Why Justin Blackmon is worth starting on a fantasy roster
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.
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