Thursday Night Football
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
The Vegas total on Thursday night's Titans-Jaguars game is 43 with host Jacksonville favored by three. The Jags have a team total of 23 points. ... Missing top cornerback Jason McCourty (groin surgery), Tennessee's once-stout pass defense has sprung leaks over its last two games. Drew Brees and Cam Newton combined to shred Dick LeBeau's unit for 49-of-65 passing (75.3%), 604 yards (9.29 YPA), four touchdowns, and one interception in Weeks 9-10, with each adding a rushing score. Especially with feature back T.J. Yeldon nursing a foot injury, this is a game where the Jaguars figure to lean on their passing attack. Blake Bortles has thrown multiple touchdown passes in 7-of-9 games, earning QB1 treatment in this average to above-average matchup. ... Despite opening the week in a protective walking boot, Yeldon will apparently attempt to play on Thursday night. A volume-driven fantasy commodity, Yeldon's touch totals over his last three games are 21, 17, and 23. The Titans' run defense has taken a small-sample step forward while the pass defense has slipped the last two weeks, holding Saints and Panthers running backs to 158 yards and one touchdown on 49 carries (3.22 YPC). Tennessee still ranks 26th in Football Outsiders' run-defense DVOA over the course of the season, however. This is a good enough draw for Yeldon to be fired up as a relatively safe-floor, low-ceiling fantasy RB2.
Bortles' target distribution since the Jaguars' Week 8 bye: Allen Robinson 22; Allen Hurns 17; Julius Thomas 13; Bryan Walters 12; Yeldon 9; Marqise Lee 5. ... Robinson ranks seventh among NFL receivers in targets (91) and ninth in PPR scoring. With Yeldon and Hurns (sports hernia, foot) both expected to be active at less than 100%, Robinson is an upside WR1 play as the likely focal point of Jacksonville's offense against a Tennessee defense missing its top corner. ... That isn't to diminish the outlook of Hurns, who has consistently shown the ability to play at a high level short of full health. Hurns practiced fully this week and has scored a touchdown in seven straight games. Hurns is an every-week WR2 play at this point. ... Health pending, Jacksonville's No. 3 receiver will either be Walters (concussion), Rashad Greene (thumb), or Lee against the Titans. In order to play, rookie Greene would need to be activated from injured reserve-designated for return ahead of Thursday night's game. Lee filled a sub-package role off the bench in last Sunday's win over Baltimore, playing 33% of the downs and securing 1-of-5 targets for eight yards with a drop. Walters has been the Jaguars' main slot receiver since Greene's injury, but must pass concussion protocol on a short week. ... Thomas has been a colossal bust through five games as a Jaguar, clearing 25 yards once. He's just a matchup-based streamer against a Titans defense yielding the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends.
Three-point underdogs at Jacksonville, the Titans' Week 11 team total is 20. ... As the Jags play stout run defense but routinely get torched by the pass, Marcus Mariota has a good-looking matchup on paper. Jacksonville is 30th in Football Outsiders' pass-defense DVOA with a 17:5 TD-to-INT ratio allowed. The Titans mixed a few designed runs into Mariota's repertoire in last week's loss to Carolina, which will boost both his floor and ceiling should it continue. Mariota deserves to be locked into two-quarterback-league lineups and is worth consideration as a low-end QB1 streamer play. ... Ranked No. 2 in run-defense DVOA, the Jaguars have held enemy running backs to 268 yards on 89 carries (3.01 YPC) over their last four games. This is not an enticing matchup for one-dimensional grinder Antonio Andrews, who may lose work to rookie David Cobb should Cobb make his 2015 debut Thursday night. ... Pass-catching backs have had more success versus Jacksonville, which has coughed up the fourth most receptions in the league to RBs (60). Although Dexter McCluster's fantasy potential is always capped by his role-player usage, he makes some sense as a desperation dart throw in PPR this week.
Mariota's target distribution on the year: Delanie Walker 41; Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas 31; Justin Hunter 24; Dorial Green-Beckham 23; Anthony Fasano 21; McCluster 19. ... Running low on pass catchers, the Titans lost Hunter (ankle) for the season in Week 10 and ruled out Wright (MCL) on Wednesday. Jacksonville coughed up an 11-117-2 number to the Ravens' tight end trio last week and poses a good enough matchup for target leader Walker to be viewed as a rock-solid TE1 play. ... Green-Beckham's usage and on-field performance have been frustrating and inconsistent, but his playing time continues to trend in the right direction. Green-Beckham has logged over 60% of the Titans' snaps in three straight games and figures to become a 70% player or more in Hunter's absence. For fantasy owners in serious bye-week binds, Green-Beckham is worth a Week 11 stab with increasing opportunity in a plum matchup. ... Replacing Wright at slot receiver the past two weeks, Douglas has drawn target totals of 5 and 3 on snap rates of 83% and 81%. Always a poor bet for touchdowns, Douglas has a difficult Thursday night draw with physical Jaguars slot corner Aaron Colvin.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 24, Titans 20