NFL Grind Down: Week 14
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the statistics, insights and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
Every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts. Vegas lines are broken down to show projected team totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow.
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|Jacksonville Jaguars||Tennessee Titans|
Notable injuries and suspensions: None
Quarterback: The Jaguars ended their seven game losing streak in Week 13. Amazingly, they did it with Cody Kessler leading them. The bad news is they won 6-0 and failed to score a touchdown. Kessler finished 18/24 with 150 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He did rush five times for 28 yards and got his first ever victory, but there’s not much to like here for DFS purposes. There’s no reason to play him on a full slate.
Running Backs: Leonard Fournette was suspended for Week 13 for his fight the prior game. Fournette was on his way to monster game in Week 12 before getting tossed (he had an 18-95-2 game on the ground and 3-13-0 game through the air). Now it’s almost as if he’s coming off an extra week of rest to face the Titans. Last week, the Jaguars used a committee between Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon to make up for Fournette’s loss, where it was roughly a 60/40 split in favor of Yeldon. With Fournette back, there’s no reason to touch Hyde or Yeldon in this game. If you are getting exposure to this game, Fournette is the only one I’d touch on the Jaguars side. He should be in for another run-heavy gameplan as I’d expect the Jaguars to do whatever they can to hide Kessler. The Titans do boast an above-average run defense and it’s fair to question how efficient the Jaguars will be able to move the ball downfield with Kessler leading the charge, so I wouldn’t go crazy with exposure to Fournette.
Pass Catchers: Out of Kessler’s 22 targets, nine went to running backs (Yeldon had eight and Hyde had one). With Fournette back, that could translate to a bunch of short dump-off passes to him. Dede Westbrook led the pass catchers with five targets and a measly 3-25-0 line, while Donte Moncrief had four targets and a 3-40-0 line. On a full slate there’s no reason to consider any of these Jaguars pass catchers. If you’re playing a Showdown slate, you’re a sick, sick person. I suppose you could take a chance on guys like Westbrook, Moncrief, Keelan Cole and James O’Shaughnessy, but I’d expect their volume and touchdown expectations to be extremely low.
The Takeaway: It’s ugly on the Jaguars right now for DFS purposes. Leonard Fournette is the only player I would feel comfortable rostering, but I really see no reason to get Jaguars exposure if playing a Thursday – Monday slate.
Notable injuries and suspensions: None
Quarterback: Marcus Mariota engineered a come-from-behind victory last week but has a tougher task at hand this week against a Jaguars defense that just held the Colts scoreless. Given the matchup, there’s no reason to play Mariota on a Thursday – Monday slate, but there’s strong merit to using him on a Showdown slate. He’s now tossed multiple touchdowns in four of his last five games (the one game he failed to do it was the one where he left early because of an injury). Mariota has also been adding fantasy points via his legs. His 43 rushing yards sadly led the Titans last week. He appears to finally be healthy and worth a look only on a Showdown format.
Running Backs: Dion Lewis out-snapped Derrick Henry 40 to 28 last week, but it was Henry who out-carried Lewis 10 to 6 and Henry who found the end zone for a one-yard touchdown. Just when we had started to fall in love with Lewis, Derrick Henry just won’t leave our lives. There’s no reason to consider either on the full slate. On the Showdown format, Henry is going to be a touchdown-or-bust vulture while Lewis has appeal on full-PPR sites but only has one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown all season, so you’re really banking on those PPR points.
Pass Catchers: Corey Davis remains the lone bright spot on this Titans receiving corps as he led the team with seven targets last week. He caught a game winning touchdown with seconds left in the game and finished with a 3-42-1 line. It’s likely he’ll see coverage from Jalen Ramsey this Thursday, so it’s a less-than-ideal matchup. Ramsey “held” T.Y. Hilton to an 8-77-0 line off 13 targets last week for some context. Davis is too risky on a full slate but fire him up in a Showdown game as we saw him torch Stephon Gilmore in a difficult matchup a few weeks ago for 125 yards and a touchdown. Davis has touchdowns in three of his last four games and I fully expect Mariota to target him regardless of the matchup. Tight end Anthony Firkser caught his first touchdown of the season last week and has been seeing three-to-four receptions over the past three weeks. He’s cleared at least 42 receiving yards in the past three weeks too but has only been playing on 22%-28% of the snaps in that timeframe, so it feels too risky to chase. If Ramsey is able to slow down Davis, that may funnel more targets to Jonnu Smith, Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor. Sharpe actually played on 78% of the snaps last week but it only led to a 3-51-0 line off six targets. It was Taylor who led the team in receiving with a 3-104-0 line but it was driven by a 55-yard bomb. While Taylor only played on 43% of the snaps, he’s worthy of some dart throws on a Showdown slate.
The Takeaway: There’s nothing I would chase here on the Thursday – Monday slate. If playing a Showdown slate, Mariota would be a priority, as would Corey Davis despite the tough matchup against Jalen Ramsey. The running back situation is a bit of a hot mess here with Henry and Lewis in a timeshare. If you’re chasing the touchdown, go with Henry. Lewis has more upside but I prefer him on a full-PPR site given his lack of touchdown equity.