It was a rough start to the Nick Foles era in Jacksonville, as he suffered a broken clavicle against the Kansas City Chiefs and is expected to be out a few months. That leaves the Jaguars with plenty of question marks.
As for the Texans, a 58-yard field goal by New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz handed Bill O’Brien’s team a deflating Week 1 loss.
Let’s look at the best and worst fantasy football options for this intriguing matchup.
Let’s be honest: If you’re starting Gardner Minshew in your fantasy lineup this week, you’ve got some issues at quarterback. Yes, Minshew came in after Foles got injured and completed 22 of his 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Even better, he had only one interception.
However, it’s hard to trust a backup quarterback on the road against a team like the Texans who desperately need a win here. And with the Jaguars’ unknowns at wide receiver, you’re just not playing Minshew on this small of a sample size.
Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson is an obvious fantasy football play. Patrick Mahomes had no issues attacking the Jaguars’ secondary, and Watson should be able to do the same while also finding extra yards on the ground.
The only concern here is the Texans’ offensive line after Watson was pressured repeatedly against the New Orleans Saints.
I drafted Leonard Fournette in one of my season-long leagues this season solely based on his workload. He played 86 percent of the offensive snaps against the Chiefs, so there’s no backfield-by-committee to worry about in Jacksonville.
Of course, the problem is game script. Fournette only had 13 carries for 66 yards (but did have four receptions for 28 yards), mainly because the Jaguars were playing from behind. That could be a common trend for Doug Marrone’s team with Foles sidelined, and that could limit Fournette’s production. But again, knowing that he’s really the only somewhat consistent option in that offense, you’re playing him even in bad matchups.
As for the Texans’ RB’s, Duke Johnson played 63 percent of the snaps and Carlos Hyde played 37 percent. Johnson’s pass-catching ability continues to be a strength, as he reeled in four receptions for 33 yards while gaining 57 rushing yards on nine carries. Hyde was impressive in notching 10 carries for 83 yards.
While some may be intimidated by the matchup, Johnson is a solid play in PPR leagues while Hyde has touchdown potential.
I said in our Week 2 preview on the Establish the Pass podcast that Watson’s connection with DeAndre Hopkins is simply on another level. You just don’t find many duos like this one. Hopkins had eight receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s clearly the best play of any receiver in this game.
Keke Coutee seemingly has a chance to return to the mix after missing Week 1. He showed a lot of potential last season, but it’s understandable if you want to avoid him here. While Kenny Stills and Will Fuller are both talented, the problem is that the volume may not be there for either of them in this game due to the Texans potentially holding a commanding lead in the second half.
On the flip side, DJ Chark had a huge game for the Jaguars in Week 1, hauling in all four targets for 146 yards and a touchdown. Dede Westbrook disappointed a little with just five receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown. The most targets went to Chris Conley, who turned seven of them into six catches for 97 yards and a score.
Even in a game where the Jaguars figure to throw the ball a lot, it’s hard to trust any of the Jacksonville receivers at this point given the quarterback situation.
This isn’t a fantasy-friendly game when it comes to tight ends.
For the Jaguars, James O’Shaughnessy caught four balls for 32 yards against the Chiefs, and Geoff Swaim caught four for 17 yards. For the Texans, Jordan Akins had just one reception for 17 yards.
If you find the appeal of playing any of those three, let me know.
Perhaps we shouldn’t rush to judgment on the Jaguars’ defense after one game, especially since it was against the most dynamic offense in the NFL. But we also need to consider that this isn’t the same defense people were prioritizing in fantasy football drafts several years ago. And going up against the Watson/Hopkins duo is even more of a problem.
The Texans’ defense is obviously the better play since their 8.5-point favorites in this game. The secondary didn’t look great against the Saints, but Minshew isn’t Drew Brees.
There’s turnover potential here, and that makes the Texans a fine play.