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TNF DFS Preview, Week 16: Jaguars at Jets

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I wouldn’t be surprised if most people thought this Thursday matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets was just a throwaway game. It’s a holiday week, the ratings might not be that great, so let’s throw two bad teams into this game. However, both teams are fighting for a spot in the playoffs and this game is important for both. We should get a solid matchup and there are some really fun players to watch in this one but we also have some weather issues to deal with. We’ll break it down as if the weather will not be an issue, but will of course update with any pertinent information. 

Update – We’re closer to game time and now the comparison being thrown around is the Week 12 game when the Jets threw all over the Chicago Bears. The heaviest winds appear to be holding off until later in the game, so I’m happy to use the passing game. It’s a slight risk but the field appears to be leaning into the weather so the easiest leverage on the board is to play passing games and bank on the production coming before the weather worsens late. 

 

Be sure to check out David Jones’ “General Rules” article for Showdown Strategy and his piece for each game, along with the DFS Showdown Strategy articles for each slate. Additionally, the FTN Livestream every game night will provide the latest insight for each slate. 

NFL DFS Thursday Night Breakdown: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets 

Packers -7, O/U 39.5 (Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)

Jacksonville Jaguars Plays for Week 16 DFS – TNF Showdown and Primetime Slates

Notable Injuries – T Cam Robinson, LB Travon Walker (O), QB Trevor Lawrence, OL Brandon Scherff (Q)

Quarterback

It’s still odd to me that the worst game for Trevor Lawrence over the past few weeks came against the Lions as he’s been carving everyone up. That trend continued this past week when he spearheaded a comeback against the Cowboys and scored almost 32 DK points. Since coming out of the bye week, Lawrence has thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception while tacking on a rushing score, and he deserves to be the highest salary on the board in my eyes. He’s also picked apart a couple of strong defenses in Dallas and Baltimore, so he hasn’t been beating up on trash cans to accumulate his stats. He’s up to QB7 in points per game and 13th in points per dropback to go along with ninth in yards. In neutral scripts since the bye week (a four-game sample), Jacksonville is second in pass rate behind only the Chargers. 

Now, this matchup isn’t ideal, just as last week wasn’t. The Jets are a strong defense that ranks sixth in DVOA against the pass and eighth in points per game allowed. They have also only given up the fifth-fewest yards and ninth-lowest completion rate so this is an elite unit, but not invincible. Lawrence has looked great when he uses play-action with a 112.0 passer rating but the Jets have the lowest passer rating allowed when faced with play-action, in addition to the third-lowest completion rate when faced with a deep ball. Lawrence has seen his receivers drop 29 passes, the third-most in the league so if you’re playing him, you’re taking the leap of faith that Lawrence can overcome the matchup as he has in the past few weeks. 

Running Back

Travis Etienne has been carrying the load for the Jags on the ground for weeks now and racked up another 19 carries last week for another 103 rushing yards and he took all four red zone carries. I wish he had more than the 8.1% target share he has currently but Jacksonville won’t use him like that with just 37 total targets on the season. It’s exceptionally frustrating because he’s seventh in yards per reception, so he’s getting the job done when they throw him the ball. 

The Jets have also been stout on the ground as they allow the eighth-lowest points per game, rank seventh in DVOA against the run, and have the 13th-highest stuff rate. Etienne is only 27th in points per game but that is factoring in the amount of time that he was splitting work with James Robinson. He’s jumped up to 11th in rushing yards on the year and he’s fifth in breakaway runs, 10th in breakaway run rate, and 10th in yards per touch. I still believe he’s a strong play with those metrics as the Jets are just average in gash rate allowed at 11.6%. The game shouldn’t get too far apart on the scoreboard so Etienne should climb higher than 15th in carries and possibly sixth in red zone touches. JaMycal Hasty is in play for MME formats because he’s getting a few touches per game but the floor is zero here as he only had two touches Sunday. On the season, he’s only at 43 total touches and 17 came in one game where Etienne left early. 

Wide Receiver 

We’ve been correct with Zay Jones often lately, and the lean would certainly be to not play him as much as the field does for this matchup. We know the boundary corners for the Jets are among the best in the league and almost certainly the best pairing. Zay has been excellent this year for the Jaguars as he’s played one fewer game than Christian Kirk but has only 10 fewer targets. Jones also only trails Kirk by about 30 points in scoring, which is not a ton over 15 weeks. He’s up to 13th in receptions, 19th in points per game, and 13th in red zone targets on the year while 64% of his routes are going to come on the perimeter. That means a lot of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, who allow no more than a 55% catch rate and 0.17 points per route (Garnder being lower in both numbers). There is a reason the Jets allow the fewest points per game to the left receiver and the 10th fewest to the right receiver. 

