NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 3: The Grind Down - Dolphins vs. Jaguars
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
NOTE: Games will be published as they are completed. Main slate writeups will be completed by Friday PM.
Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.
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Sports Betting Lines and Overview
Jacksonville Jaguars DFS Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
WR DJ Chark (OUT)
C Brandon Linder (Out)
Running Game Outlook
The Jaguars have played better than anyone could have expected through the first two weeks and have a chance to improve to 2-1 with a win on Thursday night. After parting ways with Leonard Fournette, many expected Devine Ozigbo to take over as the lead back. Unfortunately, he was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, which paved the way for James Robinson to be the early down back in this offense. He’s done an admirable job in the first two games, playing on 58% of the snaps and racking up 210 yards from scrimmage on 36 touches.
Dare Ogunbowale has yet to take a snap for the Jaguars, which has led to a clear split in work between Robinson and Chris Thompson. Thompson is more of a game script-dependent type of play, as he played 12 snaps in Week 1 (Jaguars were playing with a lead) and 31 snaps in Week 2 (Jaguars were playing from behind). In the first two games, he has two carries and six targets. While this doesn’t seem like much, this is a showdown slate and Thompson is only $2,600 on DraftKings. He could easily pay off his salary with three or four catches and anything on top of that would be icing on the cake.
The Jaguars will be without center Brandon Linder, but this is still a solid matchup for the backfield. Through the first two games, the Dolphins are ranked 31st in DVOA against the run and 25th in defensive adjusted line yards. Meanwhile, the Jaguars offensive line has exceeded expectations, ranking 10th in offensive adjusted line yards. I always recommend building a game script in your mind when it comes to showdown roster construction. Robinson has the safer workload and should benefit from the Jaguars playing with a lead, while Thompson needs the Jaguars to be trailing to truly reach his ceiling.
Passing Game Outlook
We have a battle of facial hair tonight, as the mustache of Garnder Minshew takes on the beard of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Minshew hasn’t made an effort to take shots down the field in the first two games, but he’s been productive from a fantasy standpoint. He has scored 20 and 28 fantasy points in divisional matchups against the Colts and Titans. As with most quarterbacks, his attempts hinge on the game script. He threw 25 more passes in Week 2 than he did in Week 1 with Jacksonville playing from behind. He draws arguably the best possible matchup for a quarterback, as the Dolphins are ranked dead last in DVOA against the pass and 30th in rushing yards allowed to quarterbacks. Minshew isn’t as mobile as Cam Newton or Josh Allen (whom the Dolphins have faced the first two weeks), but he has rushed for 19 yards in each of the first two games.
Editor’s Note: D.J. Chark has been ruled OUT tonight
The biggest issue from a fantasy standpoint is that Minshew likes to spread the ball around. Eight players saw at least two targets last week against the Titans. I’m not overly concerned about DJ Chark moving forward, but he does have more competition for targets this season. It helps that shutdown cornerback Byron Jones has been ruled out for the Dolphins, but they still have Xavien Howard. Chark is more than capable of winning this one-on-one matchup, but Minshew could opt to funnel targets away from Miami’s top cornerback. Laviska Shenault is a talented rookie that is already being used in multiple facets. Through the first two games, he has eight targets and seven rushing attempts. He should continue to improve as the season progresses and should have plenty of opportunities against a beatable Dolphins secondary. He’s considerably cheaper than Chark, he should have the better cornerback matchup, and he has rushing upside.
Keelan Cole has seen 12 targets in the first three games and could end up being the lowest owned of the top three receivers for Jacksonville. Chris Conley is similar to Chris Thompson in that he’ll play more snaps if the Jaguars are trailing. He’s cheap enough on DraftKings ($2,200) that he can be used to round out lineups, but he’s far from a building block. Tyler Eifert has seen a career resurgence in Jacksonville and leads the team in air yards (93) through the first two games. He ran a route on 70% of Minshew’s drop-backs in Week 2, which is a better statistic to look at for tight ends than snaps played. He rates out as a better point-per-dollar play on FanDuel than he does on DraftKings.
