Welcome to a special free sampling of the Fantasy Football Playbook, with coverage of the London game between the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars, airing exclusively Sunday on ESPN+ at 9:30 a.m. ET.
The Playbook is your guide to the week's slate of NFL games, featuring score projections, over/unders, win probabilities and, of course, easily digestible fantasy advice for season-long and DFS leagues. This guide should help you with all sorts of decision-making, including sit/start decisions, last-minute waiver adds and lineup choices.
We've also included some highlights from one of Mike Clay's standout weekly pieces, normally available exclusively with an ESPN+ subscription. Every week of the NFL season, Clay delivers his Shadow Report, analyzing the key matchups between wide receivers and cornerbacks to help you get a leg up on the fantasy competition.
Clay also contributes to our expert Chalk team of fantasy and betting analyst team, with an eye towards offering up their opinions on which props and team-based wagers are the most advantageous to the bettor. We've asked him to serve up some of his favorite player props for Sunday's ESPN+ London game below. You can check out the rest of our betting content for more Broncos vs. Jaguars picks and betting tips.
Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5, 39.5)
Russell Wilson (hamstring) missed Week 7, and although he's expected back this week, he won't be a strong fantasy starter in London. The struggling quarterback has managed only one weekly finish better than 14th this season. Only one quarterback has scored more than 11.5 fantasy points against Denver this season and that was Geno Smith (17.2), way back in Week 1. In fact, every single opposing QB and WR unit has scored below its season average when facing Denver.
Trevor Lawrence has four top-12 fantasy outings this season, but he belongs on benches in this matchup.
Travis Etienne Jr. (career-high 18.9 fantasy points last week and 100-plus scrimmage yards in three straight games) is officially a weekly lineup lock after the Jaguars traded James Robinson to the Jets.
With Mike Boone now on IR, Melvin Gordon III (11 carries, four targets on 39 snaps in Week 7) and Latavius Murray (eight carries, three targets on 28 snaps) figure to share nearly all of the backfield work this week. This is a good matchup (the Jaguars have allowed 130-plus RB yards in four straight games), but the shared workload in a low-scoring offense limits the duo to flex territory. Gordon is the preferred fantasy option of the two.
Christian Kirk rebounded with a 101-yard effort in Week 7, and he's handling a strong 23% target share. Lawrence's top target remains in the WR3 mix, even against a Denver defense that has allowed the second-fewest WR yards and fantasy points, as well as the lowest WR yards per target (5.8) and only one receiving score. Zay Jones has seen eight-plus targets in four of his six games, but he's best left on benches in what will be one of his toughest matchups of the season (and the same goes for Marvin Jones Jr.).
Jerry Jeudy turned a season-high 11 targets into 96 yards last week, which helped him to his third top-20 fantasy outing. Jeudy is a solid WR3.
Greg Dulcich has played on 65% of snaps since making his NFL debut in Week 6. He posted a 6-51-0 receiving line on nine targets last week and appears to be locked in as the team's No. 3 pass-catcher. Dulcich is a fringe TE1.
Evan Engram has seen six-plus targets in three straight games, having cleared 65 yards in two of those outings. On the other hand, he's yet to find the end zone or reach 13.0 fantasy points in any game. Engram is a midrange TE2.
The Broncos have allowed the second-fewest WR fantasy points (and the fewest over expected) this season. They've been excellent against both the perimeter (sixth-fewest points allowed) and slot (second-fewest allowed). Jones Jr. (89% perimeter) and Jones (62%) do most of their work outside and will see a ton of Surtain and Mathis in this game. Both can be downgraded. Surtain has shadowed in four games this season, but all of that was on the perimeter, so Kirk (75% slot) will see him on no more than a handful of plays. As noted, though, Denver has also been good against the slot, so expectations for Kirk should be downgraded a bit against Williams.
Jacksonville's top CB Shaquill Griffin was placed on IR, which is a hit to a defense that has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to perimeter receivers this season. With Griffin out, we could see 2021 second-round pick Campbell shadow Sutton in this game. Campbell, who has played well, has shadowed once this season, and it was against Mike Williams in a game Griffin also missed back in Week 3. It worked out nicely for the Jaguars, with Williams catching just one of his six targets (albeit for a 15-yard touchdown). Campbell was in coverage on Williams on 27 of his 37 perimeter routes. Sutton lines up on the boundary 83% of the time, so if Campbell shadows, these two will be matched up on a majority of plays this week. That would also set up Hamler with a good matchup against Griffin-replacement Herndon on the other side of the field. Jeudy has a neutral matchup in the slot against Williams.
Trevor Lawrence UNDER 1.5 passing touchdowns (-194): Lawrence checks in with a 1.0 passing-TD projection for this game. The second-year quarterback has thrown nine touchdowns this season, but he has only one over his last three games combined. This week, Lawrence will face off with a Denver defense that has allowed a league-low three passing scores in seven games. Two of those came from Geno Smith way back in Week 1, which means Denver has allowed just one passing touchdown during its last six games (and none in four straight matchups against the likes of Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Justin Herbert and Zach Wilson). The vig is ugly, but Lawrence is an extreme long shot to throw two passing scores.
Jerry Jeudy OVER 46.5 receiving yards (-117) and Courtland Sutton OVER 52.5 receiving yards (-151): Denver is struggling to score touchdowns, but top receivers Jeudy and Sutton have both racked up plenty of yardage, so these lines feel low. Sutton checks in with a projection of 67 yards, and Jeudy is just behind him at 66 yards. Jeudy has reached 47 yards in five of his six full games this season, with the exception being against a tough 49ers defense in Week 3. He enjoyed a season-high 11 targets in Week 7. Sutton is averaging a healthy 8.3 targets per game, and though he's fallen well below 53 yards in two straight games, he averaged 83.4 yards and cleared this mark four times during his first five games with Russell Wilson under center. Even if he draws Tyson Campbell shadow coverage (as discussed earlier), this line feels low for Sutton.
Zay Jones UNDER 42.5 receiving yards (-125): This may feel like a low prop for a player averaging 7.8 targets per game, but Jones' Week 8 projection comes in a hair below this line at 40.4 yards. In fact, he's fallen short of 43 yards in three out of six games, including every one of his last three outings. Denver has allowed 113.1 WR receiving yards per game this season, which is second lowest in the league. The Broncos are also allowing 9.4 yards per reception (lowest) and 5.8 yards per target (lowest) to the position. Jones figures to see a decent chunk of Surtain on Sunday and is a good bet for a down game.
Andre Cisco OVER 3.5 combined tackles (-166), Devin Lloyd OVER 6.5 combined tackles (-163) and Foyesade Oluokun OVER 8.5 combined tackles (+106): It may be tough for all three of these Jaguars defenders to hit the over on their tackle props, but it's hard to ignorance the evidence for each of them. The vig isn't appealing on two of these, but my projections are well above the lines on all three, so I'll gladly put a few bucks down. I have Cisco projected for 5.5 tackles, Lloyd for 8.7 and Oluokun for 9.7. Cisco, the team's starting free safety, has played on 99% of defensive snaps and is averaging 5.3 tackles per game. He has reached four tackles in five out of seven games, including eight-plus in two straight outings. Lloyd (98% snap share) and Oluokun (100%) are Jacksonville's every-down off-ball linebackers. Lloyd is averaging 9.0 tackles per game and has hit at least seven in six out of seven games, including five straight. Oluokun is averaging 10.0 tackles per game and has reached nine in four out of seven games, including three of his last four.