Fantasy Football, Jacksonville Jaguars

Gardner Minshew is a fantasy star waiting to breakout in Jacksonville

The Jaguars have confirmed their full commitment to him for 2020, so the door is wide open for Gardner Minshew to have a fantasy breakout.

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved toward committing to Gardner Minshew by trading Nick Foles. But rumors attaching them to veteran quarterbacks (Andy Dalton, Cam Newton) persisted, as did the need for an experienced backup. According to Mike Garofolo of NFL Network on Friday, the Jaguars have agreed to terms with Mike Glennon.

So now, for better or worse, Minshew is the unquestioned starting quarterback in Jacksonville this year. He started 12 games and played in 14 as a rookie last year, after Foles was injured in Week 1 and was not very good when he returned to action. If not for an ill-timed bad game in London before the Week 10 bye, Minshew may have held the starting job all the way through.

In his 12 starts last year, Minshew had 2,849 passing yards (237.4 per game) with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions along with 330 rushing yards. Add in playing most of Week 1 after Foles was injured, and those numbers become 3,124 yards, 20 touchdowns, five interceptions and 336 rushing yards. Overall, Minshew finished as QB20 in fantasy last year.

In chronological order, here are his best weekly finishes in 2019.

Week 1: QB15
Week 4: QB15
Week 5: QB8
Week 7: QB12
Week 8: QB6
Week 15: QB12
Week 17: QB2

From Week 1-Week 9, Minshew was QB12. From Week 13-Week 17, he was QB14. So it was those two full games Foles started that really torpedoed his fantasy impact and knocked him intoa QB2 finish.. Over those two weeks (Week 11 and Week 12), Foles was QB11 (16.86 fantasy points per game).

The Jaguars have bolstered Minshew’s supporting cast some, adding wide receiver Laviska Shenault in the second round of the draft and signing pass catching running back Chris Thompson in the post-draft wave of free agency. Fifth-round pick Collin Johnson was also added to a wide receiver group that includes D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley.

As the Jaguars reset/rebuild this year, negative game scripts should be the norm. If Minshew and Foles were one quarterback last year, they would have had the eighth-highest pass attempt total in the league (587).

Minshew has been in the low-end QB2 range in early ADP and early position rankings to this point. The QB2 range is probably where he’ll stay when drafts really get going, with a slight bump up to the higher end now and more foreseeable upside with no threat to take away his starting job.

He might be replaced by a high draft pick in 2021, as the Jaguars aren’t likely to win many games in 2020. But the path is paved for Minshew to have a breakout fantasy season this year. I’m not quite ready to call for it, but would anyone be shocked if he finished in the top 10-12 at the position?

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