Why Justin Blackmon is worth starting on a fantasy roster

Friday October 11th, 2013
In his first game of the season, Justin Blackmon caught five passes for 136 yards and a touchdown.
BILL GREENBLATT/Landov

Let's take a look at a few plays for the Jaguars' loss to the Rams last week. We'll begin with his first target of the year, the 67-yard touchdown that put the Jaguars ahead 7-0. Blackmon is lined up in the slot, but what we really have here is simply a blown coverage by the Rams. They're in nickel and the defensive backs do a terrible job of communicating. It results in them losing sight of Jacksonville's most dangerous weapon.

Here, the slot corner, Darian Stewart, is nowhere near his assignment on Blackmon. He then sits down in a zone coverage, and no one rolls over to pick up the second-year man out of Oklahoma State. It's not easy to make it pitch and catch when Gabbert is on the pitch side of that equation, but the Rams succeeded here.

What's really incredible here, at least from Blackmon, is his breakaway speed. He makes one nice cut, but look how close safety Rodney McLeod is to him in the first picture below. That's only two yards separation. McLeod won't get a bit closer and makes a futile dive in an attempt to bring him down.

This next play shows how Gabbert put a ceiling on how productive Blackmon could be for the Jaguars and his fantasy owners. It's 1st and 10 from the St. Louis 47-yard-line. Blackmon is split out wide to the left with corner Janoris Jenkings playing press coverage and a single high safety shading to his side of the field. Here's how it looks at the snap.

He beats Jenkins' coverage and breaks inside for a post. He clearly has a step on Jenkins, and a good ball will result in a huge gain. Instead, Gabbert's pass sails and Matt Giordano returns it 82 yards for a Rams' touchdown.

This is the first play of Jacksonville's first drive in the second half. Blackmon is lined up in the slot on the left side of the formation and runs a simple hitch against the Rams' zone. He correctly reads the coverage and sits down for what should be a simple completion. Just look how open he is right in the middle of the second picture below.

Of course, this is Gabbert, and the throw is way off target. Blackmon lunges for it to his right to no avail.

That play above would have been nice to hit for the Jaguars, picking up six or seven yards on first down, but it wouldn't have moved the needle all that much for Blackmon's fantasy owners. This next one sure would have. It's 3rd and Goal at the St. Louis 5-yard-line, and the Jags trail 24-10. Blackmon is lined up on the right side of the formation inside the numbers. The Rams have three DBs to that side after Ace Sanders motions to the right. Here's the look at the snap.

Blackmon runs another hitch and sits down in front of the coverage. Again, he is wide open. You can see him right at the bottom of the "I" in "Louis." He could not realistically be more open in this situation. Instead of just a 6- or 7-yard gain on first down, though, this is a touchdown if Gabbert makes a throw that any NFL quarterback should make. Instead, it comes out of his hand as if he's throwing to a fan in the first row.

Just for fun, check out Blackmon's exasperated reaction to the overthrow.

BELLER: Stat Focus -- How your roster can benefit from Justin Blackmon
GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- Is it worth starting any Raiders this week?
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- A.J. Green primed for a huge game
SI STAFF: Composite Player Rankings -- Expect another strong week from Bryant
BELLER, FLOOD: Weekly Roundtable -- Is Alshon Jeffery the real deal?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Stacy stepping up as Rams' starting running back
McQUADE: Risers & Sliders -- Top players struggling to produce stats
BELLER: Fast Forward -- Quarterbacks steal the spotlight in Week 5

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.