at these additions and see what the newest Jacksonville Jaguars might mean for 2022 fantasy football.

Christian Kirk: Four Years, $72 million (up to $82 million with incentives)

Christian Kirk’s contract was the funniest part of the first day of legal tampering. Mostly because it came out as a 4/$60 deal, then 4/$68, then 4/$72! It was like every retweet slamming the contract added another dollar to the equation. Ultimately, with incentives, the contract has a maximum value of $82 million, but it’s a two-year, $37 million contract (in short). Speaking of short, that’s what Christian Kirk’s career stat-line comes up when you look at his production. In four years, Kirk has just 236 receptions for 2902 yards, a somewhat pedestrian feat.

But, there are things to like about Christian Kirk with the Jags. First, he’s only 25 (and turns 26 in November), second, he’s a true inside-outside threat, playing about half of his snaps in the slot. Kirk also had one of the higher catch rates in the league (75%) while ranking inside the top-fifteen in deep targets. Long story short: he catches deep balls, and does it reliably. While I think that helps the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022, I don’t know how much that will help fantasy football managers this year. Kirk managed to be WR32 last year in full-PPR, mustering 12.2 fantasy points per game, but garnering 2.02 fantasy points per target thanks to his catch rate.

Christian Kirk is a fine backend WR3, but I wrote last year about how drafting a #3 receiver to be a #3 receiver is a recipe for pain. Instead, take a couple of shots at deeper WR4 who have WR3 or WR2 upside, and maybe go get another running back, instead.

Zay Jones: Three Years, “Up to” $30 million

For a contract to stand out among the contracts the Jags handed out this week, it would need to be especially egregious. This Zay Jones contract is especially egregious. Like, I don’t know what Trent Baalke is doing. Zay Jones has 311 targets in six seasons, and the deep threat has just one game over 100 yards in his career. Will Zay Jones make up for his A.J. Jenkins pick a decade ago? Maybe? Who knows. The Jags went and gave Zay Jones the contract D.J. Chark should have gotten and downgraded at the position, while Chark got one year, $10 million from Detroit. It’s all baffling. Don’t do this to yourself. And I’m talking to you, too, Trent Baalke.

Evan Engram: One Year, $9 million guaranteed ($10 million with incentives)

I’m going to do it. I’m going to fall for Evan Engram once again. Engram, the perennial fantasy underachieve, has once again ended up in a position where I hear his siren song. Like the sirens of legend, I fear that Evan Engram will lead my fantasy football teams to their 2022 deaths. Evan Engram is a target machine, but he doesn’t really catch the ball that well (61.1%). But the Jaguars made James O’Shaughnessy and Dan Arnold both fantasy relevant last year through tons of targets.

While that was Urban Meyer’s offense, new head coach Doug Pederson also loves the tight end. He should be able to scheme a ton of easy targets for Engram like he did Zach Ertz (95 receptions and 985 yards per 17 games in Pederson’s tenure). It’s an intriguing upside play, but not one I am ready to stick my neck out for in fantasy leagues. Because, well, Evan Engram has been top-ten in tight end drops for three straight years.

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About Jeff Krisko

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