TNF Fantasy Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals

TNF Fantasy Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals

by September 30, 2021 0 comments

Tonight, Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season kicks off with a matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals. While everyone loves Thursday Night Football, fantasy owners struggle with which players they should put in their starting lineups. To help them decide which players they should start and which they should sit, let’s dive into this week’s Thursday Night Fantasy Preview.

All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback – Trevor Lawrence

Three games into his rookie season, Lawrence has struggled. He has thrown five touchdowns compared to seven interceptions and nine total turnovers. Lawrence is the QB29 for the season, averaging only 11.1 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Lawrence has scored fewer than 7.5 fantasy points in each of his past two games, averaging only 168.5 passing yards per contest during that span. Meanwhile, the Bengals have held quarterbacks to the 10th fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 15.8 fantasy points per game. Moreover, the Bengals have held quarterbacks to only four passing touchdowns this season. Lawrence will play better as the season goes on; however, fantasy owners need to avoid starting him tonight against the Bengals.

Running Back – James Robinson, Carlos Hyde

After back-to-back poor performances, Robinson broke out last week against the Arizona Cardinals, finishing with a season-high 25.4 fantasy points. Furthermore, Robinson scored a total of 17.8 fantasy points in the first two games combined. However, last week’s performance was a result of the Jaguars giving Robinson the ball. Over the first two games of the season, Robinson had 16 rushing attempts and six catches. By comparison, Robinson finished with 15 rushing attempts and six catches against the Cardinals, finishing as the RB4 for the week. Assuming Robinson sees another 17 or more touches tonight, he should finish this week as a top-20 running back.

Entering the season, many thought Hyde would turn into a consistent fantasy asset. However, that hasn’t been the case as Hyde is averaging only 4.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Hyde has scored less than 13 total fantasy points this season despite averaging five yards per rushing attempt. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals have held running backs to 23.9 fantasy points per game this season, surrendering only one rushing touchdown to the position. Furthermore, the Bengals have held running backs to under 70 rushing yards in every game this season. Hyde is nothing more than a handcuff for Robinson and shouldn’t be in any fantasy lineup tonight.

Wide Receiver – Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr.

In the offseason, the Jaguars added Jones to lead their young wide receiver core. Over the first three games, Jones is the WR20, averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. He has at least five catches and eight targets in every game this season. Furthermore, Jones has a touchdown in two of three games, scoring 17.5 or more fantasy points twice. Meanwhile, Chark has played well at times this season. He has scored a touchdown in two of three games, averaging 15.8 fantasy points and nine targets per game in those contests. However, in the third game, Chark scored only 2.9 fantasy points on four targets.

Meanwhile, many had high hopes for Shenault entering the season. However, he has struggled this year, averaging only 7.8 fantasy points per game despite seeing 6.7 targets per game. Furthermore, Shenault hasn’t finished a game with over 60 scrimmage yards this season, nor has he found the end zone. Tonight, they face a Bengals defense that has given up an average of 41.2 fantasy points per game this season to wide receivers. More importantly, wide receivers have finished with 20 or more catches and over 39 fantasy points in two of three games against the Bengals. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable playing Jones as a low-end WR2 tonight. Meanwhile, Chark and Shenault are risky WR4s with upside given the matchup.

Tight End – Dan Arnold

Earlier this week, the Jaguars acquired Arnold and a third-round pick from Carolina Panthers in exchange for cornerback C.J. Henderson and a fifth-round pick. Arnold has been with the team for three days might be inactive tonight as he is getting up to speed. However, even if he is active, fantasy owners need to avoid starting Arnold tonight. The Bengals have held tight ends to the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season, giving up only 6.8 fantasy points per game to the position. Furthermore, tight ends have a combined eight catches for 63 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Bengals this season. Arnold might turn into a streaming option down the road. However, this week, he should remain on the waiver wire.

Defense/Special Teams

The Jaguars D/ST is averaging less than one fantasy point per game this season, scoring negative fantasy points in two of three games. Furthermore, they have given up an average of 28.3 points per game, giving up at least 23 in every contest. Meanwhile, D/STs have averaged 10 fantasy points per game against the Bengals this season. However, that number doesn’t tell the entire truth. The Chicago Bears D/ST scored 22 fantasy points against the Bengals in Week 2, in part thanks to a pick-six. In the other two games, D/STs scored four fantasy points in each contest against the Bengals. The Jaguars have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and their D/ST is arguably the worst option this week.

