Thursday Night Football Preview
- Spread: Saints -1.5
- Over/Under: 39.5
The Saints host the Jaguars this week in New Orleans. Jacksonville is coming off three straight wins and sits atop the AFC South. However, they could be without quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who suffered a knee injury against the Colts. Keep an eye on the injury reports to see his status before kickoff. The Jags opened as favorites in some books, but have fallen to three-point underdogs based on the Lawrence news. On the other side of the ball, New Orleans has been inconsistent, especially on offense, and has yet to win a game against a team with a winning record. The Saints need a win to keep pace in their division. A loss could drop them to third place in the NFC South.
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My strategy for building lineups comes down to whether Lawrence plays or not. Jacksonville has been the better team offensively, Lawrence has been one of the most accurate passers in the league and has five quality starts in six games. If he's playing, he's my top choice at quarterback and I'm stacking him with Christian Kirk and one more receiver, depending on cost. But if C.J. Beathard is behind center, it's obviously a big downgrade for all the Jaguars receivers. It would also put the Saints defense as a legitimate Captain consideration. The Saints offense would likely run the ball more in the event of a Beathard start, as well.
As for New Orleans players, there's not much to get excited about. Derek Carr hasn't been able to put together a string of quality starts and the run game is performing well below expectations. Chris Olave has been a bright spot on the offense and Rashid Shaheed is one of the top deep ball threats in the league. In a close game with a low total, there probably won't be many opportunities to score touchdowns, so I'm in on both kickers, as well.
Captain Choices (1.5x salary, 1.5x points)
Travis Etienne, RB, Jaguars, $15,300
Etienne has been a consistent workhorse for the Jaguars, averaging around 20 carries a game. He scored two touchdowns last week, for the second consecutive week. His involvement in the passing game adds to his value. Despite facing a tough Saints defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown to a running back all season, his usage and touchdown potential make him a strong Captain candidate.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints, $15,600
Kamara will be a popular pick. He's averaging 25 touches per game since returning from suspension. His floor remains high due to his usage in running and passing situations. Kamara lacks the explosiveness that has defined his career, but he will be heavily involved no matter the game script and is one of the safest choices at the Captain spot.
Chris Olave, WR, Saints, $13,500
Olave has consistently been the top option in the Saints' passing game. He has big-play potential and reliable target volume. I think he's a solid Captain choice because of his upside.
Top Flex Options
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders, $8,800
Carr's season has been inconsistent. He only has one game with multiple touchdowns and has been awful in the red zone. While the matchup against Jacksonville is decent, they have allowed three 300 yard passers this season; there's a lot of uncertainty that comes with starting Carr. He has a safe enough floor for a flex spot on my roster, but I'm not considering him for Captain.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Jaguars, $8,400
Ridley has been under-performing recently, but has tournament-winning upside with an affordable price.
Christian Kirk, WR, Jaguars, $8,000
Kirk is going to be in almost all of my lineups. He comes in $600 cheaper than Ridley and has as much, if not more, upside. I expect he will be one of the more highly-owned players on the slate, but I'm okay rostering higher-owned players as long as my overall build isn't over-utilized.
Rashid Shaheed, WR, Saints, $5,000
Boom or bust player with lots of big play potential. He's a great player to bring back if you're stacking Trevor Lawrence. I would only recommend him for a tournament because of his inconsistent target volume.
Evan Engram, TE, Jaguars, $5,800
Engram is reliable and priced nicely. He's a good value with a safe floor and should see similar usage when Lawrence starts or not.
- Saints Defense, $5,400
- Blake Grupe, K, Saints, $5,200
- Brandon McManus, K, Jaguars, $4,800
- Alvin Kamara
- Evan Engram
- Rashid Shaheed
- Calvin Ridley
- Derek Carr
- Saints Defense
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