JETS // JAGUARS OVERVIEW
Each of these teams will be looking to bounce back this week after a disappointing Week 3 — in which the Jets allowed the Browns to get their first win in almost two years, before the Jags followed up their victory over the Patriots with a loss to the Titans. The Jaguars have a much better team and are likely to come out focused and ready to play, making this an especially difficult spot for the Jets and their young rookie quarterback.
JETS PASS OFFENSE
How does this matchup set up for the Jets’ passing attack? Let’s start with this:
Last week, the Jets took on a Cleveland defense that looks to force throws to the short areas of the field. Cleveland is not especially good at this, and they don’t have any dominant players in the secondary; but they invite teams to throw short…and this is what Sam Darnold‘s passing chart looked like:
(For those listening to the audio version of the NFL Edge, or for those of you who don’t like to look at passing charts: everything was short; only two passes traveled more than 15 yards downfield, and Darnold incredibly threw more passes behind the line of scrimmage — nine — than he threw to receivers more than 10 yards downfield.)
This week, Darnold is traveling to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Only three teams have faced a lower aDOT than the Jags. And no team has allowed fewer yards after catch per reception (it’s not even close). This is a recipe for any passing attack to fail, but this Jets attack should especially find itself in a difficult position.
If, for some reason, you feel compelled to load up on some Jets players in this spot, Quincy Enunwa continues to dominate targets on this offense, with to-date target counts of 10 // 11 // 8. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Terrelle Pryor have combined for three total games of more than four targets (with each notching one such game).
JETS RUN OFFENSE
The Jaguars rank 17th in yards allowed per carry to begin the year, but since it is early in the season, it is worth pointing out that if we took away just one single run (Saquon Barkley’s beautiful 68-yarder in Week 1), their YPC allowed would drop from 4.2 to 3.4 — which would place them in the top five in the NFL. This is not an attackable run defense, and the Jets continue to split work between Isaiah Crowell (touch counts of 10 // 14 // 18) and Bilal Powell (touch counts of 13 // 10 // 14). Incredibly, these two have combined to average only five targets per game, in spite of all the short passes the Jets are throwing. This offense is simply playing too slow and working too hard to protect Sam Darnold at the moment for either guy to step into a big enough workload to matter on his own.
JAGUARS PASS OFFENSE
Humorously, the Jags have thrown the ball more frequently than 20 other teams to begin the season — one year after finishing dead last in pass play rate. I say “humorously” because you can guarantee this was not the master plan put together in the offseason by Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone, and Nathaniel Hackett. If Leonard Fournette returns this week, as expected, the Jags will get back to their run-dominant ways.
As pointed out in Week 1 of the NFL Edge, the Jaguars’ dominant defense allowed the Jags to run enough plays last season to finish middle-of-the-pack in pass attempts, in spite of running the ball more frequently than any team in the league. That side of things remains in play this week — though the Jets have been playing at one of the slowest paces in the league themselves, which will limit the overall plays we can expect in this game. The likeliest range for Blake Bortles pass attempts this week is 30 to 33.
This wide receiver corps is working itself out three weeks into the season, with Keelan Cole and Donte Moncrief playing on nearly all downs, and with Dede Westbrook stepping onto the field in three-wide sets. Moncrief continues to disappoint on his opportunities, catching seven of 17 targets so far 64 yards and a touchdown. Westbrook has produced when given the chance, but his target counts on the year are six, five, and four. Cole is the man to chase in this group, with ascending target counts of four, eight, and nine. Behind these receivers, Austin Seferian-Jenkins will do his best to catch-and-fall this week on limited targets. He has exactly three catches on five targets in all three games — with yardage ranging from 18 to 25 yards.
The Jets have started the season hot against the pass, ranking fourth in yards allowed per pass attempt and fourth in expected yards per target — buoyed by a low catch rate and excellent tackling after the catch.
JAGUARS RUN OFFENSE
The Jets have also been solid against the run, ranking 14th in yards allowed per carry; and while the Jaguars expect to get Leonard Fournette back, they cannot be counted on to give him a full workload.
If Fournette does return to a full workload (and especially if we get word from the Jaguars in advance that Fournette will be in line for his normal role), he is a fairly matchup-proof option, as one of the few guys in the NFL who can genuinely be counted on to see 22 to 27 touches every time he takes the field. He’s not exactly “underpriced,” but at a range of 12.83% of the salary cap (FanDuel) to 14.0% of the salary cap (DraftKings), he’s very affordable for the sort of role he has when healthy. The “Fournette/Yeldon” role in this offense has yielded 22 targets already through three games, while Corey Grant has added nine targets of his own — and Fournette figures to eat into some of Grant’s snaps if he is indeed healthy. Somewhere in the range of 20 carries and four to six catches should be the expectation if Fournette is healthy — with all of the goal-line work flowing his way as well.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on news in this spot throughout the week.
This slate is shaping up to be a pretty ugly one at running back — which makes Fournette an interesting option if we get word that he’ll be stepping back into his normal role. The matchup is neither beneficial nor threatening, but the workload, talent, and price would all line up nicely. If Fournette is healthy but we do not have word that he will see his typical workload, he will enter the tourney discussion as a guy with a lower bankable floor, but still with plenty of upside.
I’ll almost certainly stay away from the Jags’ passing attack, though Cole is somewhat interesting for his big-play upside in tourneys.
I don’t typically take players against the Jaguars, as upside is so thin; but if pricing proves to be especially tight this week on DraftKings and FantasyDraft, it’s worth pointing out that Quincy Enunwa (72% slot rate) draws the best matchup against Tyler Patmon in the slot. (It’s still not a good matchup.) Enunwa has been priced down on those sites to account for this spot against the Jags.
There is also a potential Cheat Code in play this week with Crowell and Powell together on DraftKings, if pricing is tight — but in this matchup, it’s tough to see them combining for 30 points. Optimally, the Cheat Code should be two cheap running backs on the same team who can lock in over 20 points guaranteed, with upside for as much as 40 if everything goes right. I’m not seeing that scenario against the Jags.
FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE // Full “Updates” List
Leonard Fournette will play this week. As laid out above: there is no guarantee the Jags feed him his customary 24 to 27 touches, but there is upside for a big game if the work is there.