Week 3 TNF Showdown

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Week 3 TNF Showdown

Week 3 starts with the Dolphins visiting the Jaguars. This game opened at 44.0 but has already been bet up to 47.5, with the Jaguars 2.5 point favorites at home. Vegas expects a close one, which is generally good for DFS.

Jaguars Analysis

The Jags’ run game has been the James Robinson show, somewhat unexpectedly after he was named the starting RB shortly before the season. He’s delivered with 5.1 yards per carry and four catches on five targets this season; that came against two relatively tough run defenses as well. He’s played 68% and 51% of the snaps so far, and the second number came in Week 2 against the Titans when the Jags were down big early on. Those are encouraging numbers, and his job should be secure against a Miami run D that has already given up over 300 rushing yards so far. Robinson coming out of nowhere might make some shy away, but I’m all in here in the best matchup he’s had so far. Behind Robinson, Chris Thompson will be utilized in passing down situations, but even last week when the Jags were way behind, Thompson only saw two carries and four targets; he can score from anywhere and belongs in the MME discussion. Bruce Miller played a few snaps but has only seen one target in each game and is one of the deepest of MME dart throws.

The Jaguars passing game is really interesting. DJ Chark had a huge rookie season and everyone’s expecting him to take a leap forward this year, and so far he’s only seen seven targets in two games, good for a 10.7% market share. He’s leading all Jaguars receivers in snaps played, so it should come around for him, but it’s hard to feel highly confident in his volume as the most expensive receiver in this Showdown. He’s a great tournament play if box scores and price keep people off of him.

If D.J. Chark is OUT…

The way this should impact the Jaguars passing game (with an emphasis on “should”) is that Chris Conley takes over his role on the perimeter, with Dede Westbrook, who has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks, being active as the backup WR4. Conley would be in an almost every-down role at just $2,200 and would immediately be the best value on the slate (on a slate in which we didn’t really need a lot of value due to the pricing, so, be thoughtful about not using all of your salary in tournament lineups), while Westbrook would be MME viable at the minimum salary of $200.)

The story of the Jags though has been the re-emergence of Keelan Cole, who was basically forgotten last year. Cole has the most targets on the Jags and has caught all but one with two touchdowns already; he’s clearly earned the trust of Gardner Minshew and is priced at just $5,400. Expect him to be very heavily owned here. Laviska Shenault is seeing less passing volume but he’s also getting a few carries each game as the Jags clearly want to get the ball in his hands, which gives him a safer floor than most receivers. All three Jags receivers are good plays here against a vulnerable Miami defense; Cole and Laviska being the strongest plays on paper while Chark is an excellent tournament play. Chris Conley is a rotational receiver with a lot of speed whose volume is going to fluctuate a lot. He had one target in Week 1 in a game the Jags were leading and seven last week when they were trailing. He’s a play that should be more strongly considered if the Jags have to play catch-up. You could also take some MME shots at Colin Johnson, I suppose. The Jags’ tight end situation is kind of messy, with Tyler Eifert leading the way but James O’Shaughnessy challenging him for snaps and targets. O’Shaughnessy has outplayed Eifert so far, catching every single one of his targets, and could push for more snaps if that continues. Eifert is someone I will probably have very light exposure to, while O’Shaughnessy is an interesting cheap GPP play if you think he starts taking over the starting role this week. There is also some guy named Ben Ellefson who sees the field a fair bit but has yet to draw a target. Anything can fly in MME (the Raiders’ fullback had two catches and a touchdown in the Monday night game!), but I wouldn’t even put him in dart territory personally. I’d rank the Jags’ receivers as Cole (who still might not attract a ton of ownership here, despite being cheap because people might not believe he’s really “back” and reliable), Shenault, and then Chark on a price-considered basis. One important thing to watch out for is the health of Byron Jones; while I’m not scared off of the Jags’ pass game just by Xavien Howard, if Jones is healthy (which looks unlikely), having two strong cornerbacks could cause the Jags to focus more on the middle of the field.

Dolphins Analysis

On the Dolphins’ side, the running back situation is hard to figure out because we haven’t seen them in a more competitive game yet (the Bills game ended close, but the Dolphins trailed for the vast majority of the game). Miles Gaskin has been dominating snaps with over 60% in both games, but that’s resulted in seven and nine carries, although that comes with a healthy 10 targets. Jordan Howard seems to only exist on this team to run for under one YPC and vulture goal-line touchdowns (and he’s leading the team in touches from inside the 10-yard line), but it’s not implausible that his workload could expand if Miami ends up playing with the lead. Matt Breida was signed and is promptly not being utilized and late-season favorite bad chalk play of 2019 Patrick Laird is nowhere to be seen. The way I would view this backfield is that Gaskin is the favorite to lead in touches. He has a solid pass game role, but with Howard vulturing goal-line work, and Breida stealing some touches as well, it’s hard to feel highly confident in him. Howard isn’t going to win you anything unless he falls into two touchdowns, while Breida has some ball-in-his-hands upside that lets him sniff a ceiling in tournaments.

