Thursday games are always tricky, especially in Week 3 when we are going more based on assumptions than actual facts (that’s even more true this season, when most teams hardly used their regulars in the preseason). Let’s take a quick look at some of the more questionable decisions for tonight’s game and try to decide who we should trust and who should be avoided:
Marcus Mariota – Quarterback
Maybe if the Jaguars had traded Jalen Ramsey ahead of this matchup our outlook would be a little bit different, but Ramsey is set to play tonight and that’s going to makes things more difficult for Mariota and company. As it is Mariota has averaged just 201.0 yards over the first two games and while 4 TD vs. 0 INT is attractive, without the yards can we expect him to produce those types of numbers? The TD total is skewed by throwing 3 TD in a Week 1 blowout and he’s been sacked 8 times over the first two games. The upside simply isn’t there to even consider him this early in the week.
Corey Davis – Wide Receiver
The team’s “top” wide receive by name, Davis has turned 8 targets into just 3 catches and and 38 yards. The idea of failing to live up to the hype isn’t new for the former first round draft pick, who has scored 4 TD in 29 career games. Does that sound like the type of performance you want to thrust into your lineup, especially for a Thursday night game?
A.J. Brown – Wide Receiver
Brown leads Houston’s wide receivers in receptions (6), targets (9) and yards (125). Thus far the 2019 second round draft pick has looked like the team’s best receiver, and that’s why they selected him as highly as they did.
Of course these are the types of numbers that elite wide receivers put up in one game, not two. The Titans offense is going to continue to revolve around Derrick Henry and the running game, which is going to make it nearly impossible to trust any of the Titans’ wide receivers. There’s no reason to even consider him this early in the week (even though the injury that limited him earlier in the week is not an issue), unless you are truly desperate.
Delanie Walker – Tight End
You could argue that he belongs in the must start category, though even with 9 catches he’s managed just 94 yards. That makes him a TD dependent option against a team that hasn’t allowed a TD to an opposing tight end this season (7 receptions for 129 yards). He’s certainly usable and is a Top 10 option, thanks to the lack of talent in the receiving corps, though there is also some risk that can’t be ignored.
Must Start Options:
- Derrick Henry – Running Back
Gardner Minshew II – Quarterback
Minshew has played fairly well since stepping in for Nick Foles, completing 77.6% of his passes en route to 488 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT. Sure those are decent numbers, but the Titans have been pretty solid at stopping opposing quarterbacks this season. The big number they’ve produced is 4 INT, though they’ve also allowed the fifth fewest passing yards (431) while getting 8 sacks. This isn’t going to be an easy matchup for the rookie, and he’s best left as a desperation play for those in two-quarterback formats.
D.J. Chark – Wide Receiver
He was limited in practice early in the week, but he was a full participant on Wednesday and shouldn’t have any restrictions tonight. With a more secure quarterback Chark would likely look at a usable option this week, especially given his early season production:
- Week 1 – 4 receptions, 146 yards, 1 TD
- Week 2 – 7 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD
He was targeted 9 times in Week 2, showing that he has a bigger role than that of just a big play receiver. It’s also clear that he has a good rapport with Minshew, and there’s a strong chance that he continues to be the team’s best receiver. This early in the week and with the quarterback risk it’s hard to trust him, but if you are desperate for a WR3 it’s not unthinkable (though he’s a better fit as a WR4). Consider him a risky WR3, but another strong week may lock him into that spot moving forward.
Chris Conley – Wide Receiver
He’s had some good performances, with 10 catches for 170 yards and 1 TD over the first two weeks. Of course the offense is going to run through Leonard Fournette and it appears that Conley is fighting for second among Jaguars’ receivers (with everyone trailing Chark). That’s a combination that makes him far too risky.
Dede Westbrook – Wide Receiver
He was supposed to be the team’s best wide receiver, but after turning 5 targets into 1 reception and 3 yards in Week 2 is there any reason to consider him as such? He’s fallen behind others on the depth chart, at least for now, and while he’s worth stashing he’s impossible to trust him.
Must Start Options:
- Leonard Fournette – Running Back – He’s coming off a down performance (15 carries for 47 yards), but he averaged 5.1 YPC in Week 1 and faces a Tennesee defense that’s allowed the seventh most rushing yards over the first two weeks. Unless you are stacked at the position he’s a must start.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: