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NFL Prime Time Games: Showdown Week 3 Thursday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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Greetings Gamers! Welcome to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, we will be providing a free analysis for the single-slate action. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments for all your daily fantasy needs.

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Week 2 saw the chalk wash away like tears in the rain. Some was a result of poor play and some was due to rampant injuries affecting key players. Let’s turn our focus to Week 3 and see what the single game prime time matchups have to offer.

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Tune into NFL Live Before Lock on Thursday at 7:30pm ET as Alex “Awesemo” Baker, Ben Rasa and Nolan Kelly break down tonight’s game for Showdown formats.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars +1.5 / 39.0

Well, it took until Week 3 this year for the first horrible matchup on Thursday Night Football. Last week, Tennessee lost a heartbreaker at home after rolling to a 30 point road win in Week 1. On the other side Jacksonville is looking for their first win and trying to rally behind a rookie quarterback. Let’s see what we have to work with this week.

Check out the FREE Week 3 NFL main slate game by game breakdown from Adam Pfeifer here 

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Tennessee Titans 20.25 implied points

Quarterback

Marcus Mariota is going to be an adventure every week. In Week 1, he had 248 passing yards in the thrashing of the Browns and in Week 2 he mustered just 154 in a loss to Tennessee. That 248 would have topped all but three of his fourteen outings last season. It is hard to tell what to make of the Jaguars, who allowed 378 yards and three aerial touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes in Week 1 and held Deshaun Watson to 159 yards and no scores in Week 2. On a fun note, Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade and it seems like he will be getting his wish.

Running Back

Derrick Henry has been dominating the rushing workload for the Titans averaging 17 carries for 82.5 yards per game with two touchdowns. He also has five targets that he turned into three receptions for 87 yards and another score (that 75-yarder was definitely an outlier). Dion Lewis has only six carries for 16 yards and five targets for four receptions and a measly 11 yards. Tennessee is going to do their best to grind out this game and hope for another road victory. That has Henry squarely in play as one of the key cogs in this upcoming debacle.

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Wide Receiver

Just looking at the two-game statistical table for receiving production is enough to make any DFS gamer cry. It is tight end Delanie Walker leading the way and guard David Quessenberry outproducing the receivers one to zero for touchdowns.

Player

Tgts Rec Rec Yds TDs
Delanie Walker TE 12 9 94 2
A.J. Brown WR 9 6 125 0
Dion Lewis RB 5 4 11 0
Corey Davis WR 8 3 38 0
Derrick Henry RB 5 3 87 1
Adam Humphries WR 3 3 4 0
Tajae Sharpe WR 4 2 24 0
Darius Jennings WR 1 1 11 0
Jonnu Smith TE 1 1 7 0
David Quessenberry G 1 1 1 1
Total 52 33 402 4

Rookie A.J. Brown, the 51st pick overall out of Ole Miss, looks to be the desired option from the Titans receiver group. Long-time fantasy tease Corey Davis seems to be well down the pecking order and with the limited volume in general, Adam HumphriesTajae Sharpe and Darius Jennings are differentiation plays at best.

Tight End

After essentially all of last season, 35-year old Delanie Walker is back as one of the trusted options of Marcus Mariota. He has seen half a dozen targets in each of the first two games, though it will all be for naught if he doesn’t get in the end zone on Thursday night. Jonnu Smith currently has the same number of targets as Quessenberry.

Defense/Special Teams

We can actually give strong consideration to the Titans defense as they will be facing a rookie quarterback making his second NFL start. Tennessee has four interceptions and eight sacks in the first two games and should have ample opportunities in this matchup to capitalize on mistakes.

Jacksonville Jaguars 18.75 implied points

Quarterback

There is no shortage in the swagger department for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. One thing to keep in mind with inexperienced signal-callers is that they are prone to tuck the ball and run when they get in trouble. This can lead to turnovers, but it can also be bonus fantasy points, as evidenced by Minshew leading the team last week with 56 rushing yards on six carries.

The former Washington State Cougar did have four rushing touchdowns in his lone season at Washington State, for what it’s worth. The Titans passing defense is not bad, but it also is not going to be much tougher than facing the Texans in Houston like Minshew did on Sunday.

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Running Back

Leonard Fournette should be wildly popular once again as he is going to be leaned upon in all aspects of the game. He should see 15 to 20 carries and another 4 to 6 targets in the passing game. There is really not much else to say as he had every backfield touch this season save for one carry and one target that went to rookie Ryquell Armstead.

Wide Receiver

Though it looks like Dede Westbrook is the “third option,” the target volume tells a different story, showing he may not be as out of the mix as some would think. Yes, he had one reception on five targets last week and D.J. Chark had nine targets for 7/55/1, but are you ready to call Chark the WR1 already?

