Heading into week one, a lot of people were already starting to think the Jacksonville Jaguars could be significantly better than they were a year ago. Their plight to prove that to be true just got a heck of a lot easier. Per reports, Carolina Panthers starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville, opening the door for the Jaguars to be able to roam a little more freely on offense.
More specifically, rookie rusher T.J. Yeldon could be in for a better day than originally thought. Lotulelei was on the fence (foot) to make the start, so it was always going to be tough to project a rookie running back making his pro debut against a potentially lethal front seven. That front seven takes a sizable hit with Lotulelei out, however, and could allow Yeldon to enjoy a very strong debut.
Losing Star Lotulelei doesn’t automatically mean the Panthers will be trash against the run in week one. Jacksonville still has a lot to prove with their offensive line, while Yeldon himself struggled running inside in his preseason debut. Yeldon was very active in his first preseason game, however, and looks to be Jacksonville’s feature back to start the season. With solid talent, a massive role and a downgraded opponent, Yeldon looks like a top-20 fantasy running back for the first week of the season.