Thursday Night Football
Jacksonville @ Tennessee
Team Totals: Titans 21, Jaguars 16.5
Sporting Week 14’s lowest total (37.5), Jags-Titans is a game to fade in fantasy-lineup decisions. After yielding top-seven results to five of its previous six quarterbacks faced, Jacksonville’s defense flipped to dominant form in last week’s shutout of the red-hot Colts, putting blankets on Indy’s pass catchers and hitting Andrew Luck nine times with three sacks. Luck entered with three-plus touchdowns in eight straight games, only to exit Week 13 scoreless. It’s impossible to know which version of the Jaguars we’ll see on Thursday night, but Marcus Mariota has at least a few reasons for optimism as a two-QB-league starter and single-game DFS play. Mariota quietly has top-ten fantasy scores in each of his last four full games, while Jacksonville is allowing a league-high 26.8 QB rushing yards per game. … The Titans took a hot-hand approach in last week’s win over the Jets, riding Derrick Henry for 12 touches to Dion Lewis’ ineffective 8, even as Lewis out-snapped Henry 59% to 41% for the game. Lewis’ touch counts are 11 – 14 – 8 to Henry’s 9 – 10 – 12 over the last three weeks. Although some opponents piled up bulk rushing production against the Jags during their seven-game losing streak, Jacksonville’s defensive front never stopped limiting run-game efficiency and has stymied enemy backs for 41/117/0 (2.85 YPC) rushing over the last three weeks. Henry is always a touchdown-or-bust flex play with no tangible passing-game role. Lewis should be much more involved this week than last but remains an up-and-down RB2/flex option.
Mariota’s Weeks 9-13 target distribution: Corey Davis 33; Lewis 17; Jonnu Smith 15; Tajae Sharpe 12; Cameron Batson 10; Anthony Firkser 9; Henry and Taywan Taylor 7. … Silent before catching last week’s game-winning 11-yard TD with 36 seconds left, Davis is now sure to draw shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey outside. Davis’ three career stat lines against the Jaguars are 2/34/0 – 0/0 – 1/4/0. Reasons for optimism are Davis’ target dominance in Tennessee’s passing game and 35% slot-route rate over the last month. Ramsey has guarded the slot on only seven snaps all year. Either way, Davis is a high-risk WR3 play with fewer than 60 yards in 8 of his last 11 games. … This was Week 13’s route distribution among Titans receivers: Davis 41; Sharpe 33; Taylor 20; Batson 15. … Sharpe has zero yards in three of Tennessee’s last five games with receiving lines of 3/51/0 (Jets) and 5/37/1 (Colts) mixed in. He is only an option on single-game DFS slates. … Same goes for Taylor, whose big plays injected late-game life into Tennessee’s offense in last week’s comeback win over the Jets for a team-high 3/104/0 receiving line. Taylor is a low-volume situational deep threat. … Preseason star Firkser ran a season-high 18 routes against the Jets, scoring a wide-open 12-yard TD and topping 40 yards for the third straight week. Sure-handed Firkser has caught a perfect 13-of-13 targets for 174 yards this year, clearly earning Mariota’s trust. Smith ran 24 routes against New York but has topped three targets in just 1-of-12 games. Both are viable plays on single-game DFS slates against a Jaguars Defense capable of forcing quarterbacks to work underneath. Colts tight ends caught 11 balls against Jacksonville last week.
After sitting out Week 13 for fighting the Bills, Leonard Fournette is armed with a “fresh legs” narrative to face a Titans run defense that collapsed in its last three games, yielding a 81/451/3 (5.57 YPC) rushing line to Jets, Texans, and Colts backs. Although Jacksonville’s offensive line is severely depleted with LT Cam Robinson, LG Andrew Norwell, and C Brandon Linder on I.R., Fournette logged touch counts of 29 – 30 – 21 before his suspension and is a high-end RB1 play with one of the highest volume projections in the league. … Cody Kessler was a full-fledged game manager in last week’s 6-0 win over the Colts, avoiding turnovers but attempting just 24 passes for 150 yards. He is a poor two-QB-league play against a Titans Defense allowing the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Kessler’s 2018 target distribution: T.J. Yeldon 13; Donte Moncrief 10; Dede Westbrook 9; Keelan Cole 6; D.J. Chark 5; James O’Shaughnessy 2; Carlos Hyde 1. … Yeldon is worth a look on single-game DFS slates with receiving lines of 4/36/1 and 7/49/0 in Kessler’s Weeks 7 and 13 appearances. Fournette didn’t play in either, but Yeldon will maintain a situational role with Fournette back, and his receiving-oriented game suits Kessler’s checkdown style. … Held to 40 yards or fewer in 8-of-12 games, Moncrief is a low-floor dart throw in an unproductive passing game facing a Titans Defense that has allowed the NFL’s eighth-fewest 20-plus-yard catches (34). … Westbrook led Jaguars wideouts in Week 13 routes run (31) but hasn’t reached 50 receiving yards since Week 5. … Cole’s 26 routes run ranked third in the Jags’ receiver corps last week. Cole has been playing in three-receiver sets lately only because Chark (knee) is hurt. … O’Shaughnessy paced Jags tight ends in Week 13 routes (22) but drew only two targets.
Score Prediction: Titans 23, Jaguars 17