High Upside Correlations: Gardner Minshew + one or two wideouts
My Expected Team Exposure: High (Showdown) / Low (Full Slate)
Miami Dolphins Projections Breakdown
|Lynn Bowden Jr.||MIA||$200||$5,000||$10||0.34||WR147||1%||0.29|
Injuries to Monitor
CB Byron Jones (Out)
Running Game Outlook
At the start of the season, the Dolphins appeared to have an unappealing three-way timeshare at running back. While there are three running backs getting snaps, Myles Gaskin is getting the lion’s share of the work. Through the first two games, he has dominated the snaps (88), carries (16), and targets (11) in this backfield. Despite failing to find the endzone, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of the first two weeks. Jordan Howard will continue to get the goal line work, but he is averaging less than a yard per carry and has yet to see a target in the passing game. Matt Breida hasn’t had a huge role in the offense, but he’s played on 22% of the snaps and has 13 touches in the first two games.
The Jaguars have been respectable against the run thus far, ranking 16th in DVOA and seventh in defensive adjusted line yards. They bottled up Derrick Henry in Week 2, which ended up hurting many of our rosters in DFS. Heading into the season, they were expected to struggle against the run and the pass, so I’m hesitant to call them a good run defense after only two weeks. And it’s worth noting that they have already allowed 17 receptions and 142 receiving yards to opposing backs. Gaskin is one of my favorite plays of the slate on DraftKings ($7,200), while his projection takes a hit on FanDuel with the half-point per reception scoring. Breida could see six to eight touches at a price of only $1,800 on DraftKings. He could end up being the top value play of the slate if he takes one of those to the house. If Howard burns me with two one-yard touchdowns, so be it.
Passing Game Outlook:
After struggling in Week 1 against the Patriots, Ryan Fitzpatrick bounced back with 328 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Bills. The Dolphins are 0-2 in the standings, but have been competitive in each of their first two games. They now travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars, who are ranked 31st in DVOA against the pass through the first two weeks. If we know anything about Fitzmagic, it’s that he’s going to be aggressive and take shots down the field. This is as good of a matchup as you are going to find for that, as the Jaguars don’t get pressure on the quarterback and have a beatable secondary.
The big question of the slate is what to do with Mike Gesicki. He’s coming off of a huge game against the Bills where he had eight receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. Buffalo was playing without two of their best linebackers, but it was still an incredible performance. He’s not your typical tight end, as he usually lines up in the slot or out wide. He’s essentially a wide receiver that is listed as a tight end. The problem is that his outing last week has led to an increased price point and most likely, inflated ownership for this showdown slate. This is a nice matchup, but it does feel like we are buying the top.
DeVante Parker could be in for a breakout performance on Thursday night. He’s been bottled up the first two weeks, but has had to face two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Stephon Gilmore and Tre’Davious White. If there was a Mount Rushmore of current cornerbacks, I would have both of them on there. Parker now gets to face a Jaguars secondary that gave up four touchdowns to an A.J. Brown-less Titans passing attack last week. It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t have an injury designation heading into this game (he was dealing with a hamstring injury).
While the spot sets up well for Parker, it’s just as good for Preston Williams and Isaiah Ford. Fitzpatrick should be able to attack this defense any way that he likes. Ford has two more targets than Williams in the first two weeks, but Williams has more snaps (85% to 69%) and more air yards (148 to 102) than Ford. From a pricing standpoint, Ford rates out as the better point-per-dollar play on DraftKings ($3,000) and Williams rates out as the better point-per-dollar play on FanDuel ($8,000).
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High Upside Correlations: Ryan Fitzpatrick + one or two wideouts
Strong GPP Differentiators: Myles Gaskin (FD)
My Expected Team Exposure: High (Showdown) / Low (Full Slate)