The NFL season is entering Week 3 and that means another Showdown Slate Thursday night on DraftKings. For those newer to DraftKings Showdown contests, as always make sure you check out some general strategy for Showdown contests in my article from Week 1. For this piece, I will show you the best plays and break down this particular matchup between the Titans and Jaguars. But before the breakdown will we also recap the winning lineup from the last week’s NFL Showdown $20K Dimeback and see what conclusions for roster construction we can use as we progress for Week 3.
The DraftKings Showdown Recap
The best practice is to always approach the captain spot with a receiver or receiving running back which is what we saw in Week 1. And though this user played Cam Newton in the captain spot they would have actually scored more fantasy points if they had played one of his receivers in the captain’s spot. The reason this lineup ended up winning was that it 100% faded Christian McCaffrey, who was over 94% owned. To win GPPs you have to make bold statements which are not only made by the players you roster but by the players, you fade. Again this lineup also featured more Panthers than any other player which goes back to the idea of stuffing the majority of players you think will win (they don’t have to win) into your lineup. And again like Week 1, this lineup was not super contrarian besides fading McCaffrey. But again another big takeaway: Only one quarterback rostered. Remember we last week we saw a defense, and this week we see a kicker. Do not overlook those positions!
Thursday Night Preview
Marcus Mariota – $10,000, Gardner Minshew – $9,200
Two solid defenses against a struggling veteran and rookie making his second start. This should be fun. Historically Mariota has been downright dreadful against the Jaguars in his career especially on the road. In his four career road starts he has completed over 16 passes just once, thrown a total of two touchdowns, and has averaged 161 passing yards. Mariota is also not rushing as much as he has in the past with eight rushing attempts in two games for 56 yards. Mariota is the fade and Gardner Minshew is the buy. If the fact that he warms up in the locker room in just a jockstrap does not have you have convinced he actually has slightly more rushing upside and is not afraid to air it. Minshew as rushed for 62 yards on seven carries and has passed for 488 yards. His completion percentage is at 77.6% which currently ranks top-five in the NFL. Go with the rookie in his first start at home.
Leonard Fournette – $9,800, Derrick Henry – $10,600, Dion Lewis – $4,200, Ryquell Armstead – $400, David Fluellen – $200
The Jaguars at home against the Titans have traditionally been trounced. In their last two home matchups, the Jaguars have lost 46-22. So when it comes to the running backs Henry will be the chalkier play with a combo of Fournette and Lewis being a more contrarian play. Fournette has never rushed for more than 70 yards against the Titans and has been held to just 3.09 yards/carry. However, he has seen work in the passing game this season and had success in that aspect against the Titans in the past. The one thing that notes Fournette higher than Henry is that Fournette is game script proof. He has played on 92% of snaps this season. Henry has played on just 54.5% of snaps, and Lewis has played 46.3% of snaps. With those snap counts in mind, leveraging the field with game script flowing with a Jacksonville lead and forcing Lewis into action could be extremely profitable. There is a chance that you get burned though by fading Henry; we all remember the 238 rushing yard game the last time these teams played on Thursday night. The Jaguars have allowed second-most red-zone targets to the running back position so far in 2019. Lewis had eight receptions on eight targets against the Jaguars last season.
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Dede Westbrook – $7,400, D.J. Chark – $7,600, Corey Davis – $6,000, Chris Conley – $7,000 A.J. Brown – $5,600, Adam Humphries – $3,200, Tajae Sharpe – $800, Keelan Cole – $1,000, Darius Jennings – $200, Marqise Lee – $6,600
As of right now, the captain spot should be D.J. Chark. He is emerging as Minshew’s number one option on the outside and that is where Minshew is better; with deep throws down the field. Minshew struggles more with the shorter passes which is why Westbrook has struggled to the start of the season. Chark also has an 83.4% catch percentage and is averaging 18.3 yards/reception. Those both rank top-six in the NFL for receivers that have at least ten targets. Conley’s numbers are also impressive. 83.3% catch percentage and is averaging 17 yards/reception on 12 total targets. Those are the Jacksonville receivers to target. Chark does have an ankle injury so something to monitor as the week closes to Thursday.
On the Titans, Corey Davis finds himself in a very tough spot against Jalen Ramsey. He is going to be super-low owned. But this is where game-theory could really benefit Davis. What if the trade rumors with Ramsey are true and the bench him in the game? Or Ramsey just walks out on the team? Those scenarios seem perhaps unlikely, but that is how you need to think to win these showdown contests. Davis has done virtually nothing this season and has never had more than two receptions versus the Jaguars. The best upside play at the Titans is most likely A.J. Brown. He sees a lot of work out of the slot and has already flashed his big-play upside in the NFL. His yards/route run lead the Titans with anyone that has run at least 30 routes. If you need to save salary, pivot to Humphries who has seen 94.4% of his snaps from the slot.
Delanie Walker – $8,200, Geoff Swaim– $1,400, James O’Shaughnessy – $2,600
Walker has had some nice games in the past against Jacksonville but has not exceeded 75 yards in his last four games versus them. Walker will most probably be the most-owned Mariota pass-catcher making him a fade. Especially considering there is expected a negative correlation between Dion Lewis and Delaine Walker in terms of tight end/running back receptions. For the Jaguars, I would prefer O’Shaughnessy over Swaim. O’Shaughnessy has run more routes that Swaim and has four receptions in two straight games. His total of eight receptions actually ranks top-11 in the NFL at the tight end spot.
Josh Lambo – $3,400, Cairo Santos – $3,600, Titans DST – $5,200, Jaguars DST – $3,800
Again only play kickers if you are looking for safer points in a cash game for Showdown. They do not usually have enough upside to be effective in rosters in GPP lineups. Santos looks the best option as the Titans’ kickers in their last two games at Jacksonville have been forced to kick seven field goal attempts, both in winning efforts.
As for defenses, the Titans DST seems like they are in a smash spot against Gardner Minshew, who fumbled the ball multiple times last week. Titans are playing it too safe with Mariota making him less likely to turn the ball over.