Player Tgts Rec Rec Yds TDs Snap %
DJ Chark WR 13 11 201 2 77%
Chris Conley WR 12 10 170 1 81%
Leonard Fournette RB 12 8 68 0 92%
Dede Westbrook WR 11 6 33 1 85%
James O’Shaughnessy TE 9 8 60 0 66%
Geoff Swaim TE 8 7 31 0 51%
Total 66 50 563 4

All of the options are in play as Minshew spread the opportunities around pretty evenly last week and we do not have enough history to anoint his favorite target just yet.

Tight End

We have a pair of fifth-year tight ends splitting time at the position and they have seen a similar number of targets. James O’Shaughnessy has been with the Jaguars the last three seasons and this is the first for former Dallas Cowboy Geoff Swaim. Mix and match as you see fit for differentiation and/or salary relief in the hopes of a touchdown.

Defense/Special Teams

Even if Ramsey is held out for a potential trade, this is a game where we can actively look to the defense on either side. Mariota likes to scramble, but he doesn’t always move forward. The former Heisman Trophy-winner has already been sacked eight times this season on only 60 dropbacks. Mariota is decent at taking care of the ball, but as we saw on Sunday night with Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, anything can happen in a single game.

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Strategy: though we have what is shaping up to be the lowest projected total of the season, there still is some intriguing strategy. In potentially low scoring games like this, quarterbacks, kickers, defenses and of course, key skill position players are all worthy of our consideration. Yards will be important, receptions (particularly on DraftKings) crucial and of course touchdowns will be magnified more than ever.

Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)

Top 10

  1. Leonard Fournette: arguably the best player on the field because he is very active in the passing game unlike his counterpart Derrick Henry.
  2. Gardner Minshew II: damn but this kid has no fear and I have no issues rolling with him as my Captain/MVP.
  3. Derrick Henry: we know that Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel wants to feed him the rock and control the clock.
  4. Jaguars D/ST: this is a game where both defenses will have opportunities to provide fantasy production. Do not worry about Jalen Ramsey.
  5. Marcus Mariota: as much as I would like to move one of the wide receivers above him, I have no idea who is the “best” option from either team.
  6. Delanie Walker: looks to be the steadiest of the Titans receiving options, he is priced for it as well.
  7. Dede Westbrook: on FanDuel for the discount, Westbrook is the best option of the three main Jaguars receivers.
  8. Chris Conley: on DraftKings the trio is more tightly bunched, so you can play your preference if the $600 difference is not an impediment.
  9. D.J. Chark: he has a fun name to say and is the “current DFS darling” from Jacksonville… much like Dede Westbrook was last season.
  10. James O’Shaughnessy: the discount on both FanDuel and DraftKings is useful, even when it is a mystery grab bag of top-shelf options.

Secondary Options

  1. Tennessee D/ST: they are here for DraftKings because it is a much better discount for O’Shaughnessy and of course the Jaguars at home are cheaper.
  2. Josh Lambo: slightly cheaper and at home – so he gets the tiebreaker.
  3. Cairo Santos: see above.
  4. A.J. Brown: the rookie has 4 and 5 targets in his first two games for 6/125/0 – just remember that we are still counting on Marcus Mariota for him to succeed, even at this price point. Davis, Sharpe and Humphries have all played more snaps
  5. Corey Davis: this low ranking could come back to haunt me, however, does it surprise you to know that in 29 games he has four total touchdowns and topped 100 yards only twice?
  6. Dion Lewis: essentially we need an in-game injury to Derrick Henry to unlock his potential if the current trends continue. In his last 10 games in full-PPR scoring, he has topped double digits twice and he has NOT scored a touchdown.
  7. Adam Humphries: he seemed like a great fit, but with just three targets and a low ADOT he will be hard pressed to accumulate fantasy production unless someone gets hurt.

Lottery Tickets

  1. Geoff Swaim: if you like him better than James O’Shaughnessy go for it. He at least is getting targets, which is more than we can say for the names below him in this section.
  2. Tajae Sharpe: two targets in each of the first two games.
  3. Jonnu Smith and MyCole Pruitt: TE2 and TE3 of four on the Titans. At least these guys are on the field as much as Delanie Walker, they just don’t get the looks.
  4. Tyler Ervin: returns punts and kickoffs for the Jaguars.
  5. Ryquell Armstead: DraftKings only and we need something to happen to Leonard Fournette in-game. Eight offensive snaps in the first game, none last week.
  6. Keelan Cole: 21 snaps this season, no targets.
  7. Anthony Firsker: only Tennessee would carry four active tight ends
  8. Darrius Jennings: shares return duties with DB Adoree’ Jackson
  9. Marqise Lee: may or may not be active. Hurt most of the preseason, a dozen snaps in Week 1, out for Week 2 with a knee injury.
  10. Seth DeValve: third string tight end, played 8 and 10 snaps the last two weeks for the Jags.

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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