When the Jaguars took Trevor Lawrence with the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft, they officially jump-started a new era of football that should bring a ton of excitement and joy to Duval County. In Jacksonville’s now 27-year history, they have never had a player as hyped as Lawrence. The Jaguars desperately needed a new offensive identity after scoring the third-fewest points in the NFL last season, and Lawrence absolutely redefines this team. Rookie quarterbacks have been hit-or-miss in the past, but there are legitimate reasons to believe in Lawrence as a top 10 QB this season.
Yes, I have Trevor Lawrence projected for 273 pass yards/game and 1.8 pass TDs/game
That projects out to 4,641 pass yards & 31 pass TDs in a 17 game season (also have him w/ 4 rush TDs)
Yikes. I did not realize I was this high on him.
Do with this what you want. pic.twitter.com/gvYOpry8GK
— Michelle Magdziuk (@BallBlastEm) June 6, 2021
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Trevor Lawrence only played in 10 games in his junior season at Clemson, but he could not have stepped foot on the field once, and he still would have been the #1 overall pick. Across 40 career collegiate games, Lawrence completed 66.6% of his passes for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. He proved that he’s tremendously pro-ready throughout those three years and shouldn’t have a steep learning curve to the NFL, especially in Urban Meyer’s system.
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I see Lawrence as having Justin Herbert-type potential for fantasy as a rookie, but I tempered my expectations in his projections. The Jaguars’ defense is still porous and should set up many pass-heavy game scripts for the offense. Obviously, there’s a ton of projection here as we haven’t seen Trevor Lawrence or Urban Meyer put together an NFL offense, but I have high hopes for this team. Lawrence has an awesome fantasy upside between his precise passing and added rushing value.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 83.7, QB9
Auction Value: $5
I was really hoping Trevor Lawrence would make it into the double-digit rounds in fantasy football drafts, but the hype is already through the roof for him. He’s currently being drafted ahead of Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Burrow, and Kirk Cousins. He certainly has that upside, but be aware you’re not getting him at a value. Still, the only guy going after him in ADP at the moment who I have a problem taking Lawrence over is Tom Brady. The rest are justified.
Through three seasons at Clemson, Trevor Lawrence never completed fewer than 65% of his passes. He led college football in completion percentage in each of the past two seasons. With that level of supreme efficiency, it’s hard to imagine Lawrence not having a great rookie season. He’s well-supported by pass-catchers (more on that in a bit), and while the offensive line could use some work, I have very few concerns about Lawrence’s immediate translatability. There have only been 12 top-12 fantasy finishes by rookie quarterbacks in NFL history, but eight of those have been since 2015. I’m banking on Trevor Lawrence being the 13th this season.
Trevor Lawrence could finish as a top-five quarterback in fantasy this season. I’m not saying he will, but why can’t he? With a defense that hemorrhaged points, the Jaguars had the seventh-most passing attempts in the NFL last year despite inconsistent quarterback play and an offense that struggled to extend drives. Lawrence’s TD:INT rate was 5.2 through those three years, and he had a 7.9% touchdown rate and just a 1.4% interception rate. Of course, college football is not the same as the NFL, but the only quarterback who matched that touchdown rate in the NFL last year was Aaron Rodgers. Only three quarterbacks had a lower interception rate than that in the NFL – Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson.
Trevor Lawrence: only rookie QB projected to top 4,000 passing yards in 2021 pic.twitter.com/cl01Ff120a
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 7, 2021
Jacksonville Jaguars Offense
The Jaguars scored the third-fewest points in the NFL last season, but they’ve done a great job adding talent over this offseason. Marvin Jones was brought in as a free agent and is coming off a 76-978-9 season. He’ll likely lead the team in targets this season. D.J. Chark is coming off a down year. Still, he had 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns just two years ago and reportedly has added around seven pounds of muscle following some complaints from Urban Meyer about his lack of physicality. Laviska Shenault, a third-year dynamic playmaker, rounds out a strong trio of receivers. Shenault was minimized in an unexciting offense last season, but he would have been a first-round pick last year if not for some injury concerns. In the first round this year, the Jaguars also added Travis Etienne, Lawrence’s former Clemson teammate, who had 1,500+ yards from scrimmage in each of the last three seasons. Etienne is reportedly going to play a lot of receiver as well, leaving some backfield touches for James Robinson, who had 1,414 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns in just 14 games last season. There’s no doubt that Jacksonville has built up the right skill-position talent to support Lawrence, but is their offensive line good enough? Essentially the same group as the line that allowed the eighth-most sacks per game last season, the pressure falls on an underwhelming group of O-linemen to keep Lawrence upright in his rookie season.
Strength of Schedule
While there may be some concerns about Jacksonville’s offensive line and Lawrence’s immediate ability to produce, fantasy managers should have no qualms about the schedule the Jaguars face this season. Lawrence will be benefitted from the fifth-easiest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks this season. The Titans (4th-most) and Texans (11th-most), two of Jacksonville’s division-mates, were in the top 12 for fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year. The Colts allowed the 11th-fewest but have a beatable defense on paper. The Jaguars face the AFC East this season, whose Patriots and Dolphins were in the bottom eight for fantasy points allowed to QBs, but the Jets allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs. Jacksonville also plays the NFC West, whose Seahawks (6th-most) and Cardinals (14th-most) were pretty generous to quarterbacks in fantasy, although the Rams and 49ers ranked in the bottom seven. As the worst team in the AFC South last season, the Jaguars get to play some fellow bottom-feeders in the Broncos and Bengals. Finally, the Jaguars have the luxury of facing the Falcons as their 17th opponent, a team that allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks in the NFL last season. All in all, this is a very manageable schedule, and there are some teams that Lawrence could absolutely pick apart this year.
With rookie quarterbacks, there is always more of a speculative approach to fantasy football, and Lawrence’s ADP has him inside of the top ten at his position – there’s no real sense of value or comfort there. However, I strongly believe Lawrence will come in as a very viable starter at quarterback for fantasy, and I’d be thrilled to land him in the ninth or tenth round. Urban Meyer is going to work wonders for Lawrence early in his career as he transitions into the NFL, and I love the work the front office did to surround the rookie QB with talent early in his career. The fact that this defense isn’t going to get much better should also help Lawrence have a ton of passing attempts right out of the gate. This all adds up to a breakthrough fantasy football season for the rookie QB. It’s going to be a fun season for offensive production in Jacksonville.
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— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) June 5, 2021