NFL Week 1 Jaguars at Colts: DFS & Fantasy Preview

A detailed look at this week's NFL action

Trevor Lawrence

NFL Week 1 Jaguars at Colts: DFS & Fantasy Preview

Betting Line: Jaguars – 4.5

Over/Under: 45.5

The Jaguars have an ascending offense led by Trevor Lawrence. He had growth in all areas in his sophomore season, but he lacked big plays (only three completions of 40 yards or more). Calvin Ridley looks locked and loaded to have a big year after sitting on the sideline since the fifth week of 2021. Last year, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram had career seasons in their first year with the Jaguars. Travis Etienne looks poised to push higher up the running back rankings, even with Tank Bigsby commanding some touches in his rookie campaign. 

Indianapolis had a black cloud hanging over their preseason due to Jonathan Taylor wanting to be traded. After placing him on the injured reserve for four games, the Colts lack identity at running back. Anthony Richardson will get plenty of carries in his first NFL start, but can he throw the ball well enough early in his career to deliver wins for Indy? The combination of Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, and Josh Downs has an upside feel. The question is whether or not Richardson will attempt more than 30 passes in many games to support his top receivers in the fantasy market.

Note: The fantasy points per $1,000 are based on the early projections for Week 1.

The above grid shows the top players excepted to contribute in Week 1 in the fantasy games. I listed each player’s salary at DraftKings and FanDuel, plus their fantasy points expected per $1,000 of salary invested. In GPP (grand prize pools) events, the goal is to find players with a chance to score four times their salary at DraftKings ($50,000 salary cap and three times at FanDuel ($60,000 salary cap). 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence

  • Lawrence finished seventh in quarterback scoring (20.83 FPPG) in 2022 while delivering two impact games (37.10 and 32.00) in fantasy points. 
  • In two starts vs. the Colts, he gained 432 combined yards with five scores. 
  • The addition of Calvin Ridley gives a higher chance of delivering passing touchdowns and adding length to his yards per pass attempt (7.0 in 2022 and 6.0 in 2021).
  • Lawrence adds value to his stat line by running the ball (73/334/2 and 62/291/5).
  • Indy allowed 25 passing touchdowns last year with 10 interceptions and 44 sacks.
  • I don’t see this game turning into a shootout due to the Colts’ lack of an explosive passing quarterback. Lawrence has the tools to shine, and he may hit on a 50+ yard touchdown in this matchup.
  • His salary requires at least 25.00 fantasy points to be viable. I expect Lawrence to finish close to this number in Week 1.

Travis Etienne

  • The Jaguars ran the ball 32.3 times a game in the preseason, leading to 420 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. 
  • Etienne rushed for more than 100 yards in six games last year (including in the playoffs). He scored over 20.00 fantasy points in only three games (25.20, 26.60, and 23.00). 
  • Jacksonville gave him 20+ touches in five matchups.
  • He finished 17th in running back scoring (208.10) despite a slow start over his first four games (34/144 and 8/81), while James Robinson (51/230/3 with 6/33/1) played well over the first three weeks.
  • The Jaguars will rotate in a second back, leading to Etienne seeing about 60% of the team’s snaps.
  • To reach a winning score in more weeks, Etienne must score more often and be more active in the passing game.
  • Not ideal for Week 1, but he has the wheels to hit on a long TD, keeping in the explosive mix.

Tank Bigsby

  • Over his last 25 games at Auburn, Bigsby rushes for 2,069 yards and 20 touches on 402 carries while chipping in the passing game (51/364 on 76 targets).
  • He ranked third in the preseason in rushing yards (159) on 28 carries. Bigsby didn’t score while losing one ball at the goal line.
  • I get the buzz in the preseason, but Etienne is the dynamic back in this offense.
  • He is overpriced in Week 1 for his expected opportunity.

Calvin Ridley

  • Over the summer, Ridley flashed speed and quickness in training camp while offering elite route running. He continues to shoot up draft boards, and I support his movement.
  • When at his best in 2020 (90/1,374/9 on 143 targets), Ridley was the fifth highest scoring wideout (283.90). He gained more than 100 yards in eight games (9/130/2, 7/109/2, 5/110, 8/136, 5/108, 8/124/1, 10/163/1, and 5/130).
  • The Jaguars’ wide receiver had 238 catches for 2,670 yards and 19 touchdowns on 369 targets last year. The addition of Ridley will undoubtedly push them higher in all categories in 2023.
  • Based on his salary at DraftKings and FanDuel, Ridley should glow like a beacon in the night. Ridley needs a 7/100/1 game to place him in the money in the DFS market.
  • His one negative is the Jaguars may not need to throw the ball much in the second half.

Read more about the FullTime Fantasy’s staff feelings about Calvin Ridley in 2023 here.

Christian Kirk

  • Kirk set career highs in catches (84), receiving yards (1,108), touchdowns (8), and targets (133) in his first year with the Jaguars. Unfortunately, Ridley is now the true WR1 for Jacksonville. On the positive side, Kirk will see weaker coverage.
  • He gained over 100 yards in three games (6/117, 9/105/2, and 6/104/1) in 2022 with three other 20+ fantasy weeks (6/78/2, 8/76/1, and 6/99/1) in PPR formats.
  • Kirk only had 11 targets in his two games (6/78/2 and 4/24/1) vs. the Colts.
  • With Ridley expected to be popular in the DFS market in Week 1, Kirk could be the against-the-grain play. His salary requires about 22.00 fantasy points to be an option.

