Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts set a career-high with 66 receptions in 2013, but his yardage (777) and touchdown (three) totals dropped off from his breakout 2012 season (55 catches for 979 yards and seven touchdowns). He could have topped 1,000 yards if not for missing the final three games last season and being hampered by groin and shoulder issues prior to that, and Shorts’ drop-off in touchdowns came despite having the same amount of red zone targets (16) as 2012 in one fewer game.
Justin Blackmon is currently serving an indefinite suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, and Jaguars’ general manager David Caldwell has hinted the team considers any contribution he makes a bonus. Shorts is still working his way back to 100 percent health after sports hernia surgery in December, but can he be a big factor for fantasy football owners in 2014?
Shorts surely was affected by Jacksonville’s dismal quarterback situation in 2013, and his numbers were not dramatically different when Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne started. In the 10 games Henne started Shorts averaged 5.1 receptions and 60.2 yards per game, compared to 5.0 receptions and 58.3 yards per game in the three contests Gabbert started. Henne saw action in two of Gabbert’s starts, and Shorts had 55 of his receptions and all three of his touchdowns with him under center.
Shorts’ 2012 season ended early after he suffered two concussions in a short time frame, so that he’s gone into the last two offseasons recovering from significant injuries is a concern. But if Blackmon remains out of the mix into the regular season, and even if a top-tier rookie wide receiver is added in next week’s draft, Shorts is line to be the Jaguars’ No. 1 option in the passing game. As long as he is healthy in time for training camp, Shorts will be worth drafting as a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues based on target volume alone.