Week Eleven Analysis:
You can expect to have plenty of All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson in your face when you're the clear-cut No. 1 receiver on your team, and that's the boat Cecil Shorts will find himself in this week against Arizona. Still, there's no denying that the Jaguars throw the ball a ton (usually from behind), and Shorts is one of five receivers with at least 90 targets and 12 red zone targets on the season. Outside of last week's stinker in Tennessee and the game in Denver where he was hobbled, Shorts has averaged over seven receptions and 87 yards in his last six games.
Week Eight Analysis:
No one was betting on an injured Cecil Shorts to beat Justin Blackmon's box score last week, but CS3 led the team in receptions and yards. Shorts saw 13 targets, the fourth-most among receivers, and he's now one of five at the position with over 70 on the season. The 49ers have proven scary against the pass, but the Titans wideouts just topped 180 yards against them. Besides, San Francisco is scoring over 29 points per game, while Jacksonville surrenders that amount plus a field goal, which is the worst clip in the league. The Jaguars will need to pass per usual, and Shorts should continue to see extended work now that he's near full health.
Week Five Analysis:
Sadly, Blaine Gabbert gets another inexplicable start, but it comes against the Rams who have been inexplicably awful this season, allowing the second-most passing touchdowns – six of which have gone to wide receivers. Cecil Shorts saw double-digit targets for the fourth straight week and is currently the most targeted receiver in the NFL. The return of Justin Blackmon will take away some looks but could also spell relief for Shorts, who will probably see a mix of Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan at corner. Keep in mind that the duo is responsible for half the passing touchdowns thrown against the St. Louis.
Week Four Analysis:
If you can catch eight balls and for 143 yards in Seattle, then you deserve to be back on the fantasy radar. As a very talented and young receiver, Cecil Shorts should have never fallen so far off the map, but his surrounding situation in Jacksonville has been shoddy at best. Still, Shorts is top-10 in receiving yards this season and now has the highest target percentage among all wideouts. The Jaguars have not held a lead since the first quarter of Week 1, when their special teams scored a safety for a 2-0 lead. Shorts should continue to play catch up with the pass against the Colts on Sunday. Tragically, it's Blaine Gabbert under center again, which mutes Shorts' value.
Week One Analysis:
The Chiefs allowed 21 touchdowns to wide receivers last year, third most in the league. Kansas City had very poor play opposite Brandon Flowers at cornerback, who allowed just three receiving touchdowns. The remaining corners collectively let 13 slip through. An aging Dunta Robinson and plodding Sean Smith were brought in to update the unit. But last year, they combined to surrender 10 touchdowns. The support for Flowers doesn't figure to get any stronger. As for Cecil Shorts, last season he took just 664 snaps, which is roughly over a half season's work. Still, Shorts finished 25th in yards, tied for 20th in touchdowns, and tied for ninth in catches of 20 plus yards. If you extrapolated his numbers across a full 16-game slate, you'd get something like 90 receptions, 1,300 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Justin Blackmon will miss the first four games due to suspension, so look for Cecil to pick up the extra slack.
In seven-game span between Weeks 7 and 13 (when he suffered a concussion), Cecil Shorts was a top five wide receiver in just about every scoring system as he topped 75 yards in all but one game and scored a touchdown in five of seven contests. Prior to Week 7, Shorts played in fewer than half of Jacksonville's offensive snaps, so really those are the seven games that matter most in Shorts' short season. Those games helped feed a season stat line that ended with him being tied for third among wideouts with 17.8 yards per reception and tied for first in the league with five touchdown receptions of 30 or more yards. He'll be the unquestioned number one for the first four games of the year while Justin Blackmon serves a suspension, and to top it all off Shorts attended the increasingly legendary Larry Fitzgerald offseason workout program. Now, let's hope the Jaguars pull the plug on Blaine Gabbert, and commit to Chad Henne. In five games with Henne, Shorts scored three times, was targeted 9.5 times per game, and racked up 84 yards per game. Extrapolated to a full year, and we've got top-10 numbers: 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns.