Here’s a breakdown of DFS one-game contests for Week 3 of Thursday Night Football featuring the Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars at 8:20 E.T. on NFL Network.
Cash Game Strategy
Titans vs. Jaguars — the kind of game where you expect the running backs to outscore the quarterbacks in fantasy. Leonard Fournette is the highest projected player on the slate in our DK Showdown Models, and Derrick Henry — who gets the Jags on TNF again after his legendary “get off me!” 99-yard TD run against them last December — is neck-and-neck with Marcus Mariota and Gardner Minshew.
With the game expected to be close (Titans are -1.5) it makes sense to split cash game exposure between Fournette and Henry in the 1.5x spot, pairing them with the opposing team’s respective kicker (Cairo Santos for the Titans, Josh Lambo for the Jags) to capitalize on the potential script of the RB in your 1.5x scoring TDs while the opposing RB’s team settles for field goals.
The final piece is Jags tight end Geoff Swaim, who has the top Projected Plus/Minus on the slate. Swaim has run a route on 43.5% of Jags pass plays through two games and caught no fewer than three passes in each, which represents solid value at $1,400 despite his modest yardage total (31 yards) on seven catches.
On FanDuel, stacking both teams’ QB and RB1 doesn’t work pricing-wise, so the best course of action is to use a Fournette-Henry-Dede Westbrook (the top projected non-QB besides Henry and Fournette and top value among non-QB/RB1s at $8,500) core and split exposure between Mariota-Lambo and Minshew-Santos core to again optimize based on the potential game script that would allow you to capture potential scoring from the team’s QB you faded via field goals.
Another option is to use Titans’ pass catchers in the lineups that fade Mariota, but they’ve been such wild cards that I would rather roll with the best mix of value and volume among both teams in Westbrook. Using a Delanie Walker-Swaim combo, for example, would be foregoing roughly 3 projected points compared to Westbrook-kicker.
Core GPP Plays
Note: These are in addition to the players already mentioned in the cash write-up and generally has a focus on pass catchers.
TE Delanie Walker, Titans: Leads the Titans in catches (9) and air yards (109, per AirYards.com) through two games.
WR Adam Humphries, Titans: The talk in Nashville this week is centered around the four costly sacks Mariota took last week, and how most of them could have been avoided if Mariota had found his check down option rather than looking downfield.
This sets up better for slot man Humphries and his average depth of target of -0.3 (lol) rather than Corey Davis (9.9), A.J. Brown (8.8), and Tajae Sharpe (12.0). Humphries has run a route on 55.7% of Titans pass plays but has only three catches for 4 yards, so the pressure to get the rock to a player guaranteed $19 million is mounting for both the coaching staff and Mariota.
After Mariota visibly froze when confronted with pressure numerous times last week against the Colts, I expect to see more blitzing than usual from Jags defensive coordinator Todd Wash, which could also obviously give Davis and Brown chances for a big play downfield in single coverage. But as far as core plays, Humphries is a player capable of five-plus catches that will go mostly overlooked after his slow start.
WRs Dede Westbrook & Chris Conley, Jaguars: Titans opponents have picked on slot corner Logan Ryan (18 targets, per PFF) and right corner Malcolm Butler (13) while avoiding left corner Adoree Jackson (5), so this matchup sets up better for Westbrook, who has run 88% of his routes from the slot, and Conley, who lines up vs. left corners just 26% of the time compared to D.J. Chark‘s 47%.
Chark, of course, could move around and still make plays, but his production to date (4-146-1 in Week 1, 7-55-1 in Week 2) will likely make him the highest owned. I’d reserve Chark strictly for Minshew stacks in hopes that sprinkling in Westbrook and Conley in non-Minshew lineups provides greater differentiation than Chark.
Individual player correlations are from the past 12 months and can be found in the player cards in our NFL Player Models. Team positional correlations can be found in our NFL Correlations Dashboard and are from the start of 2018 unless otherwise noted.
- Titans QB-TE1 +0.68
- Henry-Titans DST +0.58
- Titans QB-Opposing QB +0.44
- Titans RB1-Opposing RB1 -0.11
- Mariota-Henry -0.34
- Henry-Davis -0.39
- Fournette-Lambo +0.47
- Fournette-Jaguars DST -0.27
- Fournette-Westbrook -0.27
- Westbrook-Lambo -0.42
- Fournette-Chark -0.94
Mariota-Walker and Henry-Titans DST are clearly the two building blocks for the Titans as far as GPPs. The former would work more if the Titans are in comeback mode and the latter if the Titans handle business as expected on the road.
The Jags offenses over the past year and change has basically been Fournette and Field Goals, so it’s only right his top correlation is to Lambo. Ironically, Nick Foles’ injury may have enabled to stumble upon a longer term answer in Minshew, but even at home, this is a tough spot for him going up against veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees — who stifled Baker Mayfield and the explosive Browns offense in Week 1 — on a short week. That said, Minshew and the Jags receivers are the optimal choice in lineups built around Henry-Titans DST stacks.
Players whose production would benefit owners at the expense of more expensive or highly owned players
RB Dion Lewis, Titans: Since Mike Vrabel took over as head coach at the start of 2018, Henry is averaging 93.8 scrimmage yards and 1.30 TDs in wins compared to 59.0 scrimmage yards and 0.25 TDs in losses. Lewis, meanwhile, is the opposite, averaging 54.6 yards and 0.12 TDs losses compared to 51.7 and 0.10 in wins.
If this game goes awry for Tennessee (and I’m hoping it doesn’t because I took the plunge on the Titans moneyline at -125), Lewis has a good shot at his production converging with Henry’s at a reduced price tag.
TEs MyCole Pruitt & Jonnu Smith, Titans: Per PFF, Pruitt has a run a route on 30% of Titans’ pass plays, and Smith, 27%. It would be more ideal if one simply ran 57% of the routes, but either is still liable to steal targets that would otherwise go to the higher owned Walker.
WR Marqise Lee, Jaguars: Was initially thought to be the Jags’ No. 1 or No. 2 wideout when healthy and doesn’t carry an injury designation heading into Thursday. Lee is overpriced, but his wide range of outcomes still provides value in large GPPs.
Ranking the low-cost, complimentary players not already discussed in the leverage section by likelihood of having a worthwhile fantasy stat line.
- TE Geoff Swaim, Jaguars: As mentioned, has the top Projected Plus/Minus of any player in this game.
- TE James O’Shaugnessy, Jaguars: Pricier than Swaim but has run a route on a greater percentage of dropbacks (52.3%).
- WR Tajae Sharpe, Titans: Has run a route on 42.9% of Titans pass plays and clocks in with the No. 3 Projected Plus/Minus.
- RB Tyler Ervin, Jaguars: Serving as the primary return man and was the only other Jaguar running back to play a snap on offense last week — albeit with two.
- RB Ryquell Armstead, Jaguars: The rookie saw eight snaps— seven on passing downs — in Week 1 before staying plastered to the bench in Week 2 behind Ervin. With the Jags on a short week, though, he could reenter the rotation.
- TE Anthony Firkser, Titans: Ran four routes in Week 1, three in Week 2.
- WR Darius Jennings, Titans: Two routes in Week 1, one in Week 2, but did catch an 11-yard pass last week.
- TE Seth DeValve, Jaguars: Has played 18 snaps but run only four pass routes through two weeks.
- WR Keelan Cole, Jaguars: Ran 10 routes in Week 1, four in Week 2, and will likely continue to trend downward toward goose-egg status with Lee now healthy.
Pictured above: Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27)
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports