Sunday Night Preview
Sunday Night Preview:
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
Vegas Odds: BAL -7, O/U 43
The league’s two most run heavy QBs take the field tonight in what we hope to be a high flying affair. Both Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton have carried fantasy managers with their legs yet have been inconsistent despite their seemingly high floors. This week we have Lamar as our FantasyHolic’s expert ranked #9 QB, while Cam is outside of our top 20 at the position. This is a tough matchup for each of the former MVPs and neither is surrounded with top tier weapons. The biggest difference between these two is LJax’s 12:4 TD:INT ratio versus Cam’s putrid 2:7. Lower your expectations for this week only and be ready to fire them up more comfortably in the coming weeks.
The good news here is both teams like to establish the run. The bad news is they like to establish the run using 3+ running backs plus the QBs steal carries and touchdowns. Chances are if you invested in Ravens or Patriots RBs (myself included) you’re either having a bad year or you’ve moved on to playing other guys. Or both. For Baltimore it looks like Mark Ingram will make his return from injury. JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards have done a serviceable job in his place but now return to form a threesome of fantasy confusion. Treat them all as RB3s or desperate flex options. I would rank them Ingram/Edwards/Dobbins just because that’s the order I would expect the goal line carries to go, but there’s really not much clarity as to who you can trust. The same can be said for New England. The between the tackles short yardage role player Damien Harris suffered a mild shoulder injury last week and is questionable. Sony Michel is also waiting in the wings returning from his own injury to try to reclaim this role. Meanwhile James White is having his worst season since his rookie year as the part time passing game back. Rex Burkhead has randomly taken touches away from both Harris and White as the most versatile of the crew, and is the guy that really makes this situation a mess. To cap things off the team loves to utilize designed runs for Cam in the red zone, making every RB limited on scoring opportunities. At this point Burkhead/White/Harris/Michel (if active) is the preferred PPR order, but do what you can do to avoid playing any of them. No one would judge you if you drop any of these cats for players with actual upside.
Let’s continue to doom and gloom with the wide receiver group. When you have run heavy teams with running QBs facing strong defenses it’s not typically a recipe for success. We’ll start with Jakobi Meyers has done a great job filling in for Julian Edelman in the slot. Last week he exploded with 12 catches for 169 yards, plus put up respectable double digits PPR totals each of the two weeks before. He is our expert ranked WR #37, one spot outside of WR3 range. Play him but none of his other teammates (Damiere Byrd a meh WR4 option and questionable N’Keal Harry a risky WR5). On the other side Marquise Brown is our WR39 after having another disappointing performance last week. He leads the team in catches and yards but is on pace for a solid but unspectacular 60/834/4 TD season. You drafted him expecting more but the harsh reality is this passing game as a whole has seen a huge regression, which was predicted by many in the fantasy world this offseason. His sidekicks Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and Willie Snead are all long shot WR5/6 material.
Mark Andrews has struggled some this year compared to his expectations coming in but still remains a strong play at fantasy’s thinnest position. Andrews leads the team with 5 receiving scores while currently second in catches (26) and yards (297). We have him ranked as TE #6 for this week and he is on pace to finish as a top 5 TE at the end of the year. The Pats have essentially punted at the TE position. Both rookie mid round picks (Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene) are on IR, leaving Ryan Izzo as the last and only man standing. Despite getting ample playing time you simple cannot play him since he has yet to break 5 PPR points in any game this season. He is safely and essentially permanently outside our top 25 TE ranks.