Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3, 0-3 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-1, 2-1), 8:20 p.m., TNF
Implied Team Totals: Jaguars 19.5, Bengals 27
Spread/Total Movements: 7 to 7.5, 45 to 46.5
Weather: 65 degrees, 0% chance of rain, 5 mph
Jaguars Injuries to Watch: LT Cam Robinson (shoulder), DE Roy Robertson-Harris (ankle)
Bengals Injuries to Watch: WR Tee Higgins (shoulder), CB Chidobe Awuzie (groin), RT Riley Reiff (ankle), RG Xavier Su’a-Filo (knee), S Jessie Bates (neck), CB Trae Waynes (hamstring)
Brolley’s Jaguars Stats and Trends
The Jaguars have lost 18 straight games and they’ve failed to cover in consecutive games even with D/ST touchdowns, which is impressive.
The Jaguars are off to an 0-3 ATS start and they’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven games.
Rookie QBs are 1-9 outright and ATS so far. Mac Jones is the only rookie quarterback with an outright win and an ATS cover and they both came against Zach Wilson in Week 2.
Trevor Lawrence has thrown multiple INTs in each of his first three games and seven interceptions total. He totaled just 20.3 FP in his last two games after using garbage time to throw for three TDs for 22.1 FP in the season opener. The Bengals have allowed the ninth-fewest FPG (16.8) to QBs through three weeks, but they benefited from playing Big Ben and the Bears.
Marvin Jones has survived Lawrence’s inconsistent play thanks to 8+ targets, 5+ catches, 55+ yards, and 12+ FP in each of his first three games as the rookie’s #1 WR. Six different WRs have reached double-digit FP against the Bengals in the early going.
D.J. Chark has been an all-or-nothing deep threat through three weeks, but he’s hit for scores in two of his first three games. Chark is averaging 22.0 YPR with an aDOT of 17.1 yards. The Bengals have given up the 10th-most yards per game (180.3) to WRs through three weeks.
Laviska Shenault has yet to post more than 50 receiving yards in a game and he’s totaled just 13/95 receiving (7.3 YPR) in the early going. JuJu Smith-Schuster managed 3/25 receiving on 40% of the snaps against the Bengals last week.
James Robinson is turning the corner as we head into October with Urban Meyer slowly coming to his senses when it comes to Carlos Hyde’s usage. Robinson posted 25.4 FP against the Cardinals in Week 3 with 15/88/1 rushing and 6/46 receiving on six targets. His 21 touches and his 59% snap share dwarfed Hyde’s eight touches and his 34% share, and Robinson’s touches have risen each week (8<14<21). The Bengals are giving up just 58.0 rushing yards per game (8th-fewest) but Najee Harris (14/102 receiving) and Dalvin Cook (6/43) have had success through the air.
Brolley’s Bengals Stats and Trends
The Bengals are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games.
Cincinnati is 7-3-1 toward unders in its last 11 games.
Cincy is 1-5 ATS in its last six games after an outright victory, and they’re 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite.
The Bengals, of all offensive lines, ended Pittsburgh’s NFL record of 75 straight games with a sack. It helped that Joe Burrow dropped back just 19 times in their lopsided victory. Burrow is averaging just 25.0 attempts per game and he’s yet to reach 19+ FP in a game. This is another week where he could have limited volume with the Bengals entering as seven-point home favorites. The Jaguars are giving up 311.7 passing yards per game to QBs
All Ja’Marr Chase does is score touchdowns. He notched his third touchdown of 30+ yards in three games and he added a nine-yard score for good measure in Cincinnati’s victory over the Steelers in Week 3. Chase has now scored 24 touchdowns in his last 17 games dating back to his final season at LSU in 2019 when he tore up SEC competition withBurrow tossing him the rock. The fifth overall pick is sitting as the WR13 with 18.9 FPG through three weeks, and he’s done while seeing just 16 targets. He’s still seeing a 21% target share in Cincinnati’s low-volume passing attack in the early going, but more targets should begin to filter his way as the volume ramps up as Burrow gets more comfortable in his return from his ACL surgery. The Jaguars have allowed four different WRs to reach 100+ yards through three games.
