Thursday Night Football DFS Showdown
What a difference a week makes. One of the best things about the Thursday Night game is that it signals the start of a new NFL week. It is time to start processing how this week will make our DFS dreams come true.
This week, we start with the matchup between the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2) visiting the Caesar’s Superdome to play the 3-3 NFC South New Orleans Saints. The Jaguars will ride into the game on a three-game win streak. The Saints have lost three of their last four games.
As a weekly refresher, remember this is about DraftKings (single-entry) Tournament Showdown contest. With DraftKings, the scoring system is a full PPR format. There are also bonus points you can accumulate. Three bonus points are awarded for 300 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and 100 receiving yards. The Captain designation for one of your six rostered players differentiates the Showdown from regular’ contests. The person designated as the Captain will get their point total multiplied by 1.5 times. They will also have their price multiplied by 1.5 times.
The lines for this game have moved and are still moving. Right now, the Saints are favored, and the total has dropped.
- New Orleans Saints -1.5 (-115). I have seen this spread anywhere from -3 to -1, Saints. The line is presumably moving with the news of the availability of Jaguars’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
- Moneyline: Saints -120; Jaguars +100
- Total 39.5 over -110; under -118. This line has some movement also; starting at 41.5, it has gone as low as 39.0.
Injury report and player analysis from NFL.com
Here is where it gets interesting and is the cause of all the movement in betting lines we see. Quarterback Lawrence is listed as questionable on the Jaguars’ side of the ball.
- OUT: CB Tyson Campbell (hamstring), DT Davon Hamilton (back), WR Zay Jones (knee)
- QUESTIONABLE: QB Trevor Lawrence(knee), OL Brandon Scherff (ankle)
If Lawrence is unable to go, the Jaguars will play C.J. Beathard. Lawrence was listed as DNP Monday and was limited in practice Tuesday and Wednesday. An injured Lawrence or Beathard against the Saints defense holding quarterbacks to the fifth-fewest passing yards per game (182)and the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game (14.3) is not ideal.
New Orleans Saints
- OUT: TE Juwan Johnson(calf), S T. Gray (hamstring), OT Landon Young (hip), OL James Hurst (ankle), OT Ryan Ramczyk (concussion)
- QUESTIONABLE: LB Demario Davis(knee), S Lonnie Johnson (hamstring), S Tyrann Mathieu (foot), RB Jamaal Williams (hamstring)
The absence of James Hurst and Ryan Ramczyk on the offensive line is costly. According to Pro Football Focus, the Saints are 28th out of 30th in pass-blocking efficiency. Last week, they gave up two sacks, four quarterback hits, and 18 quarterback hurries on 53 dropbacks.
The Jaguars defensive line is eighth in pressures and ninth in pressure rate.
Always shop around for the best odds.
Alvin Kamara, 29.5 receiving yards, over -115
You must notice this is for receiving yards. Kamara has gone over this in two of his last three games. In Week 6, he had eight targets and seven receptions for 36 yards. In week 5, he only had three targets, three receptions, and 17 yards, while in Week 4, he had 14 targets, 13 receptions, and 33 yards. Kamara has been targeted more per game (8.3) since his return. And the Jaguars have allowed the third most receptions (39) to the running back position.
Christian Kirk, 51.5 receiving yards, over -115
The Saints play an aggressive man coverage. They have also allowed the seventh most fantasy points to the slot receiver (13.9). That will equal more targets for Kirk. Kirk has 49 targets for the season, with a 23.6% target share. He has 226 snaps out of the slot, the fourth most in the league.
In his six games, Kirk has accumulated more than 51.5 yards in all but one of those games. Coincidently, that was last week’s game, where he accumulated 49 yards against the Indianapolis Colts defense.
Total 39.5 under (-118)
The predictive total is low, but consider the circumstances. The teams are playing on a short week. There is a chance that Lawrence doesn’t play or plays hobbled. The Saints offense is averaging 18.2 points a game. Last week, the Saints accumulated 446 total yards and only scored 13 points in a loss to the Houston Texans.
While the Jaguars are averaging 28.3 points per game on their three-game win streak, the Saints’ defense is formidable. They are a top-10 defense in points allowed (16), rushing yards allowed per game (96.3), and passing yards allowed (182). And then there is the status of the Jaguars’ quarterback.
The Saints desperately need this win to keep in contention in the NFL South. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-2, while the Saints and Falcons are 3-3. This game will be a battle of the defenses.
The Jaguars are in the top five for the fewest rushing yards allowed per game (75.3). The Jaguars play mostly zone coverage and have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the perimeter wide receiver (28.7)while only allowing the fourth fewest to the slot.
The Saints’ defense plays an aggressive man coverage and has one of the best and deepest secondaries in the league. However, discounting the hapless New England Patriots in two of the Saints’ last three games, the tight end has scored a touchdown.
Look for a fast game, as the Jaguars are third in plays per game (68.3) while the Saints are fourth (67.8).
Showdown Player Pool
This Thursday’s game is when you want to wait for final injury reports to select your lineup.
I am not playing a quarterback this week unless Carr is out, and Jameis Winston is the starter in New Orleans. Then Winston is in my player pool but not the Captain seat.
Lawrence is always in consideration, but with a limited rushing upside on a bad leg, his ceiling is lowered.
Saints’ Defense,$8,100: an especially enticing play at Captain if Lawrence cannot go.