Kirk is $2,000 more on DK, and that is not a small number. His matchup does grade out the best in the WR/CB Matchup Tool because he gets to face Michael Carter in the slot for 78% of his snaps. Carter has improved his play as the year has progressed, down to just 0.23 points per route and a 68% catch rate. That is still the easiest matchup in the New York secondary to attack and it’s not particularly close. Kirk is 18th in yards run per route, 10th in yards, 15th in receptions and fifth in red zone targets. If we have to play a Jaguars receiver, he is a clear choice because I’m not sure Zay Jones in the slot 34% of the time is enough to counterbalance the horrible matchup for him on the boundary. Marvin Jones is on the boundary 86% of the time and only has a 13.1% target share on the year, so he’s not going to be involved much in any build this week. No other receiver is over 27 targets on the year and that is Jamal Agnew, who only has 11 receptions. He did get three carries last week but only has 10 on the season, so it’s not something we should probably bank on. 

Tight End

It was no surprise to see Evan Engram come back to Earth after the game of his career two games ago, but he still does have a target share of 18.4% with eight red zone targets. The Jets are 18th in points allowed per game to the position and Engram is still fifth among the position in targets, fourth in deep targets, third in receptions, fifth in yards, and eighth in points per game. The 6.6-yard aDOT is the lowest among the three main targets in the offense and that could come in handy this week since they are missing a tackle on the offensive line. If New York is shutting down the boundary, the pass attempts have to go somewhere and they could funnel through Kirk and Engram. I’d likely have Engram ranked ahead of Zay Jones for this particular matchup. 

Defense/Special Teams 

As long as Zach Wilson is the quarterback, I’m at least moderately interested in the defense against him. Don’t mistake that as saying the Jacksonville unit is a good one because they are 28th in total DVOA, 21st in points allowed per game, and 27th in yards allowed per game. However, they are tied for the fifth-most takeaways and the Jets have 18 giveaways, so that aspect is a strong match. New York is also just 23rd in points scored per game and the Jaguars are only $3,800 on DK. That feels like a very reasonable salary for this spot, even though they are 29th in sack rate.

Kicker 

If the Jaguars put up 30-plus points again, it may not matter that Riley Patterson only had two attempts like he did on Sunday because he tacked on four extra points. He only has one made field goal from 50 yards or more but with the tough assignment for the Jacksonville offense, they may not find the end zone with as much frequency this week. The Jets are eighth in red zone conversion rate allowed and they are the better defense in this game, while the salary for Patterson is right in line with kickers on a showdown slate. 

 

New York Jets Plays for Week 16 TNF DFS – TNF Showdown and Primetime Slates 

Notable Injuries – QB Mike White (O)

Quarterback

I wouldn’t say Zach Wilson played great football, but the fantasy results were there, and that’s all we particularly care about. I’ll give our Alex Blickle a lot of credit for taking the plunge last week when I couldn’t and now the question is whether Wilson can repeat the performance. The smart money is likely on “no,” but Jacksonville has fallen to dead last in DVOA against the pass and is 28th in points per game allowed as well. Wilson only has a handful of deep attempts this season but his passer rating takes a hit, and it’s not that good to start with. He’s only 23rd in completion rate and he’s still 36th in true completion rate and there just isn’t much to point to that Wilson does well. Even on Sunday, the completion rate was only 51.7% and in his eight starts, it’s under 55% to go with a 6:6 TD: INT ratio. It’s fair to say he’s had a rough schedule but I think we could see the “Baker Mayfield” Syndrome where he looks good for one game but falls right back to Earth in the next one. 

Update – The Jets have elevated Chris Streveler to the active roster and as DJ points out,  he could have a package of plays built in for him and is $6,000. I don’t mind throwing him in the player pool for MME, but would likely not need to go there in SE. 

Running Back

Whatever was ailing Zonovan Knight Sunday has come and gone, since he’s not on the injury report, so we should expect him to continue carrying the load. Since he’s been given the ball by necessity in Week 12, Knight has seized his opportunity with 59 carries over four games. The next closest back is Michael Carter but he’s only had 15 carries and Knight has a 7-1 lead in red zone carries as well. Knight also has a 6.2% target share in that span and Jacksonville is 14th in DVOA against the run and is 18th in points per game allowed.

