Last updated: September 18th at 4:58pm ET.
Team Totals: Titans 20.5, Jaguars 19.5
Another ugly Thursday nighter seems inevitable in Week 3’s lowest-totaled affair (39) pitting against each other offensively-challenged division foes that emphasize run establishment. … Although Leonard Fournette’s box-score results have underwhelmed, the Jaguars’ every-down back owns touch counts of 17 and 19 after logging a career-high 97% playing-time clip last week. Tennessee’s run defense has struggled, yielding a combined 46/234/1 (5.09 YPC) rushing to Browns and Colts backs. A high-end RB2 play with 20-touch upside, Fournette should benefit from LT Cam Robinson‘s (knee) return, allowing Jacksonville to trot out its complete starting five on the offensive line for the first time this year. … The Titans’ defense piled up eight sacks in Weeks 1-2, all told limiting Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett to 6.53 yards per pass attempt. Although Gardner Minshew padded his Week 2 stats by leading the Jags in rushing (6/56/0), the rookie’s short-area passing style caps the explosiveness of Jacksonville’s offense and limits Minshew’s appeal to one-game DFS slates.
Minshew’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Dede Westbrook 11; Fournette, Chris Conley, and D.J. Chark 10; James O’Shaughnessy 8; Geoff Swaim 7; RyQuell Armstead 1. … Westbrook had a miserable Week 2, dropping a pass, losing a catch on his own pass-interference penalty, and finishing with three yards on five targets. As Westbrook runs 86% of his routes inside and slot CB Logan Ryan is the Titans’ top corner, Westbrook should be viewed as a PPR-specific WR4 and one-game DFS-slate play only. Tennessee’s secondary checked Odell Beckham (7/71/0), Jarvis Landry (4/67/0), and T.Y. Hilton (4/43/1) in Weeks 1-2. … Chark leads the Jaguars in Air Yards (179) with Conley (154) second and Westbrook a distant third (34). Chark and Conley’s Week 3 projections are similar, but I would lean toward Chark’s opportunity edge if deciding between the two. Chark led the Jaguars in Week 2 targets (9) and scored his team’s lone touchdown from four yards out in the fourth frame. Conley is also trying to play through a hip injury on a short week. … O’Shaughnessy has emerged as Jacksonville’s primary tight end over Swaim and third-round pick Josh Oliver, playing 74% of the Jags’ offensive snaps through two weeks. The Titans yielded 4/37/1 to Browns tight ends in Week 1 and 5/46/1 to Colts tight ends in Week 2, giving O’Shaughnessy some sleeper appeal on one-game DFS slates and in tight end-premium leagues as a desperation TE2.
Coming off a letdown loss to the Colts following Week 1’s stunning blowout win in Cleveland, the Titans visit Jacksonville continuing to manage their quarterback and feature Derrick Henry, whose Weeks 1-2 touch counts were 20 and 17 versus 6 and 4 for Dion Lewis. Hardly a shutdown force, Jacksonville’s run defense conceded a combined 49/228/1 (4.65 YPC) rushing line to Chiefs and Texans backs in its first two games. Jaguars defenders should have nightmares of Henry’s unholy Thursday night performance against them last Week 14, when Henry rushed 17 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns with 226 of his yards coming after contact. … On strict game-manager usage, Marcus Mariota ranks 28th among NFL quarterbacks in pass attempts (52), didn’t clear 250 passing yards in either of the Titans’ first two games, has taken eight sacks on 60 dropbacks (13%), and is averaging a humdrum 26 rushing yards over his last 16 games. He also missed early-week practice time with a quad injury, which could impact Mariota’s Week 3 mobility. Mariota is only an option in two-quarterback leagues and on one-game DFS slates.
Mariota’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Delanie Walker 12; A.J. Brown 9; Corey Davis 8; Henry and Lewis 5; Adam Humphries 3; Tajae Sharpe 2. … Walker ranks fourth among tight ends in target share (24.5%), but that means less in an offense that is 31st in pass attempts. Nevertheless, Walker is low-end TE1 playable as the favorite to catch touchdowns for the Titans. … Brown proved a Week 2 trap after his 100-yard opener, continuing to share snaps with Humphries and Sharpe behind clear-cut No. 1 Davis. Brown also committed a drive-killing fourth-quarter drop in Tennessee’s two-point loss to Indy. The good news is Brown is likelier than Davis to avoid Jalen Ramsey’s coverage; Ramsey put Week 2 clamps on DeAndre Hopkins (5/40/0), and Davis’ four career stat lines against the Jags are 2/21/0 > 2/34/0 > 0/0 > 1/4/0. Even as Brown lacks season-long start-ability, he is quite viable on one-game DFS slates. … I hesitated to post this breakdown early due to trade rumors involving Ramsey. When this writeup was submitted, reports had the Chiefs offering but Ramsey fully planning to play in Thursday night’s game.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 17, Titans 16