Cecil Shorts’ Updated Fantasy Outlook After Justin Blackmon Suspension

Cecil Shorts’ fantasy value has never been higher.

Once again, Shorts is on the rise as fellow Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon has been hit with an indefinite suspension from the NFL for yet another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy per NFL Network’s Albert Breer and Rotoworld’s Evan Silva:

Jaguars announce WR Justin Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely for violating substance abuse policy. Was suspended Weeks 1-4, also.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 1, 2013

From the @jaguars: “(Blackmon) will be eligible to apply for reinstatement prior to the start of the 2014 season.” http://t.co/yp1p1MX5wf

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 1, 2013

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen confirmed Justin Blackmon is done for the year. Indefinite suspension. Future with #Jaguars uncertain.

— Evan Silva (@evansilva) November 1, 2013

The news is unfortunate to say the least, as Blackmon was quickly on his way to top-10 receiver status, but his loss is Shorts’ gain in a major way.

Shorts is no stranger to being the No. 1 target in Jacksonville with Blackmon sidelined.

He did just that in the first four games this season, which saw him catch 26 balls for 337 yards and no scores, with one game over 100 yards receiving.

Important note—in those first four games the Jaguars foolishly went with a quarterback carousel. Now veteran Chad Henne is implanted as the starter, and Shorts has been consistently productive as a result.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Shorts has been reliable through and through. He’s caught seven or more passes in five of eight contests. Blackmon‘s absence means even more work, but especially where it matters most—in the red zone—where he’ll have more scoring opportunities.

As the only viable option on Jacksonville’s offense, Shorts is well on pace to shatter his 55 receptions for 979 yards from a year ago. He’s already at 46 for 565 with eight games to go, and in 2012 Blackmon was in the way.

Shorts is a quality No. 2 fantasy receiver regardless of the matchup, and some defenses may elevate him to No. 1 status.

While he won’t score many touchdowns in the horrific Jacksonville offense, Shorts is a must-start with Blackmon out of the way.

Jacksonville sits on a bye in Week 9 before an encounter with a top-10 pass defense in Tennessee the week after. Shorts must be in all fantasy lineups regardless.

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