Cecil Shorts became a contributor for fantasy football owners in 2012, with 55 receptions for 979 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games. He set a career-high in receptions last year with 66, but his yardage (777) and touchdown (three) totals dropped off as he missed the final three games with a groin issue that led to sports hernia surgery last December. Despite a hamstring issue that kept him out of last week’s minicamp, Shorts is in line to be Jacksonville’s No. 1 wide receiver with Justin Blackmon in the midst of an indefinite suspension.
The Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles third overall in May, but they appear committed to Chad Henne as their starting quarterback this season. That’s actually great news for Shorts, since 55 of his receptions and all three of his touchdowns came from Henne last season.
Jacksonville added Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of the draft, but it would be surprising if both guys eat into Shorts’ target total in any major way.
Shorts has averaged essentially one red zone target per game over the last two seasons (28 red zone targets, 27 games played), but with just five touchdowns in that area of the field over that time there’s room for upside as a touchdown scorer.
Durability is an absolute concern surrounding Shorts, with concussion issues ending his 2012 season early and last year’s calf, shoulder and groin issues more recently. Add in the hamstring injury that kept him out of minicamp, and betting on Shorts lasting all 16 games unscathed is not advised.
Shorts did not reach 80 yards in any of the five games he played after Blackmon was suspended, as opposing secondaries presumably focused on keeping him in check.
I like Shorts best in PPR leagues, based on target volume (9.6 per game in 2013) that is unlikely to drop much this year. A rebound in his touchdown total should come fairly easily with Henne under center, but expecting much more than 2012’s seven scores would be fairly aggressive. All things considered Shorts is worth targeting on draft day as a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3 in all scoring formats, and he’s a potential value pick even with the prospect of a missed game or two.
Bye Week: Week 11
Projected Round: Ninth round
Auction Value: $8 (Fantasy Pros.com)
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.