Blake Bortles looked to be the quarterback the Jacksonville Jaguars hoped for back in 2015. He threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns to finish third in fantasy at the position.
In 2016 his numbers declined to 3,905 yards and 23 touchdowns. It was expected that Bortles may not produce the monster 2015 season the following year. However, people forget that he still finished in the top 10 at the position in fantasy. He still has plenty of potential and there’s a case for Blake Bortles to bounce back in 2017.
Part of Bortles’ decline was the lack of fire power in the offense. The lack of production on offense led to a decrease of 3.6 points per game from 2015 to 2016. He had a horrendous running game, which led to him throwing the ball more and ranking third in pass attempts.
Bortles actually attempted 19 more passes in 2016, but threw for 523 fewer yards and 12 fewer touchdowns. He completed 59 percent of his passes for the third straight season (sixth worst), was off target on 19 percent of his throws (ninth worst) and averaged 6.2 yards per attempt (fifth worst).
But believe it or not, there’s a little bit of optimism for Bortles heading into 2017. He finished last season strong, completing 66 percent of his passes in two games for 8.1 yards per throw in consecutive 300-yard efforts. He almost looked like the Bortles of 2015 as he made quick, accurate strikes while mixing in some deep passes. Part of this was the coaching change with Doug Marrone, who is the head coach now.
Part of the success for Bortles in fantasy was the high-scoring, coming from behind games. He has been labeled as the Tom Brady of garbage time.
That’s not a bad thing in fantasy. That means more opportunity to throw the ball, especially when defenses play without the hustle they did in the first half.
Over the last two years, Bortles has thrown for 1,551 yards and six touchdowns in the first quarters of games and 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns in the fourth quarters.
There is reason for optimism for Bortles. The Jaguars’ improved defense and the addition of Leonard Fournette is a start.
The Jaguars might have the best young running back in the game. This helps limit the number of throws Bortles has to make. Instead of throwing 35 times a game, he can throw potentially just 25 times a game (he had 21 from 2015-16). This also helps make better throwing opportunities with a good receiving trio of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee.
This defense is now officially loaded. This offseason they signed Calais Campbell, Barry Church and A.J. Bouye. They join stars Malik Jackson, Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey on a unit also stocked with intriguing prospects that include Dante Fowler Jr., Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue. This can give Bortles better opportunities with defensive stops and turnovers.
I think Bortles can turn it around. For him it’s all about production. He still needs improvement. I don’t think he will produce what he did in 2015, but I think he will have more consistent numbers, especially with a running game now.
Bortles is viewed as a low-end QB2 to not being drafted. I think Bortles could be a valuable wavier wire pickup for weeks you need a quarterback on bye week or favorable matchup for the Jaguars.
Featured image from jacksonville.com.
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