Kickoff Sunday, Sep 23rd 1:00pm Eastern

Titans (
14.75) at

Jaguars (
24.75)

Over/Under 39.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Titans Run D
20th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
18th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
26th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
2nd DVOA/22nd Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
1st DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
27th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
7th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
8th DVOA/24th Yards per pass

TITANS // JAGUARS OVERVIEW

There was a moment when I considered waiting to write up this game until a line was posted in Vegas; then I realized that this is the Titans’ broken offense taking on the Jaguars. It really doesn’t matter who is under center this week for the Titans (for what it’s worth, it currently looks like we’ll have another week of Gabbert); this is going to be a tough spot for them regardless.

TITANS PASS OFFENSE

In last week’s contest against the Texans, Blaine Gabbert posted an average intended air yards of 5.4 — lower than Alex Smith’s mark on the season — as Tennessee tried to get the ball out quickly and give Gabbert easy, short throws against the Texans’ fierce pass rush. This was effective for Tennessee, allowing them to do enough to get a win, while mitigating the impact of the Texans’ front, and I expect them to take a similar approach this week, regardless of who is under center. But they will have a much tougher time against the Jags’ sophisticated defense, as this unit is capable of scheming away the areas of the field where Gabbert wants to throw, and their impeccable communication will enable them to avoid getting tripped up by whatever clever scheming Matt LaFleur comes up with.

If for some reason you are set on rostering someone from this pass attack, I’ll point out that Corey Davis ranks fourth in the NFL in percentage share of team air yards, having seen 46.78% of the Titans’ air yards to date. If this team ever solves their quarterback play, he’ll be in position to break out in a monster way.

TITANS RUN OFFENSE

With Blaine Gabbert or an arm-injured Marcus Mariota under center this week, and with short routes being the only thing the Titans are looking to get going, it will be easy for Jacksonville to play close to the line of scrimmage and clamp down on the run. The Jaguars’ smaller, quicker linebacking unit is theoretically the sort of group that Derrick Henry would match up better against, but he looks slower and more sluggish right now than he looked the last couple years, and he has seen the field for only 38.1% of the Titans’ snaps so far this season. With little pass game involvement and an uncertain touch floor, he would take quite a leap of faith.

Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry started seeing the field together last week, but it is Lewis who has led the job so far, with a 70.3% snap rate. Lewis has averaged 15 carries and 4.5 targets per game, and it shouldn’t surprise us if he falls right into that range again. Telvin Smith was tasked with covering Lewis last season when the Patriots and Jags met in the AFC Championship Game, and he should be on him plenty in this one. He has the speed to stay with Lewis, and to take him down in the open field, which lowers Lewis’ chances of hitting for a big play.

JAGUARS PASS OFFENSE

Last week, the Titans played a lot of first down nickel with the Texans in two tight end sets — clearly gearing up to stop the pass, even when the offense was tipping their hand toward the run. While some might assume this is a sign that the Titans are fine giving up yards on the ground, I see it as an adaptable defense that was more worried about Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins than about giving up small gains to Lamar Miller. Given the Belichick roots across the Titans’ defensive coaching staff, it would make sense for them to change things up a bit this week and aim to take away Fournette — forcing Blake Bortles to beat them. The Titans are very comfortable playing man coverage, so don’t be surprised if these guys are left on an island with Jags receivers for much of the afternoon. To date, the Jaguars’ offensive line ranks first in adjusted sack rate, making this a sneaky good spot for this passing attack to post solid numbers.

Keelan Cole whack-a-mole’d the DFS community last weekend with a 7-116-0 line against the Patriots on eight targets, including one truly remarkable one-handed catch. It should be noted, however, that he has seen only 15.4% of the Jags’ targets this year, and Bortles may not need to throw more than 32 to 35 times in this one, as the Jags should lean run-heavy with a lead even if the Titans are loading up to stop the run.

Dede Westbrook has been extremely effective on his targets as well, posting a 9-134-1 line on only 11 looks through two games to start the year. Sadly, the largest chunk of the passes on this team are being wasted on Donte Moncrief, who not only leads the team with 14 targets, but also ranks 14th in the NFL in percentage share of team air yards. He has turned his 14 looks into five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully the Jaguars begin cutting into his role this week.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins rounds out this group as low-yardage tight end with decent touchdown upside. ASJ has seen exactly five targets in each of the first two games, and his lines of 3-25-0 and 3-23-1 paint a perfect picture of what he provides in this offense.

JAGUARS RUN OFFENSE

Musical chairs continues in the Jags’ backfield this week, as it looks like Leonard Fournette will return, while T.J. Yeldon may be out with an injured ankle.

The Titans have the personnel to be dominant against the run after finishing fourth in the NFL last year in yards allowed per carry, and we need to have at least some concern that Corey Grant will continue to soak up six or seven touches (the Jags keep talking about wanting to get him involved, and he continues to shine when they do it). With that said: Fournette is one of the highest-talent backs in the NFL, and I can’t imagine many people will want to play him coming off an injury. There is no guarantee that he sees his usual 22+ touches in this spot — and the spot itself isn’t great; but he does have the talent to go off in any matchup if the workload is there.

JM’S INTERPRETATION

This is not a game that is going to draw heavy interest from me, outside of the Jaguars’ defense — as I just don’t expect the Titans to be able to scheme around what this unit can do.

I do think that there is some interesting upside worth chasing among the Jags’ wide receivers, and Nathaniel Hackett is a sharp enough offensive coordinator to start taking away targets from Moncrief and redistributing them to Cole and Westbrook. If Bortles throws around 35 passes, we would currently be looking at a target expectation for those guys of around five to six. They would need to climb up to the six to eight range for me to really want to roster them, but they’ll have a chance to hit if the usage ends up there.

You could also chase Fournette in tourneys, though I’ll probably be looking for a higher floor to go with the upside I’m always hunting.