It is that time of year again! Club Fantasy will take an in-depth look at each NFL team during the next three months. We call it A Look Inside, and our goal is to get you ready for the NFL season and fantasy football.
Like last year, we will focus on three teams each week, both on the show and in article form. Unlike last year, while the show will focus on the entire team, the articles will highlight our favorite fantasy-relevant player.
To kick the series off for a second straight year, we have the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a 2021 season full of turmoil, the Jaguars kicked Urban Meyer to the curb just one season into his contract. They brought in Doug Pederson of Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl fame to replace him.
The team will look very different heading into the 2022 season, with changes at just about every position outside of QB. At running back, we should finally see 2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne in fantasy football this season. But, with all-new everything around him, does he still have the upside some dreamed about last year?
Note: No Punt Intended will air on Wednesday, May 25th, with Special Guest Heath Cummings from CBS Fantasy! We will be covering the Jaguars, Lions, and Texans!
A Look Back
A preseason foot injury took away Etienne’s rookie year before it started. After being selected in the 1st Round by Jacksonville, hopes were high for Travis Etienne in fantasy football and then quickly dashed for fantasy managers. Coming out of college, Etienne was viewed as an electric prospect that would do well in Meyer’s offense.
Etienne left Clemson with over 6100 total yards and 78 touchdowns. He had a connection with Trevor Lawrence in college, and that should continue in the NFL. That connection led to over 100 college receptions for the running back, which could be huge in PPR formats.
The questions last year were about how Meyer would use him and how he would coexist with James Robinson. Unfortunately, both questions were unanswered due to his injury, but we might have more clarity in 2022. Robinson suffered a late-season injury, and there is no definitive timetable for his return. It is unlikely that Etienne would be a three-down back in his absence, but his role would undoubtedly be more significant.
With Doug Pederson taking over, we have at least an idea of what Jacksonville’s offense could look like in 2022. We even have a model for Travis Etienne: Miles Sanders. Sanders was a 2nd Round pick by Pederson’s Eagles in 2019, and his usage should help set expectations for Travis Etienne this season.
A Look Forward
In his rookie season, Miles Sanders split time with a more physical running back, Jordan Howard. If James Robinson is healthy, this is essentially the same situation Etienne will face in 2022. That season, Sanders touched the ball 229 times and scored six TDs. He finished the year as the fantasy RB15. A critical part of that fantasy success was that 50 of his 229 touches came on receptions. He was targeted in the passing game 63 times, 13th most of any back in the league.
Based on college stats, it is not hard to argue that Etienne is a better running back than Miles Sanders. If Pederson feeds him 200+ touches and more than 60 targets, he could make a splash in 2022. While Philadelphia was in a position to run the ball more than this Jacksonville team, the 2022 Jaguars should throw more. Targets are far more valuable for a fantasy running back.
His own recovery will play a crucial role in 2022, but if healthy, Travis Etienne is in a far superior position to succeed than the one he was drafted into last season. Pederson is a better coach, and Jacksonville should be a better team. A season of 150 carries and 60 receptions would likely translate to over 1100 total yards for the 2nd-year back. Add six touchdowns, and a top-24 finish should be easy, and those are numbers assuming James Robinson is healthy.
The only other RBs on this depth chart are Ryquell Armstead, and rookie 5th-Round pick Snoop Conner. If Robinson misses time, say six games on the PUP list, 250 or more touches are well within the realm of possibility for Etienne in 2022. With that type of ceiling, he is a top-end fantasy RB2 with a significant RB1 upside.
A Look Inside The Jacksonville Jaguars
Editor’s Note: While we asked our writers to focus on one player, we don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. Here is a quick look at the rest of the Jaguars, prepared by either Josh Hudson or Ryan Weisse
Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence should take a big leap forward from an abysmal rookie season. While fantasy managers can expect improvement, he is unlikely to crack the Top 12 this season. As a result, he will not have much fantasy relevance outside of two-QB leagues and weekly streaming viability. -Ryan Weisse
James Robinson: Robinson’s recovery from a late-season Achilles tear will be the most critical factor in his fantasy value. Expect fewer touches than the previous two seasons as he competes with Etienne and his own recovery. As a result, he is an RB4 with limited upside. -Ryan Weisse
Christian Kirk: Kirk somewhat broke out in his final season with the Cardinals and turned it into a massive payday. He turned 103 targets last year into a 77/982/5 stat line, good enough to finish as the WR26 in fantasy. While the move to Jacksonville is an upgrade in the pecking order, it is a downgrade at QB. More targets with less efficiency means a repeat of his 2021 is the most likely scenario. Treat him as a WR3 for fantasy. -Ryan Weisse
Laviska Shenault: While the 99 targets in 2021 were nice, what Shenault did with them was not. Managing just 619 yards and ZERO touchdowns, Shenault disappointed fantasy managers. With more competition for touches and likely fewer passing attempts heading his way, don’t expect much better in 2022. -Ryan Weisse
Marvin Jones: Jones did lead this team in all receiving categories last season but still finished outside of the Top 30 for fantasy WRs. He’s a year older and unlikely to operate as the team’s WR1 this season. Repeating his WR3 season from last year seems doubtful, and viewing him as a fantasy WR4 makes more sense. -Ryan Weisse
Evan Engram: Engram has always had the tools to succeed, but his health, and far too many drops, have held him back. Lawrence is an upgrade to Daniel Jones, and Doug Pederson’s offenses LOVE throwing to the tight end, so if you plan on drafting a TE late, Engram should be on your radar. -Ryan Weisse
We hope you enjoyed our look at Travis Etienne for fantasy football this season. You can find all of our A Look Inside articles here (though this is the first of 2022, be patient.) If you’re prepping for your dynasty drafts, you can also find our rookie consensus rankings here.