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Jaguars vs. Bengals Thursday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown and NFL DFS Picks

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Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 4 Thursday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 4 Jaguars vs. Bengals Thursday Night Football matchup.

Week 4 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

This Thursday night features the last two No. 1 picks, Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow, meeting for the first time since the 2019 NCAA National Championship game. Lawrence’s Jaguars rank among the worst in the league in many key offensive categories and currently have a negative-38 point differential, third worst in the NFL. The 2-1 Bengals look much improved from a season ago, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but they still have plenty of questions about their offensive consistency. With key contributor Tee Higgins set to miss his second game in a row, the Bengals’ touches should be a bit more concentrated than usual, which will be advantageous for Showdown DFS players.

Joe Mixon Should See Plenty of Work

Mixon has been quiet in terms of production over the past two weeks, scoring a total of 18.5 PPR points since his superb Week 1 where he was NFL RB2, had 33 total opportunities and 4.7 yards per touch. Still, Mixon has yet to have a game with fewer than 19 opportunities and has topped 75 total yards in four of his last six starts dating back to last season. The Jaguars rank just below league average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed and lean towards being easier to attack via the ground game than through the air. That makes Mixon the safest skill position player on the slate, and the Awesemo value ranking for Mixon is higher than Burrow’s on DraftKings.

Tyler Boyd’s Matchup Looks Juicy

The Jaguars rank third worst in the NFL in yards per pass attempt allowed, eighth worst in points allowed per play, and they just traded C.J. Henderson. The Jaguars have exactly one cornerback currently in PFF’s top 100 cornerbacks (Shaquill Griffin at No. 92), which explains why PFF ranks Boyd’s matchup against the hapless Jaguars secondary as the fourth-most advantageous matchup for a wideout in Week 4. On both DraftKings and FanDuel Boyd ranks first in Awesemo value metric among all players projected for 7-plus fantasy points due to his rather affordable $7,400 salary, which is just seventh highest on the slate.

Trevor Lawrence Is Struggling

Lawrence has struggled mightily in his first NFL action, ranking ninth in overall pass attempts and fourth in total air yards but 25th in yards passing. PlayerProfiler.com credits Lawrence with 17 interceptable passes, tied with Ben Roethlisberger for the most in the league. Lawrence has not been helped much by his receivers, as the Jaguars currently rank fifth worst in dropped passes and bottom three in average receiver separation at target, and combined with Lawrence’s lack of accuracy and mediocre decision making, there has been little offensive consistency to speak of. Lawrence is projected for nearly 5 fewer points than Burrow, making Burrow the best choice by default for Showdown rosters that only utilize one of the quarterbacks. Even with Lawrence not playing to his potential, it is probably most advantageous to fit in both players into cash lineups.

The Jacksonville Wide Receiver Trio Has Tournament Appeal

The Bengals defense looks much improved this season. After being one of the more exploitable secondaries in the league in 2019 and 2020, Cincinnati ranks fourth in the NFL in yards per pass attempt allowed and fifth in points per play allowed. They have three cornerbacks ranked in the top 50 of PFF’s defensive grades but none in the top 25, meaning one of the three primary Jacksonville receivers — Marvin Jones, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault — could have a big game in the spot. Awesemo projects roughly 36 DraftKings points for the trio, with 40% of the production headed to Jones and the remaining 60% to Chark and Shenault. But due to a slightly deflated salary, Awesemo likes Shenault the best of the three on both DraftKings and FanDuel. If playing any of the three at the Captain spot, make sure to pair them with Lawrence.

Ja’Marr Chase Might Be For Real

While Boyd might look like a better value play on paper, Chase has been impressive in his first three games in the NFL. He ranks outside the top 33 receivers in target share but top five in air yards share and has made the most of his opportunity, currently top 12 among receivers in fantasy points per game. Chase ranks top 10 in yards per target, expected points added (EPA) and passer rating when targeted. Jacksonville may simply have no one on their roster who can keep pace with Chase. He has scored a touchdown on 25% of his targets, a completely unsustainable number, but that does not mean he cannot have another blow-up game against an undermanned Jacksonville secondary.

The Bottom Line

This game is incredibly important for Cincinnati, who could easily be 3-0 had they taken care of business against a middling Chicago team in Week 2. If they can get to 3-1, that will put the Bengals on their best path towards playoff contention in nearly a half decade, with winnable games against the Lions and Jets prior to their Week 10 bye. The Jaguars are simply looking for some semblance of stability, both from their offense and their defense. Jacksonville is the only team to be ranked in the bottom five in offensive EPA success rate and in defensive EPA success rate allowed, and they may very well be on track for back-to-back No. 1 picks.

Check out today's FREE DFS tool of the day

Week 4 Thursday Night Football Prediction: Bengals 24, Jaguars 17


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Take a look at our NFL line-ups, NFL depth chart list and inactives. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS strategy for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL DFS rankings, and NFL DFS stacking.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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