Tee Higgins sat out last week with a shoulder injury and this week’s quick turnaround will make it difficult for him to play. He has double-digit FP in his last nine full games with Burrow.
Tyler Boyd has bounced back with 13+ FP and target shares above 30% in each of the last two weeks. Jaguars’ slot CB Chris Claybooks allowed all six targets thrown his way to be completed for 72 yards last week against the Cards.
Joe Mixon saw another 18+ carries last week but he finished with his second straight disappointing fantasy performance because of another one-catch game without a touchdown. This week’s gamescript sets up for another heavy workload as a runner — he’s averaging 22.3 carries per game — and the Jaguars have allowed four rushing touchdowns to RBs in the early going.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-3 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 25.3 (2nd)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 65.7 (20th)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 68.7% (4th) | Run: 31.3% (29th)
Week 1-3 – Pace: 32.8 (31st)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 60.0 (24th)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 54.7% (27th) | Run: 45.3% (6th)
Coming off three-straight double-digit losses to the Texans (16 point loss), Broncos (10), and Cardinals (12) – the Jaguars are 7.5-point road dogs on a short-week heading into Cincinnati. We’ve seen a reversal in the way the Bengals want to play offense compared to last year where they got to the line of scrimmage faster than any team in the league and were very pass-heavy in all situations. Through three games, the Bengals are 63.3% run-heavy when they have a lead – which is the second-highest rate in the league only behind the Browns (63.7%). As massive home favorites against a Jags’ team that has only been competitive for about 3 quarters this entire season, this game sets up perfectly for the Bengals to run Joe Mixon at will. The Jaguars front-seven has faced a whopping 28.7 carries per game by opposing backs (fourth-most) because all of their opponents have been able to build leads and run the ball in the second half to salt the game away. Mixon to the moon.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Much of the issue for Joe Mixon’s relative lack of production despite his massive usage lies with the Cincinnati O-line. They have not provided the same quality of push as protection of the pocket. I do have my reservations, but the Bengals are favored by a TD — at least at the time of this writing — implied to score the ninth-most points. In turn, the Jaguars’ defense is handing over the third-most PPG (30.3). But the fact that Jacksonville leads the NFL in giveaways (nine) and combined with allowing the third-most rushing TDs, Mixon is a good bet for fantasy production this week.
I also like the matchup for Cincinnati’s wide receivers. With the expectation that Tee Higgins (shoulder) is out, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd should eat. You can argue that the Jacksonville pass defense has played at a bottom-three level. Has the since-traded CJ Henderson been a liability in coverage? Absolutely. But not worse than the Jags’ remaining options to replace him. And the individual that is likely to start at right corner is 2021 second-rounder Tyson Campbell. Advantage Chase.
As for Boyd, he also gets a juicy matchup, with nickel CB Chris Claybrooks.
The one matchup I like for Jacksonville is that for WR Marvin Jones. The Bengals have been quite good in coverage this season. If we see Chidobe Awuzie’s groin and Jessie Bates III’s neck issues clear up and Trae Waynes is finally able to take the field, the challenge for the Jags’ passing attack will heighten. But assuming Waynes continues to sit on his butt collecting game checks, that would pit Jones the most across from Eli Apple.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Against a Jaguar defense that just dealt away CB CJ Henderson, it is, in theory, a good matchup for Bengal QB Joe Burrow for fantasy. Here’s the problem, though — the Bengals have been (correctly) smart with Burrow. His 75 pass attempts are ahead of only Jameis Winston (an insane 63) among QBs with three starts this season. Through three games, the Bengals have gone 57.9% pass-heavy in the first 3 quarters when the game is within a score (22nd). Last year, the Bengals were 62.2% pass-heavy in neutral situations (5th). Burrow is still working his way back from a catastrophic knee injury, and keeping him upright is far more important than Burrow putting up record-setting numbers. Per SIS, Burrow’s been pressured just 25 times this season, tied for 27th-most in the NFL, so behind an untrustworthy offensive line, I like the Bengals approach.