In the passing game, the Dolphins get to take on a Jags’ pass defense that has allowed big performances to Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill so far. DeVante Parker appears back to full health as his snap percentage went from 37% in Week 1 to 88% in Week 2, but he has a tough matchup against stud rookie cornerback CJ Henderson. I don’t tend to shy away from receivers due to cornerback matchups except against the very top guys, but it’s enough to nudge Parker down just a smidge in my rankings. Preston Williams and slot man Isaiah Ford might get a little lost in the shuffle here. Williams has had plenty of opportunities but just hasn’t made many catches yet, while Ford is one of those guys most people haven’t even heard of, but he saw nine targets last week. Jakeem Grant’s snap percentage plummeted with Parker’s return to being a full-time player, rendering him nothing more than a thin MME play. So far though, the Dolphins’ leading receiver has been Mike Gesicki, as the popular breakout pick in best ball drafts is leading the team in targets, catches, and yards. I don’t like chasing outlier performances from one week, but Gesicki is a fantastic athlete who finished 2019 strong and should be a key weapon in this offense. Behind Gesicki, Durham Smythe is a blocker who is unlikely to see a target, while Adam Shaheen could be considered in MME builds. In this matchup, it’s hard to do the price-considered rankings because I like all four of these guys, but gun to my head I would probably say Gesicki, Parker, Williams, Ford.

TWO FINAL THINGS TO NOTE:
  1. Both teams feature a fairly narrow distribution of volume; there aren’t a lot of rotational guys who are seeing many snaps or much usage (outside of Miami running back situation). This means you can worry less about trying to find the random punt who has a decent game at no ownership, but it also means your opponents can do the same. I expect this will be a slightly chalkier than normal slate, so consider other ways to differentiate, such as not using all of your salary.
  2. {{Ryan Fitzpatrick|QB|MIA}} performed so badly in Week 1 that there were questions about if he would even start Week 2. He did, and he did well, but Tua Tagovailoa is waiting in the wings. I think Fitzmagic has bought himself another game, but if he comes out and is absolutely atrocious (always within his range of outcomes), there is a non-zero risk of an in-game benching here. I think it’s an unlikely outcome, maybe 5-10%, but something to consider. Tua is priced all the way up at $10k, so it’s hard to think that he would find his way into the optimal lineup if he takes over at halftime. (UPDATE - after I wrote this, news came out that Tua has yet to take a hit in practice, so it's hard to imagine that the Dolphins would just throw their QB of the future into a game right now. Fitzmagic should start and finish the game.)

The way this game is likeliest to play out is the Jags will find more success on the ground than in the air, though they should be able to do both. As home favorites, James Robinson is a strong all-around play and should be heavily involved. The Dolphins’ offense is erratic and hard to predict. If we get “bad Fitz,” the Jags could smash the Dolphins here. If we get “good Fitz,” who can be aggressive without throwing pick after pick, we could see a higher-scoring game than anticipated, as we did when Miami hosted the Bills last Sunday. This game to me feels like somewhat of a barbell-shaped distribution of outcomes; I would not be surprised to see Miami struggle to move the ball, but I would also not be surprised to see them connect for three touchdowns.

OTHER WAYS THIS GAME COULD PLAY OUT:
  • If we get bad Fitz, possibly even benched Fitz, the Jags could just have a field day.

  • Remember that we saw a couple of good games from Minshew last season when he took over as the starting QB, but then we saw some real disasters as well. Miami’s pass D can be decent-to-good if Byron Jones plays, which could potentially give Minshew fits.

SOME GROUPS TO CONSIDER:
  • At most 1 kicker and at most 1 defense, as always

  • Pair captain receivers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing

  • Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers

  • If RB captain, negatively boost or exclude the opposing defense

  • At most 2 Miami RBs

  • At most 1 of Thompson and Ogunbowale

  • At most 1 of Eifert and O’Shaughnessy

Since Showdown launched in 2018, Xandamere has been one of the most legendary players in the game — playing DK Showdown cash games at a 70+% win rate and finishing Top Two in a major Showdown tournament 10+ times. He dives into Showdown Slates for TNF, SNF, and MNF each week for our friends at One Week Season, and is on loan to us each week for Thursday Night Showdowns!

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