The Jacksonville Jaguars lost three receivers to unrestricted free agency in 2021, and new head coach Urban Meyer will have a veteran wideout in Marvin Jones Jr. to help incoming rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence get off to the right start.
Jones is thoroughly familiar with the new offense in Duval County, one orchestrated by Darrell Bevell. As one may recall, Bevell was the playcaller in Detroit in 2019 and 2020, ultimately becoming the interim head coach after Matt Patricia’s dismissal.
The Jaguars have the 2021 NFL Draft’s top pick, which undoubtedly will be spent on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Jones brings the better part of eight seasons of play (missed 2014) as experience and scored 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons in Detroit. He’s coming off a 76-catch performance, which is a career high. The offense will take no time to learn, which means he can help his rookie quarterback and a pair of young receivers in Laviska Shenault Jr. and DJ Chark Jr.
Fantasy football outlook
Jacksonville has pieces in place to be a capable offense in Lawrence’s first year, and the defense is still porous enough that he could be asked to pass more than preferred. That’s a win for Jones and fantasy gamers alike.
In 2021, Jones’ numbers are likely to take a hit. He recently turned 31 years old and has averaged less than 13 yards per grab the past two seasons, which is down from at least 14.5 the prior three campaigns. This is due to a combination of the role in the system and his age, but we’re likely to see it continue.
Even being a tremendous prospect, Lawrence is still a rookie quarterback in an offseason that may be disrupted once again by COVID-19. He has to learn the ropes and build chemistry with his receivers.
With that in mind, and a pair of blossoming youngsters as positional mates, just how many catches can we expect from Jones? He averaged 64 catches from 2013-20 when extrapolated to 16 games. Consider that to be is likely ceiling. In fact, somewhere closer to 55 is a safer estimation.
Factoring 12.5 yards per catch gives us somewhere between 660 and 800 yards as a reasonable range. He has averaged a touchdown every 8.1 catches in that same time frame, so seven scores is a fair estimate based on the past. Given the weapons around him and the likely commitment to rushing the ball with James Robinson, Jones should finish closer to five touchdowns.
There’s nothing tangible to warrant belief in an uptick in production. Let’s give Jones a modest line of 60-750-5 … that would have been WR45 in PPR last year, which coincidentally was Shenault’s placement. This would have been WR42 in 2019. In standard scoring, the placement hardly varies (WR42 aggregate). In all practicality, Jones is a low-end WR3 or ideal flex target for fantasy football gamers.