DJ Chark Jr. is a 25-year-old, 6’4” wide receiver with the size and abilities to make fantasy football pundits drool — so why hasn’t he put it all together? He had a breakout 2019 season in Jacksonville that saw him compile 1,008 yards and 8 touchdowns, causing him to climb draft boards before the 2020 season.
That didn’t work out. Chark finished 2020 with only 53 receptions for 706 yards and 5 touchdowns. Many thought the right arm of Trevor Lawrence would be the key to unlocking Chark’s talent, but we haven’t seen it yet.
So, what are we doing with the “alpha wide receiver” in Jacksonville? What should we expect on Thursday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals?
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Should I start or sit DJ Chark Jr. in Week 4?
Chark and fellow wideout Marvin Jones are the two receivers locked into starting outside roles in Jacksonville’s offense, and they’re both seeing a healthy amount of targets and air yards. In a matchup of Joe Burrow and Lawrence, the last two No. 1 overall selections in the NFL Draft, I would expect a decent amount of points, particularly by the Bengals.
A negative game script is a wide receiver’s best friend, as Lawrence should have to throw the ball early and often to keep pace. Chark’s production will likely be based on whether Lawrence can make adjustments to the NFL in a timely manner. So far, Lawrence is only completing 54.2% of his passes.
Chark has a relatively low floor, as evidenced by his Week 2 clunker of a game (1 reception, 19 yards), but the ceiling is there against a beatable Cincinnati defense. He’s a flex play on Thursday Night Football, and if Lawrence can connect on some deep throws, Chark could be a pleasant surprise this week.
DJ Chark Jr.’s fantasy profile is complex
Chark is puzzling, to say the least. He’s locked in as a starting wide receiver and is commanding the second-most targets on the team behind Jones. He’s seen 22 targets through the first three games, but he’s only caught 7 of them. Fortunately for fantasy managers, Chark has turned 2 of those 7 receptions into touchdowns. He and Lawrence don’t appear to be on the same page yet.
Not only that, but everything about Chark’s profile has been inconsistent.
In Week 1, Chark saw a healthy 12 targets but only caught 3 passes. In Weeks 2 and 3, his targets plummeted to 4 and 6, respectively. Chark’s half-PPR scoring totals through three weeks:
- Week 1: 16.1 points
- Week 2: 2.4 points
- Week 3: 12.4 points
It’s been quite the roller coaster of emotions.
On the plus side, Chark’s average depth of target has been 16.32 yards. That ranks eighth among wide receivers who have seen at least 10 total targets through the first three weeks. Of the wide receivers in that top eight, Chark has the third-highest team target percentage.
It feels like Chark is going to burst onto the scene in a big way sooner than later. The chemistry between Chark and Lawrence needs to continue to develop, but all the underlying analytics point to major success. If you have Chark on your roster, be patient with him. The breakout is coming.