Game Overview ::
By HILOW >>
- San Francisco starting running back Elijah Mitchell underwent a procedure on Tuesday to address a finger fracture but is apparently not ruled out yet.
- JaMycal Hasty missed practice to start the week with an ankle injury.
- Jacksonville starting running back James Robinson added an ankle injury to his heel injury and missed practice on Wednesday.
- Both teams see their situation-neutral rush rates skyrocket if playing with a lead, as each team ranks in the top three in the league in rush rates with a lead (SF: 60%; JAX: 62%).
How SAN FRANSICO Will Try To Win ::
The best glimpse into how the 49ers would like to try to win games comes by examining their run-pass rates with a lead. San Francisco ranks third in the NFL this year in rush rates with a lead at 60% (interestingly enough, Jacksonville ranks first in this metric at 62%). Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ranks third to last in the league in intended air yards per game, ahead of only Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger. On the defensive side of the ball, the Niners continue their “blanket defense” approach, focusing on strength against the run, a swarming second level, and a back end that limits depth of target. When we combine these ideas, we’re left with a team that attempts to win games by limiting splash plays against on defense and building its offense around the run and ball-out-quick to its primary playmakers (Deebo Samuel and George Kittle).
The run game brings a bit of uncertainty this week with the news that Elijah Mitchell underwent a procedure on Tuesday to surgically repair a fracture in his finger. All early week news from the Niners is that they expect Mitchell to play this weekend. Furthering the unknowns is the uncertainty surrounding pass-catching running back JaMycal Hasty, who followed up a missed game in Week 10 with a missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. In all, I would expect Mitchell to play but see a limited pass game role with his injured finger, while it wouldn’t surprise me to see Hasty miss a second consecutive game, leaving Jeff Wilson, Jr. as the primary change of pace option. The matchup yields a slightly below average 4.12 net-adjusted line yards metric, while the Jaguars cede the fifth-fewest yards per carry to opposing backfields.
We’ve finally seen this pass-catching corps return to where we thought it would be entering the season, with tight end George Kittle fully healthy and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk seemingly out of the doghouse. The Niners run 11-personnel at a bottom-five rate this season, instead utilizing 21-personnel at the league’s highest rate (two running backs). Often we find that increased 21-personnel rate comes through the presence of fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who has played more than 40% of the offensive snaps in every game since Week 1, including six games of 55% or more. That gives us an extremely concentrated pass-catching corps consisting primarily of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk, with rotational pieces of Trent Sherfield and Jauan Jennings. The Jaguars present the Niners with an extreme pass-funnel matchup (seventh in DVOA against the run and 31st in DVOA against the pass), but offensive tendencies limit the appeal based on expected game environment and to-date pass volume (over 30 pass attempts in only two games this season). As such, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and, to a lesser extent, Brandon Aiyuk will require efficiency and touchdowns to return GPP-worthy scores, which is boosted by the matchup.
How Jacksonville Will Try To Win ::
The Jaguars are basically akin to the Batman villain Two-Face with respect to their play-calling tendencies and how the team is run. With a lead this season, the Jaguars lead the league in rush rates at 62%. When trailing, however, they rank 10th in the league in pass rates at 69%. Their pace of play jumps all over the place as well, from a situation-neutral value of 30.70 seconds per play (15th) to a 22nd-ranked 30.09 when leading by seven or more points, to an eighth-ranked 23.93 seconds per play when trailing by seven or more points. Overall, their pace of play on the season ranks first at just 25.86 seconds. Put this all together and how Jacksonville will try to win and the ways they have been forced to try to win are far from equal. Consider the Jaguars a team highly reactive and reliant on game flow as far as tendencies are concerned.
Before dealing with multiple injuries, running back James Robinson controlled this backfield with standard snap rates in the 65%-85% range. That has changed over the previous three games with Robinson dealing with a heel injury (has since added a “minor ankle injury” to the fold, as well). Over the first six weeks of the season, Robinson averaged 17.67 running back opportunities per game. Since the team’s Week 7 bye, Robinson has missed one game and played only 11% of the offensive snaps in another. His only healthy game since the team’s bye came in Week 10, where he saw a 59% snap rate and 17 running back opportunities. If he can take the field this week, the likeliest range of outcomes puts him in the 17-21 running back opportunity range, with game flow likely to dictate his receiving totals. Behind Robinson, the ageless Carlos Hyde operates as the primary backup, typically seeing between 25% and 35% of the offensive snaps, but capable of filling the lead back role should Robinson miss or be limited. The pure rushing matchup yields a slightly below average 4.155 net-adjusted line yards metric and should very much be considered a strength-on-strength matchup for the Jags.
The pass-catching corps has settled into a tight distribution of opportunities after the team added Marvin Jones, Jr. in the offseason, traded for tight end Dan Arnold after Week 3, and saw DJ Chark lost for the season during Week 4. Marvin Jones, Jr., Laviska Shenault, Jr., Jamal Agnew, and Dan Arnold now operate in “majority share” roles, each playing lead roles at their respective positions. Jones operates as the intermediate-to-deep threat with an aDOT of 12.1, Jamal Agnew operates in a short-to-intermediate role with an aDOT of 7.8, while Laviska Shenault operates in an underneath role with an aDOT of 6.6. Dan Arnold’s aDOT falls just below league average at 5.8 yards. Consider this offense one that is still trying to find their identity with all the new faces in the building, as far as coaching personnel goes. With the previous discussion of tendencies in mind, it should make sense that rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence has had an extremely wide range of outcomes as far as his pass attempts have gone, with two games below 26 pass attempts, four games between 33 and 35 pass attempts, one game of 41 pass attempts, and two games of 51 or more (!!!) pass attempts on the season. The 49ers have continued their “blanket defense” design under first-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (following the departure of Robert Saleh), providing a strong defensive front against the run and a secondary designed to limit downfield passing against and “swarm tackle” after the catch. On the season, the 49ers have forced the second-fewest air yards, behind only the Bills.
