JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are going with the backfield-by-committee approach in 2016. Even though the Jaguars signed Chris Ivory to a five-year, $32 million contract in free agency, general manager Dave Caldwell said the Jaguars plan on having him share carries with T.J. Yeldon.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: 736.4 yards, 4.4 TDs
Over or under: Take the over on the touchdowns, but this is a tough call on the yardage because Ivory is coming off his first 1,000-yard season and he said it’s no coincidence that 2015 was the first time he had more than 200 carries (247). The Jaguars want to run the ball more in 2016 than they did last season (37 percent of the snaps), but Ivory and Yeldon are going to split the workload, so Ivory’s carries will drop. Just how the carries will be divided isn’t yet clear, but early indications are the Jaguars may use the pair interchangeably, at least if the first preseason game is an indication (both had six carries). Ivory could end up with 160-180 carries, which should put him in the 700- to 800-yard range, but I’ll go the under on the yardage. Ivory will be team’s top option on the goal line, which is why it’s safe to take the over on the touchdowns.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: 661.8 yards, 3.6 TDs
Over or under: Yeldon had 51 percent of the Jaguars’ 354 carries last season, and that’s certainly a number that’s going to drop now that he’s sharing carries with Ivory, but I still like the over on yards and touchdowns. Yeldon was on the field way too much last season -- he averaged 49.3 snaps per game (592 in 12 games), which was the most of any back in the league according to ESPN Stats & Information -- and getting more rest should make him more effective. It also should help him in terms of wear and tear on his body and give him a better chance of appearing in all 16 games. The Jaguars are committed to running the ball more, which should help both Ivory and Yeldon.
Who else could see time: Jonas Gray had been impressive early in camp but has missed a week with a quad injury. He’s fighting with Denard Robinson, Joe Banyard, and Corey Grant to be the third back. With Gray hurt, the favorite right now is Robinson, who has rushed for 914 yards in three seasons. Regardless of which of those players make the roster, there will be very little work for them unless there’s an injury.