Kickoff: Sunday, December 20th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Betting Odds: JAX +13, 47.5 total via Oddsshark
Gardner Minshew (Start, QB2)
Gardner Minshew replaced Mike Glennon midway through Week 14’s game against Tennessee, and the decision seems a little sus to me. If he was okay to play, why didn’t he start? Sure, he only won one game as a starter this year before his injury paved the way for backup QB szn in Jacksonville, but isn’t tanking the name of the game down there? And it’s not like they truly needed to evaluate Glennon to see what he’s capable of – it’s been pretty clear for years that he’s just another backup who is completely one dimensional. At least Minshew has some flair.
The tin-foil hat is firmly resting on my head as I believe Jacksonville kept Minshew on the bench (despite actually being healthy to play) against both Minnesota and Tennessee because they knew Minshew might actually play well enough to win one of those games. Both teams have poor pass defenses and Minshew might have torn through them en-route to a victory that would have taken Jacksonville out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. Their final three matchups (Ravens, Bears, Colts) are much less winnable, so Minshew is back, baby!
Anyway, now that’s off my chest: I love this matchup for Minshew. Baltimore is hurting defensively and they just allowed 42 points to the Browns. Jimmy Smith, the Ravens’ top corner, was nursing an injury heading into Monday night’s game and he left the game in the 2nd quarter after re-aggravating it. Another corner, Tramon Williams, missed Monday’s game with an injury and his status is still up in the air for Week 15. That just leaves Marcus Peters, who has been terrible this year, and Marlon Humphrey, who has been good but can’t cover all four receivers at once.
This is a long-winded way of saying that I like Jacksonville’s offense much more with Minshew in charge, and I think he will be a useful stream if you need one this week. The offense looked much more open under Minshew’s guidance and they will likely be throwing it early and often against a suddenly-revived Baltimore team. He’s a QB2 with QB1 upside this week.
James Robinson (Start, RB2)
James Robinson really struggled for most of last week’s game, but the offense opened up when Minshew came in and Robinson finally found some running room. Most of his 67 yards came on one play in the 2nd half, but he did have a few longer plays called back on penalties that would have helped pad his stats and they all came with Minshew under center. Now that Minshew is the starter in this offense, it should open up more room for Robinson to run as defenses now actually have to consider stopping the Jaguars’ passing game. Baltimore allowed four rushing touchdowns and 4.9 yards per carry to the Browns last week, so they are vulnerable on the ground. To be fair, however, the Browns’ offensive line is much better than Jacksonville’s, and the Jaguars are dealing with some injuries upfront. Robinson will probably be the only Jaguar to earn all the carries once again, but the game script likely won’t allow for him to carry the rock 20+ times, so his floor is lower this week. He’s an RB2 this week as a result.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
D.J. Chark Jr. (Start, Flex), Keelan Cole Sr. (Start, Flex), Laviska Shenault Jr. (Sit, Flex), Chris Conley (Sit), Collin Johnson (Sit), Tyler Eifert (Sit)
Keelan Cole Sr was a target monster in Week 14 and he was all over the field for the majority of the day. In a game where Jacksonville will likely be behind by a lot, they should be throwing the ball just as much as they did against Tennessee, and that means more opportunities for Jacksonville receivers. I like all three of Cole, D.J. Chark Jr., and Laviska Shenault Jr. as potential flex plays this week, but of the three I’d prefer Cole since Chark will likely line up opposite of Marlon Humphrey. This is going to be a volume passing game so there will likely be two guys from this corps who have double-digit point weeks but I wouldn’t expect a high ceiling from any of them. If you have no other options you could do worse, but you may also be able to do better.
Lamar Jackson (Start, QB1)
Lamar. Is. Back. He has been the Lamar Jackson of 2019 in each of the past two weeks, even after leaving for most of the fourth quarter with… err… cramps. In this matchup, against a Jacksonville defense who is allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs this season, you’re firing Lamar up no matter what I say here so I’m not going to waste any more of our time.
J.K. Dobbins (Start, RB2), Gus Edwards (Sit), Mark Ingram II (Sit)
Mark Ingram II only played one snap in Week 14, so does that mean J.K. Dobbins is finally the lead dog in this offense? I sure hope so, because he’s looked like a stud in each of the last two weeks. He is legit and he gives Baltimore the best chance to win, which is incredibly important as they try to secure a playoff spot. The game script might be in his favor this week if they get out to an early lead, so there’s a good chance that Dobbins gets to prove his worth in a game against a defense that simply cannot stop the run. Sure, Gus Edwards has been getting carries in the red zone and that trend could continue, but Dobbins is emerging as the real deal and he is who you want to roll the dice with. Let’s all sit back and enjoy the Dobbins breakout on Sunday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Marquise Brown (Start, Flex), Mark Andrews (Start, TE1), Myles Boykin (Sit), Willie Snead IV (Sit, Flex), Dez Bryant (Sit)
Both Marquise Brown and Myles Boykin were added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday as close contacts to someone who tested positive. Their status for Sunday is in jeopardy, but if they continue testing negative for the rest of the week then they may be able to play. If they do, then Hollywood is a Flex play with WR2 upside and Boykin is nothing more than a dart throw in a great matchup. With Brown potentially out, that means more opportunities for Mark Andrews, Willie Snead IV, and Dez Bryant, though I wouldn’t go out of my way to start Dez by any means. He’s just a name and nothing more at this point. You’re obviously starting Andrews regardless, but I do like Snead in this game if he’s going to be getting some additional opportunities. In their last three games, Snead only has three fewer targets than Brown, and Lamar does trust him. Keep an eye on Brown’s status as the week goes on, and if he’s out then fire up Snead against the awful Jacksonville defense.
-Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23 on Twitter, iamatechnician on Reddit)