Now that the 2012 NFL Draft is in the books, it’s high time for all us fantasy football geeks to start gearing up for the upcoming fantasy season, which will be here before we know it.
The first step in that process is evaluating what this year’s rookie class can bring to the table for fantasy owners. The first player we at fantasyppr.com evaluated, was one of the most intriguing receivers in the draft, Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the fifth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
In college, Blackmon was a catch machine, averaging 115 catches over his last two seasons with the Cowboys. He also had a nose for the end zone, catching 38 touchdowns from Cleveland Browns first-round selection Brandon Weeden.
The question is how will those numbers translate to the National Football League in a Jacksonville Jaguars offense that was one of the worst in football in 2011.
Throwing Blackmon the football in 2012 will be the Jags first-round pick from 2011 Blaine Gabbert, out of Missouri.
Gabbert came into the NFL with high expectations, yet struggled mightily in his first season, barely completing over 50% of his passes, while throwing for 12 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. His record as a starter was 4-10 and his yards per attempt was a meager 5.4.
Yet, in Gabbert’s defense, when a 5’8 Mike Thomas is your no.1 receiver, expectations have to be pretty low. It seems the Jags realized their young signal caller was in desperate need of some assistance.So not only did Jacksonville trade up to the no.5 spot in the draft to select Blackmon, they also signed former Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson.
However, the aim of this post is to project the potential value of Blackmon in the 2012 season. In our opinion, Blackmon should be very productive. He fits well with Gabbert, who can be an accurate passer but needs to get rid of the ball quickly. Blackmon, who lacks elite speed for his position, excels at underneath routes and racking up yards after the catch.
Blackmon is also a big, physical receiver who should be good in the red zone and will make life easier on the young quarterback.
FantasyPPR Projection: As far as Blackmon’s 2012 value, we see him as a potential no.3 wide receiver. I see Blackmon hauling in about 70 passes for 850 yards and eight touchdowns. Not spectacular numbers but they would make for a very solid rookie season and could get him time in your fantasy lineup as a solid flex option. However, at this point his draft stock should fall somewhere in the range of rounds 10-12.