Zay Jones

  • Jones outperformed expectations in 2022 (82/823/5 on 121 targets) while working close to the line of scrimmage (10.0 yards per catch).
  • He posted two impact games (11/145 and 6/109/3) plus three competitive weeks (10/85/1, 8/77/1, and 8/74/1) for his lower-tiered salary last year.
  • I expect him to be the receiver most hurt by the addition of Ridley.
  • His salary is low enough that he could surprise. Indy held him to eight catches for 65 yards in two games in 2022.
  • I’m fading him.

Evan Engram

  • After his rookie season (64/722/6) in 2017, Engram failed to reach his expected ceiling with the Giants over the next four years. His play over his first 11 games (37/356/1) in Jacksonville didn’t create an edge in many weeks. The Jaguars featured him at a much higher rate over his final eight starts (48/534/4 on 63 targets) highlighted by three games (11/162/2, 7/113, and 7/93/1).
  • In his two games (7/46 and 5/40) against the Colts, he had 14 targets.
  • Tight ends had 73 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns on 107 targets against Indianapolis in 2022.
  • Engram needs a 5/50/1 game to beat his salary outlook in Week 1. Tempting, but most competition for targets does hurt his upside.

Here are some notes from my preseason write-up for Indianapolis Colts Defense:

  • The Colts come into 2023 with questions at cornerback, a win for the Jacksonville’ wide receivers.
  • Shaquille Leonard missed 14 games last season, and he is currently in concussion protocol. The Colts need him in the starting lineup, as Leonard was their top defender from 2018 to 2021.
  • 20th vs. the run (511/2,109/20)

Indianapolis Colts

Anthony Richardson

  • Any excitement and investment in Richardson early in 2023 comes from his running ability. With no Jonathan Taylor in the starting lineup, the Colts could call his number 15 times in Week 1. His expected rushing output sets a reasonable floor, but he must pass for 200 yards with a score to fill his salary bucket.
  • Over 12 games with Florida last season, he averaged 212 passing yards with 17 touchdowns (103/654/9 on the ground).
  • Quarterbacks rushed for 469 yards and two touchdowns on 92 carries against the Jaguars in 2022.
  • More of a wild card until Richardson improves his accuracy (44.8% in the preseason and 53.8% in 2022 in college).

Zack Moss

  • Moss suffered a broken arm in late July, putting him out of action for about six weeks. The Colts suggested he may play in Week 1, but I have him listed as out in the early projection.

Evan Hull

  • Hull saw action in 24 games over the last two seasons at Northwestern, leading to 2,732 combined yards with 16 touchdowns and 88 catches. His pass-catching (88/810/4) may be his inside track to playing time on passing downs.
  • He rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries in the preseason.
  • The running back situation in Indy is messy in Week 1, and they are all avoids for me.

Michael Pittman

  • Pittman played well last year (99/925/4 on 141 targets), but the lack of quarterback play in Indy led to 9.3 yards per catch. Over the past two seasons, he gained 20 yards or more on 20 of his 187 catches (10.7%).
  • He finished 18th (238.60) and 20th (217.50) in PPR formats over the past two years.
  • His best two games in 2022 came in Week 1 (9/121/1) and Week 13/134), with the latter coming at home vs. the Jaguars. Pittman had a floor of seven catches in seven matchups.
  • Wide receivers had 198 catches for 2,369 yards and 18 touchdowns on 328 targets against Jacksonville last season.
  • His salary requires 20+ fantasy points. Pittman is more of a gamble until Richardson shows success passing the ball.

Alec Pierce

  • In his rookie season, Pierce caught 41 of his 78 targets (52.6%) for 593 yards and two touchdowns.
  • He offered a big-play skill set in college (17.5 yards per catch) that may play well when Richardson breaks the pocket and is forced to throw.
  • Boom or bust play with more risk than reward out of the gate.

Josh Downs

  • Over his final 24 games at North Carolina, Downs had 196 catches for 2,373 yards and 19 touchdowns on 268 targets.
  • He is an undersized wideout (5’9” and 170 lbs.) who is expected to work out of the slot in his rookie campaign.
  • I like his potential, but I have to see his usage from taking him for a daily ride.

Jelani Woods

  • The Colts should rotate in three tight ends this season, making them challenging to time in the daily market. 
  • Woods had two playable games (2/13/2 and 8/98) for his salary last season.
  • He’s been battling a hamstring issue in August that is trending toward a scratch in Week 1.
  • Tight ends had 82 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns on 1,083 targets vs. the Jaguars in 2022.
  • Easy avoid, but I’m still not interested in any other tight end option for the Colts in Week 1.

Here are some notes from my preseason write-up for the Jacksonville Jaguars Defense:

  • They have a potential weakness at their CB2 spot in the starting lineup.
  • Josh Allen and Devin Lloyd lead the defense. The Jaguars must create more turnovers to get the ball back in the hands of their star quarterback.
  • 28th vs. the pass (4,055/25) in 2022 with 35 sacks.
  • The Jaguars allowed 82 rushing touchdowns from 2019 to 2022.

More Week 1 Previews

Panthers at Falcons

Texans at Ravens

Bengals at Browns

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About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.