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NFL Analysis – Thursday Night Showdown – Week 15

New York Jets (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (11-2)

Thursday, 820pm

Vegas Info (Monday Night) – O/U  44.5 –  BAL 29.5 – NYJ 15 
Vegas Info (Tuesday Night) – O/U –
Vegas Info (Wednesday Night) – O/U –

OFFENSIVE INJURIES TO MONITOR

BAL – Lamar Jackson (QB) – QUESTIONABLE

BAL – Mark Andrews (TE) – QUESTIONABLE

NYJ – Demaryius Thomas (WR) – QUESTIONABLE

NYJ – Bilal Powell (RB) – QUESTIONABLE

NYJ – Ty Montgomery (RB) – QUESTIONABLE

NYJ – Ryan Griffin (TE) – QUESTIONABLE

The Story

I want to start this out by addressing something that’s been on my mind the last few weeks. In my season review for the Ravens, I ate into them. I didn’t think Lamar Jackson would have matured enough in the offseason. I didn’t think his arm was strong or accurate enough. I thought the Ravens would find some success against teams like the Dolphins and Cards in weeks 1 and 2, but, when they faced defense that could stop the run, the Ravens would be fucked out of luck. In the pass game, they only had 1 good receiver (that was a TE), an unproven rookie in Brown, and a couple mediocre players behind them. In the running game, they had Ingram and a bunch of backups itching to steal touches, but the QB would be stealing the most of all, and every defense would know exactly what was coming. They also looked like they would be, at best, in the middle of the field in terms of defense. 

I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Obviously. Jackson has become an MVP caliber talent. The defense has been top notch. They’ve managed to field a reputable pass attack, even though Brown and Andrews really have been the only decent options. And Ingram is having one of the best years of his career. The Ravens are 11-2 and they deserve to be 11-2. I said you can judge the quality of a review by how they judged the Ravens. I still stand by that. I still think that, looking at everything, I made the most sensible reading of what was in front of me. The only places that projected the Ravens to win 10 games were fan blogs. But, man, the fan blogs were right this time and I was wrong as fuck. The Ravens are legit. And, as long as Lamar Jackson is healthy, they are going to be dangerous.

Now let’s get to the game.

Everything you need to know about this game, I can tell you in one fact: Right now, if you exclude the backup QBs, the Ravens D is the 9th most expensive player on this one game slate. You have the 4 studs on the Ravens – Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown – and the 4 “studs” on the Jets – Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, and Jamison Crowder. After that is the 3 backup QBs, and then, 200 cheaper than that, is the Ravens D. The Ravens D that has a good chance of outscoring almost every Jets player I just mentioned. Still, let’s dig a little deeper here and see what we can find.

The Ravens have the 4th best D in the game, but they show some fantastic splits. They are 3rd best in the league against the pass, while being 12th worst against the run. Unfortunately for the Jets, they are projected to be playing from behind this whole game. That means that they would have to lean on the pass, which is just going to feed into the Ravens D getting interceptions and more. The Ravens also have a few fantastic players in their secondary that have done a great job at shutting down opposing WRs. Unlike a lot of other teams, the Ravens aren’t afraid to move their guys around, either. I expect that, while they won’t exactly be shadowing Anderson and Crowder, they are going to make their lives hell for the entire game. 

The Jets have the 12th best D in the game, and also show fantastic splits. Unlike the Ravens, the Jets are 2nd best against the run and 11th worst against the pass. This doesn’t really hurt Jackson at all, but it does take Ingram down from an OTF play to a GPP play, and also makes me really, really love the 2 main pass catchers – Andrews and Brown. 

The elephant in the room is the fact that both Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews should draw an injury designation heading into the game. With how easily the Ravens are expected to win, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Ravens play it extra safe. That would mean playing an absolute fuckload of Robert Griffin III at Captain, with incredibly high ownership going to Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst

My Captain Plays:

  • Ravens QB – Whoever plays QB for the Ravens, either Lamar Jackson or RGIII, will be my Captain. The Jets are too easily thwarted through the air and too good against the run. I expect that, whoever is behind Center for Baltimore, is going to have to throw it all the time, with incredible rush upside.

Over the Field UTIL Plays:

  • Ravens Pass Catchers – The Jets are worse than average against every type of pass. This means taking a load of Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. If Andrews is held out of the game, it would mean putting Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, and Willie Snead up here in his place.
  • Ravens D – I could see using them as a Captain, honestly. I wouldn’t argue with you there. They should crush it this game. But you never know, and I prefer the safety and higher upside of the QBs. 
  • The Kickers – Cheap enough, with decent chance to get a bunch of points, and will help you fit in the expensive dudes you are going to want to fit in

Under the Field UTIL Plays

  • Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder – I think the WR1 and the slot receiver are really, really hard to play against the Ravens. Especially when your QB is Sam Darnold.

GPP Plays

  • Mark Ingram – The Jets are just too good against the run. Still, I don’t think it’s impossible for him to sneak his way into the end zone at least once or twice. He should get that goal line usage. The only question is if the QB doesn’t vulture it, if one of the other RBs doesn’t vulture it, or if the receiver just makes it into the end zone himself. Given the way this game should go, with the Ravens having a dominant lead for most of the game, Ingram would normally see a bunch of work. I just don’t think he’ll find the success that a 10400 FLEX price tag would warrant. 
  • Sam Darnold – I hate attacking the Ravens through the air, but Darnold is going to have no choice but to throw it a bunch. I don’t think him finding success is all too likely, but you’re playing him in a GPP. You’re not playing him because you expect a bunch. 
  • Le’Veon Bell – As I explained before, the Ravens are almost as weak against the run as they are strong against the pass. I don’t think Adam Gase is smart enough to lean on Bell given the way the game is going to set up, so I don’t have any faith in him at that high price tag. Again, though, GPP play. 
  • Demaryius Thomas – He is cheap enough and will face the easiest matchup in the secondary. He has shown the ability to string together catches and get TDs. If Darnold has to throw it all the time, I think it’s likely this is the game Thomas sees the most targets. 
  • Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst – If Andrews PLAYS, they are GPP plays. If Andrews is OUT, they are both OTF plays.

Deep GPP Plays

  • Jets TEs –  This means Ryan Griffin (2200), Daniel Brown (2000), and Trevon Wesco (200) – There is a good chance Ryan Griffin misses this game which means the only 2 TEs the Jets have would be super cheap. Wesco almost never draws a target but he’s only 200. If Griffin plays, I would focus on him over the other 2, obviously
  • Seth Roberts (1800) – The Ravens WR3. Gets a big boost if Andrews is out. Needs almost nothing to pay off an 1800 price tag. Over his last 4 games has 8.5, 6.9, 1.5 and 1.8 DKP. So it’s not a slam dunk, but it is a possibility for the price. 

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