Draft or Pass: Has D.J. Chark's Draft Value Jumped the Shark?

D.J. Chark broke out in a big way in his second season, but was it a fluke? SI Fantasy expert Ben Heisler explains where he values the former LSU wideout.
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It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we here at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?

Today's video focuses on Jacksonville Jaguars WR D.J. Chark.

D.J. Chark Draft or Pass at current ADP (average draft position): 60 (WR24)

"Minshew Mania" swept up the Jaguars fan base throughout much of the 2019 season, but the real breakout star was the performance of second-year receiver D.J. Chark.

With only 14 receptions for 174 yards his rookie season, the 2018 second-round pick out of LSU became a favorite target of Minshew a season ago. He ended up catching 73 passes for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, securing a Pro Bowl appearance along the way.

It even got a "Baby Shark / D.J. Chark" movement going. And don't pretend like you're not humming it in your head right now!

This offseason, the Jaguars grabbed another wideout in the second round, Laviska Shenault, to add another dimension to their offense. With Chark, Shenault, Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole, the Jaguars offense has the capabilities to be more pass-heavy with good size and athleticism on the outside, and speed and quickness in the middle of the field.

Where fantasy owners are with Chark's expectations in 2020 is whether or not they saw his ceiling a season ago or due to his inconsistencies from game-to-game, if Chark can take that next step in Year 3 with a new offensive system in place.

Chark was brilliant in spurts and brutal in others. He scored five touchdowns in the team's first five games, and just three the rest of the season. He saw more than 33% of the team's air yards, but down the stretch of the season, only averaged 8.6 yards/reception.

One of the ways they can continue to develop his skill set is by moving Chark more frequently into the slot. He lined up on the outside 74% of the time, catching four touchdowns on 56 receptions, with an aDOT of 11.5.

In the slot, Chark excelled at picking on smaller nickel cornerbacks with his 6-4 frame to score four touchdowns on just 14 receptions with an aDOT of 15.7.

John Shipley of JaguarReport recently wrote about new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's plan to help Chark become even more dominant in 2020. It starts with allowing him to seek out better matchups.

A big part of helping Chark continue to ascend in 2020? According to Gruden, it is moving home around the offense more so the Jaguars can put him in favorable matchups and allow him to impact the game in more ways.

"I think we can do a little bit more with him. I'd like to get him inside and do some more things with him in the slot," Gruden said. "But he's an excellent specimen. And the thing that I have come to know about DJ in the limited time I got to meet him was that he's hungry. He wants to be great, and when you have the athletic qualities that he has and then the desire to be great, he's going to have a very bright future."

Gruden recognizing these mismatches to exploit for Chark is music to fantasy owners' ears. He's worked with top tier wideouts like A.J Green during his prime in Cincinnati, along with DeSean Jackson and Terry McLaurin (before being fired midway through the season) in Washington.

In a 12-team PPR league, Chark's ADP currently stands at 60 (WR24), making him a borderline end-of-fifth or top of the sixth-round pick. I like that as a slight value for Chark, who I view as a mid-second tier wideout in what's likely to be a pass-happy offense under Gruden. I'd draft him at his current ADP and hope he stays healthy.

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