RB, Alvin Kamara, $15,600: the most expensive player. Kamara only averages 3.8 yards per carry, but he is being targeted 8.3 times per game. And while the Jaguars only allow 75.3 rushing yards per game, they are giving up 39 receptions per game to the running back position.
K, Blake Grupe, $7,800: If this is a low-scoring game, touchdowns will be at a minimum. That sounds like a kickers game. The issue is that Grupe appeared to have the yips last week. Grupe went 2-of-4, including a bad miss on a 29-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
WR, Rashid Shaheed, $7,500: The Jaguars are vulnerable on the perimeter. Shaheed has 16 receptions on 27 targets. His average depth of target is 18.2. He has 12 deep targets and two receiving touchdowns. (Chris Olave has one receiving touchdown, and Michael Thomas has zero).
RB, Travis Etienne, $15,300: This is a volume play because the Saints only allow 96.3 rushing yards per game and have not allowed a running back to score a touchdown. (Jordan Love scored the lone rushing touchdown).
But Etienne has had 18, 26, and 20 rushing attempts in his last three games.
WR, Christian Kirk, $12,000: Kirk in the slot is the second most likely to take advantage of the Saints’ defense.
TE, Evan Engram, $8,700: Engram is most likely to be able to take advantage of the Saints’ defense. Engram leads the Jaguars with 36 receptions. He has at least seven targets in five of six games.
The Saints have allowed a tight end a touchdown in two of their last three games.
K, Brandon McManus, $7,200: McManus has three field goal attempts in four out of the last five games. Last week, he converted on field goals from 48,49 and 51 yards.
Jaguars Defense, $5,700: The defense is eighth in pressures and ninth in pressure rate. The Saints’ offensive line will be missing two starters, and one backup got hurt last week.
While the Jaguars passing defense can be had, counting on several turnovers, sacks, and at least one interception.
Player Pool New Orleans
WR, Chris Olave, $9,000: Olave leads the receivers with 53 targets. He is averaging 69 yards per game. He has taken 128 snaps out of the slot, the most on the team.
QB, Derek Carr, $8,800: Carr has been the 17th most pressured quarterback. He has a 66.5% completion percentage from a clean pocket and a 59.0% completion percentage when pressured.
Carr is first in deep ball attempts (37) and 13th in red zone attempts (25). The Saints are seventh in pass plays per game (36.7).
WR, Michael Thomas, $7,000: The most recent prop bet on Thomas is 52.5 receiving yards. Thomas has 23.1% of the team’s 26 red zone pass attempts but does not have a touchdown.
TE, Taysom Hill, $6,200: Juwan Johnson is out of this game. Hill is always worth mentioning because of his assortment of uses.
TE, Foster Moreau, $3,200: In the four games Moreau has played, he is fifth in targets and sixth in receiving yards. He also has one touchdown.
So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance
- RB, Kendre Miller, $1,800
- TE, Jimmy Graham, $600
- WR, Keith Kirkwood, $200
Player Pool Jacksonville
QB Trevor Lawrence,$9,600: While the Saints’ defense has not allowed a 300-yard passing game or more than 26 points, the quarterbacks they faced were Mac Jones, C.J. Stroud, Baker Mayfield, Jordan Love, and Ryan Tannehill. Stroud threw for two touchdowns, and Mayfield had 246 passing yards and three touchdowns.
I’m betting that a hobbled Lawrence can at least match the production of rookie Stroud or journeyman Mayfield.
WR, Calvin Ridley, $8,400: Ridley’s production arc is uneven. In the first week of the season, he had 101 receiving yards. The next three weeks, he did not have more than 40 receiving yards, only to bounce back with 122 receiving yards. Last week, he had 30 receiving yards.
So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance
RB, Tank Bigsby: Bigsby is firmly behind Etienne, who dominates the backfield. Bigsby has been on the field for an average of 17.52% of the offensive snaps. Etienne for 78.50%.
Last week, Bigsby had three rushing attempts for two yards and one reception for six yards.
TE Brenton Strange, $1,000: The rookie was on the field for 55% of the offensive plays last week. He had three targets, two receptions for a touchdown, and 27 yards.
WR, Jamal Agnew: As long as Zay Jones remains out, Agnew is WR3 in Jacksonville, which leaves him as the fourth option in the passing game. He has been on the field for 20 offensive snaps but has yet to be targeted.
WR, Tim Jones: Another beneficiary of Z. Jones’ injury, Jones had one target and zero receptions in last Sunday’s game.
TE, Luke Farrell, $200: Farrell is on the field mostly as a blocker. Until last Sunday, he had at least one reception in three straight games.
I honestly have no idea who I will play until I see the final injury report. I am considering Engram, Shaheed, Saints Defense, Kirk, and maybe Lawrence as Captains. The two running backs will be considered depending on whether it is a single or multiple-entry GPP.
Good Luck and stay with Gridiron Experts for your fantasy football and betting needs.
Gladys is obsessive about fantasy football, Pittsburgh Steelers, dogs/cats, pop culture movies and television shows, and Ben & Jerry’s 7 Layer Vegan Ice Cream (although not necessarily in that order). A writer about NFL, college ball, and fantasy football for more than 10 years, she attempts to combine her degree in statistical variance (BS Policy Analysis) with player knowledge and game script. Though her concentration is on IDP, redraft, and PPR leagues, all fantasy formats are fair game. Reach out whenever you can find me on Twitter @gladysLtyler. And remember, don’t suck and tip your bartenders well.