Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Titans-Jaguars

Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Titans-Jaguars article feature image
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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Delanie Walker, A.J. Brown

  • Sean Koerner is here to help you make your Thursday Night Football fantasy start/sit decisions.
  • See which Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars players are must-plays (or stay aways).

Tonight’s Thursday Night Football showdown between the Titans and Jaguars is primed to be a run-heavy game. But should you start any pass-catchers on either team? What about either quarterback?

Let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players in Titans-Jaguars.

Quarterbacks

Marcus Mariota, Titans

This matchup makes it more likely Mariota will be handing it off to Derrick Henry instead of airing it out on TNF. The Jaguars are much more vulnerable against the run than the pass, so expect the Titans to have a very conservative run-heavy game plan.

There’s some buzz about Jalen Ramsey being dealt after Week 3, indicating this could be his last game in Jaguars uniform. If for some reason they go as far to rule out Ramsey for tonight, I do not think that news should vault Mariota into anyone’s starting lineup outside of 2QB/Superflex leagues.

Gardner Minshew, Jaguars

Minshew flashed his rushing skills in Week 2 with 56 yards on the ground. That was no fluke — I’ve mentioned how he reminds me a bit of Blake Bortles in that sense.

The Jaguars have limited Minshew to very safe throws underneath, so expect a very slow-paced conservative approach again tonight. And the fact that the Titans will be utilizing a similar approach downgrades the projected plays for this game and limits all players involved.

Still, Minshew is a solid low-end QB2 play this week with some upside due to his rushing ability.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry, Titans

This game sets up well for Henry.

It should be a tight game, so he should see 60% or more of the Titans’ rushing attempts. It’s also been encouraging to see him a bit more involved in the passing game with just as many targets as Dion Lewis on the season with five.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Myles Jack, Derrick Henry

The Jags are a bit more vulnerable against the run, so I think the Titans plan to give Henry a solid workload, making him a high-end RB2. He has the fifth-best odds of a rushing touchdown this week according to my weekly projections model.

Dion Lewis, Titans

Lewis is a PPR league stash who you ideally won’t need to roll out this week. Hang onto him as he does have RB2 potential if Henry were to ever miss time.

There will also be games that Lewis is more likely to be used in “comeback” mode if the Titans fall behind, in which cases he’ll be a useful RB3/Flex option once we see heavier bye weeks.

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

With Nick Foles out and the Jaguars limiting Minshew to short/intermediate throws, opposing defenses have been able to focus their attention back on Fournette. He’s going to be a volume monster and this is a rare week in which his offensive line is fully healthy and in-tact.

Despite the slow pace and fewer-than-expected plays in this matchup, I still think Fournette is a high-end RB2 play this week and should be started with confidence.

Wide Receivers

Titans: Corey Davis, A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries

All of these WRs have potential to have a decent game and put up WR3 type numbers, but it’s not clear which.

Humphries should have been dropped in shallow- to medium-sized leagues. Davis and Brown should still be on rosters in medium/deep leagues, but left on the bench for this tough matchup.

Jaguars: Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark, Chris Conley

All three Jaguars receivers are bunched up in the WR5 range and can safely be left on everyone’s bench until one emerges as Minshew’s top target.

Even then, there simply isn’t enough targets/yards to go around to make more than one or two of them fantasy relevant any given week, which will make their production very inconsistent.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dede Westbrook

One of them will likely have a solid five catches for 80 yards (and maybe a touchdown) tonight, but there really is nothing pointing to a specific one. I’d rather not play musical chairs with a WR battle like this when all 32 teams play this week.

Tight Ends

Delanie Walker, Titans

This is probably the only true sit/start decision tonight.

I would consider Walker a fairly high-floor TE1 and would likely start him over TEs such as O.J. Howard, Jared Cook and T.J. Hockenson.

One of the big concerns at this position outside of the top five is a TE’s week-to-week floor. A lot of TEs are the third to fourth option in their offense, can be asked to block more certain weeks and often fail to get yardage that can help you out on weeks they don’t score a TD.

Walker gives you the stability of knowing you can likely get a 4/40 type line. Even if he fails to score a TD, he will likely give you some useful production. That in itself is valuable for a low-end TE1.

James O’Shaughnessy & Geoff Swaim, Jaguars

There’s absolutely no reason to consider either one of these TEs outside one-game DFS slates.

Both have been getting decent runs as rookie Josh Oliver has yet to make his NFL debut. They’ve each seen three or more targets in each of the first two games but are mostly the third and fourth read and get a checkdown near the line of scrimmage.

Very limited upside with either, short or long term.

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