JagNation Fantasy Watch - Ground and Pound

Ground and pound is a tactic commonly associated with mixed martial arts in which you use a takedown or throw to get your opponent on the ground and then strike until they submit or get knocked out. It should also serve as the Jaguars team motto heading into this weekend's game against the Broncos, as that strategy presents them with the best and possibly only opportunity to win.

The Jaguars (1-1) need to re-establish their dominant running game from 2006 and this is the perfect game to do so. Despite the fact that the Broncos (2-0) come into the game with the #1 offense in the league (455.5 ypg) and the #2 defense (218.5 ypg), both of their games have been decided on last-second field goals.

One of the main reasons that the Broncos have been playing close games, despite being more talented than their oppenents is due to new personnel on both the offensive and defensive lines, areas that the Jaguars should be able to exploit. Despite the lofty defensive ranking, Denver is giving up 156 ypg on the ground. Look for the Jags to run early and often, both to jump start the stagnant running game and to allow David Garrard to work into a rhythm early on.

That is a very brief outlook on what to expect in the game, but this is a fantasy football column after all. Let's take a look at what the main stars for each team can be expected to produce, as well as a sleeper (denoted by ***) or two this week.


David Garrard- 175 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, 1 TD
Expect him to avoid challenging the DB's, especially Champ Bailey, and instead focus on underneath routes to the tight ends, slot receivers, and running backs out of the backfield.

Fred Taylor/Maurice Jones- Drew-30-35 carries, 170 yards, 2 TD
I am grouping them together because it is impossible to tell who will get the heavier workload from week to week, but the amount of carries they combine for is the key stat this game (average of 27 carries in the 8 wins in 2006, only 21 in the 8 losses)

Dennis Northcutt/Ernest Wilford/Reggie Williams- 6 catches, 75 yards
Expect them to be neutralized by Champ Bailey and Dre Bly and Garrard to look elsewhere

Marcedes Lewis (***)/George Wrightster- 8 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD
Lewis should get most of the catches, but I expect the Jags to play more two TE formations this week to help in the running game and take advantage of mismatches with the Broncos under-sized linebackers.

John Carney- 3 XP, 1 FG
Carney gets a light workload with a short FG and the advantage of kicking off in the mile high air this week.

Jaguars Defense- 20 points allowed, 2 INT, 4 sacks
The Jags will give up more points this game, but be just as effective. Look for them to stop the run and make Cutler try to beat them through the air. Rashean Mathis gets another pick, as well as the first career interception for Reggie Nelson.


Jay Cutler- 225 yards passing, 2 TD
Expect Cutler to look to exploit the Jaguars problems at safety with drag routes and deep passes to Walker, Marshall, and Stokely in the slot. Despite getting the wins, he still makes bad throws that result in turnovers.

Travis Henry- 70 yards rushing
In two games against Jacksonville last year, he averaged 3.35 ypc, over a yard below his 4.5 season average. Despite the 267 yards in this year's first two games, it will be new team, same results.

Javon Walker-90 yards, 1 TD
Doesn't quite run his 100 yard streak to 3 games, but comes close as Mathis has been giving up plays to the opposition early on this year.

Brandon Stokely (***)-70 yard, 1 TD
Former Indy WR comes back to haunt the Jags from the slot. Expect him to beat Terry Cousin on a quick slant and take it to the house.

Jason Elam- 2 XP, 2 FG
Steady and effective, Elam continues to his climb up the all-time scoring ranks. No chance at the game winner this week though.

Broncos Defense- 24 points allowed, 1 INT, 3 sacks
The Broncos defense won't be able to stop the Jags running game and will play most of the game from behind. They will get to Garrard a few times and force him to throw his first interception of the year, but it won't be enough to get the win.

Prediction- Jaguars 24, Broncos 20

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