Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 Fantasy Football Sleepers, Breakouts & Busts

It’s almost August, so it’s high time we turn our attention to fantasy football sleepers, breakouts, and busts for every NFL team. The ADP is per 4for4’s ADP data. We started with the AFC East, switched to the AFC North, and we now move on to the AFC South. Is Calvin Ridley even allowed to use the word “bet” in a slangily way? Will Trevor Lawrence cut his hair? Is my ban on saying anything good about Evan Engram powering him? We answer none of those questions, and more, with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ sleeper, breakout and bust!

Sleeper: Zay Jones, Wide Receiver (WR65, Pick 168 Overall)

Believe it or not, I truly believe that Zay Jones can thrive next to Calvin Ridley this season. People fear that there won’t be enough targets to go around, but the Jaguars’ rushing game, which ranked ninth-lowest in EPA per play last season didn’t get better (and no, I’m not ignoring Tank Bigsby, I said what I said), and the league’s sixth-best EPA per play passing offense improved with the Calvin Ridley addition (though I don’t know how good Ridley will be this season, more on that in a moment). There will be enough targets to go around, especially since the Jags only threw the ball 584 times, at the seventeenth-highest rate in the league.

All that is to say that yes the Jaguars added Calvin Ridley, but Zay Jones and his WR31 finish and 120 targets is well within reach this season. There likely won’t be a growth on his 24.7% target rate (in fact, it should probably decrease) but Trevor Lawrence will throw the ball a lot more this season, and Marvin Jones left 81 targets on the table, meaning that a growth in the pie doesn’t mean a lot fewer targets for Jones than last season. At WR65, I’ll roll those dice that he can be a weekly starter for me.

Breakout: Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback (QB8, Pick 51 Overall)

There’s just so much pointed this direction this season. He has a new weapon in Calvin Ridley, the Jaguars took OT Anton Harrison in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and Lawrence had a ton of under-the-hood things pointing to a great 2023. I already mentioned the room for growth in the target volume above, and the addition of Calvin Ridley gets discussed below. But the quality of Trevor Lawrence’s targets are what has me so excited for the young stud quarterback. According to PlayerProfiler, Lawrence was top-ten in accuracy rating, true passer rating, EPA, and money throws.

Everyone sees the Trevor Lawrence breakout coming a mile away, as he finished twelfth in fantasy points per game, and is the QB8 in ADP. The breakout is coming, but it’s already priced into his ADP. Because of that, I am not particularly interested in getting Lawrence at his ADP.

Bust: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver (WR19, Pick 48 Overall)

Calvin Ridley missed all of the 2021 season, and most of the 2020 season, due to gambling on NFL action. It turned out that he was just the first of about a dozen guys (so far) to get popped for getting a little skin in the game. Since we last saw Ridley, he’s changed from the Falcons and Matt Ryan to Trevor Lawrence and the Jags. We are all assuming that he will pick up where his last full season left off with 9.5 targets, 6 receptions, 91.6 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last time that we saw Calvin Ridley. He had a five game cameo in 2021 prior to his suspension, and his numbers there weren’t awe-inspiring: 10.4 targets per game, 6.2 receptions… for 56.2 yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game. That is a ton of targets for exceptionally minimal volume. His production pro-rated out to roughly what JuJu Smith-Schuster did that season (Ridley prorated up to 17 games came out to 105 catches, 955 yards, 7 touchdowns and JuJu, prorated up to 17 games came out to 103 catches, 883 yards, and 10 touchdowns). JuJu then fell to injury in 2021, and switched teams to a muddy wide receiver room and one of the best receivers in the game in 2022, and he failed to live up to expectations. I fear the same circumstances will befall Ridley, who turns 29 in December and hasn’t played a snap of football since week five of the 2021 season.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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