Just like the Jets, they have a mix of characteristics since they have the 10th-highest stuff rate but the 12th-highest gash rate. We only have 69 total touches to go on but Knight is averaging 4.7 yards per touch and has 15 evaded tackles to boot. In games where he hasn’t had an injury scare, Knight has scored at least 13.3 DK points. The volume is far too high to ignore at just $7,000 on DK. I doubt I play much Carter at his salary because it seems as though DK priced him in case Knight missed. He’s been just a change-of-pace option so is likely capped around 6-10 touches, and Knight is getting the red zone work as well. 

Wide Receiver

One of the best things about the Wilson start at quarterback was the fact he targeted the receivers we had hoped for, for the most part. Garrett Wilson had a 26.5% target share with a 33.7% air yards share while Elijah Moore soaked up seven targets for a 20.6% share. I could live without Braxton Berrios and Jeff Smith splitting 11 targets in a game but I’ll settle for Wilson and Moore leading the pack. Some of those 11 targets are likely to be replaced by Corey Davis returning to the lineup, ad he has a 13.2% target share in the games that he’s been healthy. He did have some chemistry with Wilson in three games this year before Davis was injured. From Week 4 to Week 6, Davis and Wilson co-led the team with a 21.1% target share and Davis had two red zone targets compared to one for Moore and zero for Wilson. Davis faces mostly Tyson Campbell, who has only allowed 0.19 points per route and a 61% catch rate. 

Wilson still has the highest-graded matchup against Darious Williams, as he’s allowed 0.20 points per route and Wilson is 10th in yards as a rookie. He’s also 19th in yards run per route, eighth in red zone targets, and 14th in targets. It’s a shame he’s only 84th in catchable target rate as just 79 of his targets have been deemed catchable. His talent hasn’t been a total waste, but it’s been far from maximized in his first season. The salary is still very palatable although it seems like Moore might be the best bang for our buck. The question is if he’s getting the same amount of targets that he has been recently with Davis back in the fold. 

He’s had 17 in the past two games but he did have six in the Minnesota game and Davis played that whole contest. While Wilson has the highest individual grade, Moore has the best matchup in the slot since Tre Herndon is at 0.34 points per route and a 68% catch rate allowed. I rank the top three options as Wilson, Moore, and then Davis while Braxton Berrios will likely see 2-4 targets and perhaps a rushing attempt. It’s a showdown slate, so his touchdown equity probably shoots through the roof just due to the format. He does have 31 targets and nine rush attempts so it’s not hard to see us being annoyed that he scores this week for no real reason. 

Tight End 

It doesn’t get more tilting than seeing C.J. Uzomah be targeted twice and racking up 41 yards and two touchdowns while Ty Conklin’s two targets resulted in 1.7 DK points. Conklin still played 74.6% of the snaps compared to 50.8% for Uzomah so that appears to be just very poor luck for Conklin. Uzomah has only played 10 games and has just 19 targets for a 3.9% target share on the season, so this isn’t a sign that things are changing in my eyes. Those two scores were the first time we’ve seen Uzomah find the end zone all year, although Conklin only has three. Conklin also has a 12.7% target share, the seventh-most routes run, and the eighth-most targets among tight ends. He’s only 19th in points per game but he’s affordable and if he finds the end zone against a defense that allows the eighth-most points per game against the position, he should smash the price tag. 

Defense/Special Teams 

It’s been legitimately scary to go against Lawrence lately with the way he’s been playing, but both teams need this game in a big way and this is a good defense. My largest fear is Wilson continually puts the defense in a bad spot and they eventually break, but New York is sixth in total DVOA, fourth in points per game allowed, and has the eighth-highest sack rate in football.  The issue becomes the Jaguars’ offense, which is now in the top 12 in points per game scored and Lawrence has not been sacked a lot, the fifth-fewest in football. I’d much rather find the $600 for Jacksonville’s defense, but New York should be included in an MME player pool. 

Kicker 

Greg Zuerlein is tied for the sixth-most attempts in the league this year, not exactly a large surprise with the quarterback carousel the Jets have had this season. Just under 50% of his made attempts are from 40 yards or further, so the Jets should have the ability to get into his range 2-3 times at a minimum since the Jaguars are giving up a ton of yards per game. He’s slightly higher than most kickers but that doesn’t take him out of play completely because it’s not hard to see Wilson being able to make some plays, but not score a ton of touchdowns in this matchup. 

Core Plays 

  • Bam Knight 
  • Travis Etienne 
  • Trevor Lawrence 
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