No Saluting your Shorts, or Justin Blackmon in Week 14

      December 7, 2012 @ 16:48:51 PDT


Plenty of fantasy football managers have been Saluting their Cecil Shorts since midseason. Shorts, in the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) became the one and only reliable fantasy commodity that resides in Jacksonville. The second-year speedster consistently gained separation from opposing defensive backs to the tune of three 100-plus yard ball games and seven touchdowns.

Imagine if he actually had a good QB slinging him pigskin. Sheesh.

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
Back off Blackmon

You can kiss that goodbye, at least for Week 14. Shorts has been ruled out - he's still suffering from effects of a concussion last week.

The good news: the Jaguars' offense has been on the upswing since Chad Henne took the starting QB job from an injured Blaine Gabbert (shoulder). In Henne's three starting contests since, he's gone 52-for-102 for 817 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

Justin Blackmon's season-high seven-catch day that produced an eye-popping 236 yards and a score against the Houston Texans three weeks ago coincided with Henne taking over. He scored his third TD of the year the following week, too.

The matchup with Buffalo looked kind on paper last week, but Henne and Blackmon only connected one time for six yards in a rain-filled contest that featured heavy ground attacks from both sides.

If you're banking on a rebound from Henne and Blackmon against the New York Jets in Week 14 - what is Round 1 of the fantasy playoffs for many - think again. Be wary of relying on a player with so much on the line that only recently turned it on.

Gang Green's average allowance of 22.5 standard scoring points to wideouts in the past month is deceiving. Remember, much of that came against the New England Patriots in their Thanksgiving beatdown. Over the big picture (entire season), the Jets rank 27th with only 16.3 points allowed per game to receivers. That comes from only 9.83 receptions per game (second-fewest in the NFL), 120.8 receiving yards and 0.67 aerial scores.

Definitely don't bank on Blackmon returning to his previous form with Henne (before the Buffalo game happened); Antonio Cromartie will draw the Oklahoma State product and could easily blanket him all game. Even if Shorts had suited up, Cromartie would likely have covered Blackmon. But now that Shorts won't need to be accounted for, expect plenty of attention to be on Blackmon.

The Jets will likely make the makeshift running attack of Montell Owens and possibly Jordan Todman (yuck) beat them instead.

Although New York has been the best defense against tight ends in the past month, Marcedes Lewis may be your best fantasy bet in Jacksonville this week. Much like Blackmon, he's been utilized much more since the arrival of Henne. That also has to do with the improving health of the offensive line.

Jordan Shipley, who received eight targets last week, could also benefit from Shorts' absence if attention is diverted to Blackmon. He's a desperation play in deeper leagues, though. Lewis could have a nice game, but he, too, along with Blackmon, aren't the safest plays in a playoff atmosphere. Hopefully you have better options as you look to advance closer to that elusive fantasy title.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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