Likeliest Game flow ::
Instead of trying to beat our collective heads against a cinderblock wall trying to figure out the exact likeliest scenario here, it is much more optimal to try and decipher what scenarios could evolve from this one, and who would benefit the most in each case. Since each team would prefer to run the football for as long as they are afforded the opportunity to do so, and since each team primarily attacks the short-to-intermediate areas of the field and relies on yards after the catch through the air, and since the Jaguars have shown play-calling tendencies that are drawn to the extremes (as far as run-pass rates are concerned), the lone scenario where we can confidently predict volume for each side is one where the 49ers are able to control the flow. We know the Jaguars would respond with elevated pass rates and an increased pace of play in this scenario, resulting in bankable volume for the Jacksonville pass-catchers in addition to a bump in expected offensive plays run from scrimmage and volume for the San Francisco run game. All other game flows, environments, and scenarios lead to a wide range of outcomes as far as volume and expected production goes, so it doesn’t make much sense to dissect each here, as they would leave little room for fantasy interest.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- Seventh highest total (45.5) with SF favored by 6.5
- Line has moved 2.5 pts towards SF
- SF ranks first in RZ scoring percentage (79.17)
- JAX D ranks 15th in RZ scoring percentage (58.82)
- SF ranks 16th in pts/g // JAX ranks 27th in pts/g allowed (25.8)
- JAX ranks 31st in pts/g (16.6) // SF is T-17th in pts/g allowed (23.6)
- SF gains 6.0 yds/play (7th most) // JAX allows 5.8 yds/play (25th)
- SF is in the NFC Wild Card hunt at 4-5 (LAR 7-3,NO 5-4, CAR 5-5, MIN 4-5, ATL 4-5)
- Jimmy has 6 total TDs in his last three games (4 pass, 2 rush)
- 20+ DK pts in two of eight games (Weeks 8 & 9)
- 300+ pass yds in Weeks 1, 8, & 9
- He’s $5.6k this week and has been in the $5.4k-$5.7k range all season
- JAX allows 19.8 DK pts/g to QBs, 12th most
- Jeff Wilson played no snaps in his first game this season two weeks ago but 22 of 68 last week
- JaMycal Hasty played no snaps last week w/ Wilson playing
- Elijah Mitchell saw 27 atts in a blowout win over LAR last week
- Mitchell atts: 27 // 8 // 18 // 18 // DNP // 9 (Trey Lance had 16 atts) // Bye // DNP // 17 // 19
- Mitchell ($5.8k) is tied this week for his season high price
- He has 12 RZ rush atts but only 3 TDs even though SF ranks first in RZ scoring percent
- JAX allows 24.3 DK pts/g to RBs, 16th
- Deebo Samuel tgts w/ George Kittle back: 5 // 9
- He had five rush atts last week w/ 36 yds & 1 TD
- Samuel has three 30+ DK pts games & two other game with 20+ DK pts
- Tgts: 5 // 9 // 9 // 11 // Bye // 9 // 13 // 10 // 8 // 12
- Samuel has broke 100 rec yds in four games & has two others w/ 90+
- He’s ranked second in rec yds/g (108.8), first in YAC (519 in only nine games), seventh in tgts/g (9.6), & second in WR DK pts/g (23.3)
- Aiyuk tgts: 4 // 8 // 7 // 1 // Bye // 4 // 3 // 6 // 2 // 0
- He’s priced as the 5th highest WR this week (7.8k) & tied for his season high price
- Aiyuk tgts last three: 4 (blowout win) // 8 // 7
- JAX allows 39.3 DK pts/g to WRs, eighth most
- Kittle since return: 5:50:1 TD, 7 tgts // 6:101:1TD, 8 tgts
- He’s priced $100 cheaper than his season high of $6.4k which came back in Week 2
- $6.3k makes him the second highest priced TE behind only Travis Kelce ($7.1k)
- JAX allows 14.2 DK pts/g to TEs, 11th most
- Lawrence is the cheapest he’s been all season ($5.2k)
- He has two games of 20+ DK pts but none in his last four
- TD:INT ratio: 8:9
- JAX ranks 11th in pass atts/g (37.0) but 24th in pass yds/g (213.7)
- SF allows the fifth least pass atts/g (32.2) & fifth least pass yds/g (208.7)
- Rushing: 4.11 atts/g // 18.8 yds/g // 2 total rush TDs
- SF allows 21.0 DK pts/g to QBs, 10th most
- Tgts: Marvin Jones: 66 // Laviska Shenult-57 // Jamal Agnew-36
- Of eight total JAX rec TDs, Jones has 3
- Jones ($5.2k) is the cheapest he’s been since Week 3
- He has the only JAX 100 yd rec game which came Week 6 (Shenault had 99 Week 4)
- RZ tgts: Jones-7 // Agnew-4 // Shenault-4
- SF allows 35.5 DK pts/g to WRs, 11th fewest
- Robinson has 6 RZ rush TDs on 19 RZ rush atts
- He’s fifth in tgts (29) while missing one game
- Three games of 20+ DK pts coming three weeks in a row (Weeks 3-5)
- SF allows the 24.4 DK pts/g to RBs, 14th most
- Dan Arnold is third in team tgts in just six games w/ JAX (40)
- Tgts: 8 // 7 // 10 // 5 // 8 // 2
- Other JAX TEs have received just three tgts since his arrival
- He’s priced at $4.1k, the highest he’s been this season by $400
- SF allows 9.9 DK pts to TEs, ninth least