As Wes outlined above, I love everything about this matchup for the Bengals’ WRs. I don’t think Tee Higgins (shoulder) is going to play, so I’m firing up Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd. Chase, especially, has been impressive. Here are the most fantasy points scored by a rookie WR in their first three games since 2000: Anquan Boldin (70.8), Roy Williams (68.8), Terry McLaurin (59.7), Calvin Ridley (57.2), and Chase (56.8). Chase is also just one of five receivers to start their careers with 4 TDs in their first three games all time. Touchdown regression could hit Chase hard if the Bengals don’t up their pass rate, but I’m not risking that this will be the week for that given the juicy matchup. Chase and Boyd were targeted on 11 of Burrow’s 18 throws in Week 3 (61.1%)… and were responsible for 84% of his intended air yards.
Obviously, the projected game flow lends itself to an aggressive projection for Joe Mixon. Dating back to last year, Joe Mixon has seen at least 19 opportunities (carries + targets) in nine straight games, for an average of 24.3 per game. For reference, Dalvin Cook averages 24.4 opportunities per game since the start of the 2019 season. The problem Mixon is facing is a lack of TD upside… The Bengals have had just 6 drives reach the red-zone this season, which is third-fewest ahead of only the Jaguars (5) and Jets (3). And he’s also not cashing in on targets, because Burrow isn’t throwing the ball much at all. Nonetheless, the Jags are giving up the 6th-most FPG (28.8) to RBs this year, and I’m willing to wager Mixon gets in the box this week. He’s an RB1.
The Jaguars are a pretty narrow fantasy team for me. While it was good to see Urban Meyer try to get going with Trevor Lawrence on the ground last week — he had 3 designed runs — the Bengals are getting healthier in the secondary with Trae Waynes (hamstring) looking likelier to suit up this week. I’m not there yet on Lawrence in 1QB formats. He’s still making too many mistakes and isn’t running enough for my tastes.
If I’m getting exposure to the Jag passing game, it will be with Marvin Jones as a solid WR3, even if Waynes is back. Jones also has played in the slot on about 27% of his snaps, and while that’s predominantly Laviska Shenault territory, that could get him some more favorable matchups. As for Shenault, his 98 routes are the most among any receiver with fewer than 100 receiving yards (95). His production has been abominable thus far.
One guy who interests me, as he gets more work with Lawrence, is DJ Chark. Chark is tied for the league lead with Davante Adams in targets of 15 or more air yards (12) – but only 5 of those targets have been catchable. Still, Chark’s intended air yards of 373 are 6th-most in the NFL, just 4 yards behind Tyreek Hill (Marvin Jones is 11th). Chark is the WR40 in total production despite just 7 catches this season, and his awful catch rate of 31.8% is bound to regress to the positive. I’m buying low on Chark.
RB James Robinson got it done with 15/88/1 on the ground and 6/46 receiving against Arizona, but he still split snaps with Carlos Hyde (59% to 34% in favor of Robinson). Robinson’s touches have risen from 8 to 14 to 21 in the first three weeks, and while the Bengals’ run D has been stout against three good backs (Dalvin Cook, David Montgomery, Najee Harris), the Bengals’ 28 receptions surrendered to RBs are the most in the NFL (14 by Harris alone last week). Robinson is on the RB2 radar.
The Jags made a bizarre trade this week, sending away disgruntled CB CJ Henderson to the Panthers for TE Dan Arnold and some draft compensation. The Jags evidently believe they need a receiving specialist at TE with Chris Manhertz the blocker and James O’Shaughnessy (ankle) on IR. O’Shaughnessy was targeted 8 times in Week 1 before getting hurt just 3 snaps into Week 2. Maybe Arnold emerges, but it’ll take some time.