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback – Joe Burrow

Many had questions about Burrow entering the season, but through the first three games, Burrow has thrown seven touchdowns. However, Burrow is averaging only 15.5 fantasy points per game, in part because of the limited number of passing plays. Burrow is averaging only 25 passing attempts per game, the second-fewest among quarterbacks with three starts this season. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have given up an average of 21.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. However, they have held quarterbacks to only four passing touchdowns this season. The Bengals will likely lead the game from start to finish, limiting the number of pass attempts for Burrow, making him a high-end QB2 against the Jaguars.

Running Back – Joe Mixon

While Burrow is averaging only 25 pass attempts per game this season, Mixon has averaged 22.3 rushing attempts per contest. He has finished at least 18 rushing attempts in every game to go along with 90 or more rushing yards in two of them. Furthermore, Mixon has averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 14.5 fantasy points per game despite scoring only one rushing touchdown this season. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, giving up almost 29 fantasy points per game to the position. Furthermore, running backs have averaged 28.3 carries for 94.7 rushing yards and 1.3 rushing touchdowns against the Jaguars this season. Between his volume and the matchup, Mixon is a top-10 running back this week and a must-start.

Wide Receiver – Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd

With Tee Higgins out for tonight’s game with a shoulder injury, Chase and Boyd are in line for big performances against the Jaguars. Over the first three games of the season, the Jaguars have given up an average of 40.6 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Furthermore, wide receivers have finished with at least 39 fantasy points and 200 receiving yards in all three games against the Jaguars. Meanwhile, with Higgins out of the lineup last week, Chase finished the week as the WR7, scoring 22.5 fantasy points, while Boyd finished as the WR30, scoring 13.6 fantasy points. Both wide receivers are must start this week in PPR scoring.

As the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Chase had high expectations entering the league. Through the first three games of his career, Chase has four touchdowns while averaging 18.9 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Chase has at least one touchdown and 50 receiving yards in every game this season. Meanwhile, Boyd has been a steady PPR flex option for several years now, and this season is no different. Boyd is averaging 11.4 fantasy points per game this season while scoring 13.5 or more fantasy points in back-to-back games. Furthermore, Boyd has averaged 5.5 catches on 7.5 targets per game over the past two weeks. Tonight, fantasy owners can start Chase with confidence as a high-end WR2, while Boyd is a safe floor flex option with upside.

Tight End – C.J. Uzomah

Last season, Uzomah averaged 11.4 fantasy points in two games before suffering a torn Achilles. However, Uzomah has scored a total of only 7.9 fantasy points this season. He has caught five of his five targets for 39 receiving yards this year. Furthermore, he has finished with only 2.4 total fantasy points over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have given up 12.3 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season, giving up only one touchdown. Furthermore, aside from Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, tight ends have averaged only 7.8 fantasy points per game against the Jaguars this season. Uzomah hasn’t finished higher than the TE29 any week this season, and that won’t change tonight.

Defense/Special Teams

One of the biggest surprises this season is how well the Bengals D/ST has played. They are the D/ST9 this season, averaging seven fantasy points per game. Over their last two games, the Bengals D/ST has held their opponents to only 12 points per game while averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Bengals D/ST has three interceptions and seven sacks over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs this season. Opposing D/STs have averaged 10.7 fantasy points per game against the Jaguars. Furthermore, D/STs have scored 11 or more fantasy points against the Jaguars in each of their past two games. Until Lawrence and the Jaguars learn to protect the football, fantasy players can stream D/STs against them.

Recap

Lawrence: Low-End QB2

Robinson: Mid RB2

Hyde: Avoid

Jones: Low-End WR2

Chark: Risky WR4

Shenault: Risky WR4

Arnold: Avoid

Jaguars D/ST: Avoid

Burrow: High-End QB2

Mixon: Mid RB1

Chase: High-End WR2

Boyd: WR3/Flex

Uzomah: Avoid

Bengals D/ST: Top-Five D/ST


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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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