Nobody had a bigger “out of nowhere” 2019 breakout than Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark. The former second-round pick went undrafted in just about every league and ended up becoming one of those season-defining Week 1 waiver claims. Now that he has the proverbial spotlight on him, can he build on his impressive breakout campaign?
Fantasy Football: DJ Chark Profile
It’s crazy that essentially the entire fantasy football community missed on DJ Chark last season. While some analysts were excited about Dede Westbrook or Chris Conley, Chark ended up being Jacksonville’s diamond in the rough. Chark appeared in 15 games, recording 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns while finishing as the WR17 in PPR formats (WR19 on a per-game basis).
In hindsight, more people should have been in on Chark. While his rookie year left a lot to be desired, he has all the athleticism needed to be an NFL star. According to PlayerProfiler, his 40-yard dash, speed score, and burst score are landed in at least the 93rd percentile. Athleticism isn’t everything in football, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
As far as consistency is concerned, DJ Chark left something to be desired. He wasn’t entirely boom-or-bust, but he only reached double-digit fantasy points (PPR) in eight of his 15 games. Chark, of course, had to deal with a quarterback battle between Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles. In games started by Minshew, Chark averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game and hit double-digit fantasy points on six of a possible 11 games. Basically, his production and consistency was essentially the same with both Minshew and Foles.
Chark is still the top option in Jacksonville, and Gardner Minshew is the unquestioned starter under center. Continuity matters more than ever in this shortened offseason, and both players should only improve with time. Adding to the good news is that Jacksonville’s defense is absolutely terrible, so DJ Chark should have plenty of favorable game scripts.
On top of that, the Jaguars didn’t do much to improve their offensive skill positions. The team drafted Laviska Shenault in the second round, but otherwise kept their skill positions players as is (signing Tyler Eifert doesn’t count). Basically, Chark has an established rapport with the quarterback and should be a target hog in an offense that has to throw the ball a lot. On paper, this is a recipe for fantasy stardom.
Unfortunately, there are a few favors working against Chark. For one, it’s hard to see this offense being very good. Minshew was serviceable as a rookie, but he’s not the type of quarterback capable of producing at a high level regardless of his surroundings. Those guys are few and far between, and Minshew probably won’t be one of them. Being in a bad offense isn’t a kiss of death for a wide receiver, but it certainly caps Chark’s ceiling.
Additionally, Chark has some touchdown regression coming his way. According to Pro Football Reference, Chark only saw 10 redzone targets last year. Three of those went for a touchdown, which is right in line with what you’d expect. However, this means that five of his touchdowns came from beyond 20 yards, which isn’t too likely to repeat. He’s not staring down Aaron Jones levels of regression by any stretch, but he’ll probably only have five or six touchdowns in 2020.
DJ Chark Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Pros has DJ Chark going off the board with the 52nd overall pick in PPR drafts. This makes him the WR23 and puts him in the same range as guys like Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Keenan Allen, and T.Y. Hilton.
Drafting Chark here depends on how much you value upside over security. Based on floor, Chark could be the safest guy outside of Tyler Lockett. Chark has an established rapport with his quarterback, is the clear top option in the offense, and should have a bunch of favorable game scripts. Nobody else in this tier can say that.
However, if you’re aiming for upside, you’re probably better off with any of the other guys. Lockett is perennially underrated and, as always, will outplay his average draft position. Metcalf is a physical freak that has WR1 potential if he expands his game and Russell Wilson throws the ball more often. Keenan Allen is the unquestioned WR1 in his offense, and the Chargers offense should be better than Jacksonville’s. If Allen can develop a rapport with Tyrod Taylor and/or Justin Herbert, he should finish slightly ahead of Chark. T.Y. Hilton is basically the only guy in Indianapolis, but he battled injury last year and is already hurt again. I’m staying away from him.
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