We close out Week 13 of the 2023 NFL season with an AFC matchup featuring the Cincinnati Bengals heading to Duval County to take on the Jacksonville, Jaguars. Obviously when this matchup was booked for primetime there was the belief Joe Burrow would be healthy and leading one of the premiere offenses in the league. That’s not the case as a thumb injury a few weeks ago derailed his season and effectively killed Cincinnati’s hopes for a Super Bowl run. The Bengals are now riding a three-game losing streak and don’t project particularly well in this matchup Monday night. The Jaguars have been heating up after a slow start to the season and they’ve won seven of their last eight games and currently lead the AFC South. It’s clearly not as exciting of a matchup as we had initially hoped but as always there is money to be made. Here are the top plays and NFL DFS Showdown lineup picks for tonight’s game!


Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars

Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars (-10)

Over/Under: 39.5 Points

Weather: Cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 60’s. Winds will be minimal with about 70-80% humidity.

Notable Injuries

Cincinnati Bengals

  • D’Ante Smith, Offensive Tackle – Questionable (Knee)
  • Cam Taylor-Britt, Defensive Back – OUT (Quad/Ankle)
  • Jay Tufele, Defensive Tackle – Questionable (Illness)

Jacksonville Jaguars


Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Based on the numbers from Weeks 1-10, I would not recommend Lawrence at Captain on this slate. However, in his last two outings following a bad loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Lawrence has been outstanding. He has six total touchdowns his last two games including three on the ground and he’s thrown over 600 yards in those two performances as well. I actually don’t believe the Bengals secondary is as bad as everyone has made them out to be. They’ve had a few quarterbacks play well but they’ve only given up a dozen touchdowns through the air in 11 games. But Lawrence has been turning it up and this was around the same time last year he made a nice late season push. The 300-yard bonus is reasonable for him, but we love the play if he grabs another rushing touchdown.

Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

I can’t really pinpoint what’s dogging him. I know he’s dealing with a rib injury but he hasn’t been the same player of late. In the four games leading up to the team’s bye week, he had seven total touchdowns and while he wasn’t efficient, he was getting volume and had involvement in the passing game. Since coming back from the team’s bye week the inefficiency has persisted and he hasn’t found the end zone. But he still has volume and the involvement in the passing game. If there was a spot for a “get right” game, this might be it. The Bengals have been torched on the ground lately. Over their last three games they’ve allowed 394 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Etienne is the only piece of the offense that isn’t clicking right now but I anticipate that they will do what they can to get him into the end zone.

Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

On the Cincy side, I really only have interest in Chase or Joe Mixon at Captain. Without Joe Burrow, Chase’s fantasy value takes a dramatic hit. Targets likely go down as the overall passing volume for Jake Browning is likely minimal. But last week he did have four catches on six targets for 81 yards. Now perhaps the production was capped because he was shadowed by Joey Porter Jr. last week. Either way, you’re really investing in him providing his playmaking ability because the targets may not be there. But perhaps this suppresses his exposure at Captain and he becomes a leverage spot? Most casual players look at this matchup and flock to the Jacksonville side.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

There’s an argument to be made that Calvin Ridley performs better when Zay Jones is active and on the field for the Jaguars. The last two games when Zay has been active Ridley has caught 12-of-15 targets for 192 yards and three touchdowns. It’s led to memes like this that provide a good laugh…

But truthfully in the games without Zay Jones, Ridley has been frustrating and hasn’t performed all that well. Ridley’s numbers in five games Zay Jones played are 29 catches on 42 targets for 447 yards and four touchdowns. In six games without Jones, Ridley is at 18 catches on 34 targets for 216 yards and one touchdown. Luckily for this game, Jones should be out there which does take a little pressure off Ridley but he should still capitalize on some deep routes. I just don’t know how much passing volume there will be in this matchup.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon is routinely a frustrating player to roster in any fantasy football format. There’s certainly plenty of talent but he provides more of a floor than a ceiling save for that one game every year where he manages to score three touchdowns. Then last week when we all thought the Bengals would lean more on Mixon he had only 10 touches despite playing a close game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jaguars are dead last in the league in allowing receptions to opposing running backs and let’s not forget the Bengals are heavy underdogs in this matchup. As much as Jake Browning liked to lean on his tight ends last week, he should consider checking down to his running back more. Mixon’s averaging about three receptions per game on the year and even collected 44 receiving yards on two catches last week. 

Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays

Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Kirk likely finds himself with five-to-seven targets in this matchup. With the way Calvin Ridley has played the last couple weeks, Kirk has been largely kept in check and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 7. He does have a few games where he can get double-digit targets, but we also just haven’t seen too much pop in his performances lately. Similar to the write-up in Ridley’s section, if the Jaguars are to build up a big enough lead, the passing volume could suffer for all these pass catchers. Kirk lines up primarily in the slot on over 60% of his snaps and the Bengals aren’t very good at defending slot receivers. But there are simply other narratives in play for this game that are keeping me from playing Kirk at Captain, and we’ll get to those shortly.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins makes his return Monday night, but it remains to be seen exactly how much of a connection he’s developed with Jake Browning. I’m not all that interested in playing Browning. But I’m sure some of his weapons have decent performances. All of Higgins’ production (whether good or bad) has come from Joe Burrow so I don’t want to throw out any target analysis. He’s the number two wide receiver in this offense but if Browning is throwing it less than 30 times in this matchup then we have to be cautious with how much exposure we get to their pass catchers. But his return should mean he’s on the field more than Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin at the very least.

Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

If there is one player I would bet to find the end zone Monday night, it would be Engram. If you read Howard Bender’s Playbooks, Watch Lists, or even listen to the live media he appears in, he pokes fun at the “he’s due” narrative quite a bit. But in all seriousness, no player is probably more due than Evan Engram. He’s averaging 10.5 PPR points per game with nearly 7.5 targets per game and 64 catches on the year. He doesn’t have a single touchdown this season and Lawrence just barely overthrew him for one last week…

The Bengals are pretty bad at defending the tight end position and they were torched last week by Pat Freiermuth. The only reason their numbers against the Baltimore Ravens’ tight ends look good is because Mark Andrews left early in that game. Fire up Evan Engram and if you believe there’s a concerted effort to get him a touchdown, then you can easily play him at Captain. He’s the first cover boy of the year to not be in the Captain section, but that’s more so me being cautious because the production has been mediocre overall on the year. But I do think he scores tonight.

Tanner Hudson, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Hudson isn’t a great play, but he has at least four receptions in four straight games. He hasn’t found the end zone, but eight of Jake Browning’s 19 completions last week went to tight ends and Hudson had half of those. Even when Browning came on in relief of Joe Burrow against the Ravens, Hudson was one of three primary targets for Browning with the other two being Trenton Irwin (more on him shortly) and Ja'Marr Chase. $4,000 isn’t the best price tag for a guy who may struggle to get to double-digit fantasy points, especially since the Jaguars have done better defending the tight end position of late.

D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Travis Etienne is a little beat up at the moment and that’s led to Johnson seeing eight carries each of his last two games while playing nearly 40% of the snaps last week against Houston. He’s logged at least six fantasy points in three straight games. But at this price tag we’ll need a little more from him. Six points are good for players costing us less than $2,000. Now that he’s over $4,000 as a flex play on DraftKings we’ll need more involvement in the passing game if possible. The good news is that Etienne is still beat up, Johnson has surpassed Tank Bigsby as the number two back right now, and if he sees 40% of the snaps again then maybe there’s enough volume for him but it’s a bit risky.

Defenses/Special Teams And Kickers

So I probably won’t be playing the Cincinnati Bengals ($3,200) defense Monday night. That doesn’t mean you can’t, but the Jaguars have an implied team total of about 25 points for this game and the Bengals have allowed a ton of production recently. In four of their last five games they’ve yielded over 420 yards of offense and overall they don’t force a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. You can run on them. You can throw on them. And you can score on them. So despite the cheap price tag I’ll go elsewhere this evening if they’re only going to provide five fantasy points.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,800) are far more expensive by comparison, but they’re priced up because of the matchup against Jake Browning. The Jags only have 24 sacks in 11 games on the year, which is actually less than Cincinnati, but they do have 20 takeaways. Browning did have a pick last week and a fumble so ball security is obviously a tremendous concern. You hope the Bengals just don’t go the route of short, quick-developing plays because that takes away from sack opportunities. Or if they go run-heavy with Joe Mixon that could be another issue as well. But it’s a matchup against an inexperienced quarterback and the Bengals have an implied team total of about 15 points. Given the circumstances, and the fact it’s a home game, the Jaguars aren’t an awful play at their price.

Last week we saw the impact Jake Browning’s presence would have on Evan McPherson ($4,600). McPherson had two field goal attempts with Joe Burrow in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. Then just one other attempt and one extra point in the second half with Jake Browning under center. Last week, in a full game against the Steelers, McPherson had just one field goal attempt and one extra point in the whole game. The Jaguars have also only seen 16 field goal attempts taken by opposing kickers which is about 1.5 per game and only 12 of those have been made. I’m not too excited to play McPherson when you can pay a little more for Brandon McManus ($5,000) who is part of a more reliable offense. Kickers against Cincinnati have put up double-digit fantasy points in 7-of-11 games this year and in each of their last three games, they’ve gone 8-for-8 with eight extra points. McManus has reached double-digits in three of his last four games and nailed three kicks from 40+ yards last week. McManus correlates well with any other Jags player in the Captain spot.

NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains

Tank Bigsby, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Truthfully, expectations are low for Bigsby this evening. I didn’t even want to include him in the Showdown Playbook, but I wanted to plug in one cheap option on Jacksonville. D’Ernest Johnson has basically passed him on the depth chart and he may only get carries if it’s a blowout. But even then, we have to consider that a possibility. One aspect of building Showdown lineups is to consider a narrative for your build. Does it make sense? Bigsby likely needs a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter to generate more touches. But aside from that he’s largely inefficient and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1 and I even think he’s a bit overpriced.

Trenton Irwin, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Irwin only had one target last week so, yeah, that’s mildly concerning. When Jake Browning took over following Joe Burrow’s injury in Week 11 it seemed like he was force feeding Irwin an abundance of targets even when some didn’t register due to penalties. But Irwin is priced back under $2,000 for this game because Tee Higgins will return. I’m perfectly fine engaging with the discount because of the rapport he has displayed with Browning. The concern over a lack of routes is certainly there so don’t go overboard with this play.

Drew Sample and Irv Smith, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

As mentioned in the Tanner Hudson section, Browning likes the safety net of his tight ends. Hudson had four catches last week. Smith had two, and while Sample only had one, he did find the end zone. Both Sample and Smith are $1,200 and $1,000 respectively and could each catch a couple passes or potentially find the end zone.