GAME OVERVIEW ::
By Hilow >>
- Both teams ranked in the top seven in pass rate over expectation and pass rate over expectation on first down in Week 1.
- Interesting setup where both offenses project to lean pass heavy while simultaneously utilizing slow pace of play.
- Both teams are likely to end the season in the top five in blitz rate on defense.
- Expect both teams to primarily lean pass-heavy with primary emphasis over the short-to-intermediate middle of the field.
HOW MIAMI WILL TRY TO WIN ::
Mike McDaniel gave us a glimpse into how the Dolphins are likely to operate this season in Week 1 – with one interesting twist. We witnessed the “standard Shanahan tree” slow pace of play (31st overall and 27th situation-neutral) and Josh Boyer swarming defense, but the team left Week 1 with the highest pass rate over expectation value and highest pass rate over expectation on first down in the league. It takes a lot of speculation as to why we saw the high pass rates last week (which could be anything from a specific game plan against the Patriots, to an intent to mask a bottom 10 offensive line, to making a statement with his newly acquired alpha wide receiver), but I tentatively expect the aggression to continue. Consider this – Miami averaged a paltry 2.41 yards per running back carry against the Patriots last week but 8.2 yards per pass attempt and 11.7 yards per completion. That said, there are multiple signs pointing to increased pass rates continuing forward to Week 2 against the Ravens, which we’ll get into further below.
Speaking of the ground game, man, oh man, did this unit fail to get anything going last week. Not only did we see a putrid 2.41 yards per running back carry, but the offensive line lacked any real push up front, and the outside zone run scheme was almost nonexistent; the latter of which could be a big issue considering Miami brought in two running backs best suited to B-gap and off-tackle rushing. I expect we might see a similar game plan to what the Jets decided to do last week against these Ravens – throw the football (and a lot – okay, probably not 59 times, but, yeah, a lot). And that wasn’t just an anomaly – Baltimore has not ranked lower than third in the league in rush attempts against per game since 2018, when they finished fifth in the metric. The combination of Brandon Williams (no longer with the team) and Michael Pierce (starting nose tackle) have ranked no lower than third in run-stopping metrics each of the previous five seasons. Pair that with an aggressive blitz and defense that plays man coverage and cover-1 at some of the highest rates in the league (this remained relatively consistent in Week 1 under new defensive coordinator Mike McDonald, who received the in-house promotion after the departure of Wink Martindale) and we’re likely to see the Dolphins side with an aerial-first attack once again in Week 2.
The Dolphins pass offense exhibited many of the characteristics we should expect based on the Shanahan tree in Week 1, with 12-of-33 pass attempts coming within five yards of the line of scrimmage, five attempts 20+ yards downfield, and 9-of-16 intermediate attempts (five to 15 yards downfield) going to pass-catchers over the middle of the field. Basically, whether it was due to scheme or quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s relative lack of downfield acumen, this pass offense operated under horizontally spread basic concepts in Week 1 with sparsely utilized downfield attempts built from there. Expect McDaniel to continue to utilize the speed of his primary skill position players to put strain on opposing defenses in the horizontal plane, with the goal being to get the ball into their hands in space. Tyreek Hill saw a massive 12-of-33 pass attempts directed his way in Week 1 (36.4% team target market share), setting up an interesting matchup against what is highly likely to be primary coverage from Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters (should he make his return from a torn ACL). The best on-paper matchup for Miami pass-catchers falls into whichever wide receiver sees the most slot snaps, but Miami utilizes enough pre-snap motion and misdirection that on-paper matchups become less relevant. Baltimore starting nickel corner Kyle Fuller was lost for the season in Week 1 due to a torn ACL, leaving starting duties to 2021 third-round pick Brandon Stephens, who posted just a 33% man coverage success rate last year on a 52.1% man coverage rate – again highlighting the heavy man principles the Ravens defense typically operates under. Stephens also allowed a hefty 120.2 passer rating and 2.00 fantasy points per target in his primary coverage, each of which are extremely poor marks. These shortcomings, paired with a low route participation rate from tight end Mike Gesicki, leave Miami with a very clear (and potentially concentrated) path of least resistance through the air. Finally, given Baltimore’s heavy blitz rates (31.1% in 2021 and 30.6% in Week 1), expect Miami to continue to lean towards a ball-out-quick primary aerial game plan.
HOW BALTIMORE WILL TRY TO WIN ::
The Ravens approached their Week 1 dismantling of the Jets almost exactly as we had expected, finishing the game with the week’s seventh-ranked pass rate over expectation (as we talked about last week, this was the most likely game plan for the Ravens with their backfield and offensive line in the shape it was in entering the week), heavy 21 and 12-personnel usage (fullback Patrick Ricard the most snaps of any back, Rashod Bateman led the wide receivers in snap rate at just 66%, and both Isaiah Likely and Josh Oliver played more than 34% of the offensive snaps), and a stifling defense. Injuries continued to be an issue for Baltimore, however, as left tackle Ja’Wuan James and nickel corner Kyle Fuller were lost for the season due to a torn Achilles and torn ACL, respectively. Keep an eye on practice reports out of Baltimore throughout the week as all of starting left tackle Ronnie Staley, running back J.K. Dobbins, and cornerback Marcus Peters are attempting to make their return to the lineup following prolonged absences. Regardless of Dobbins’ game day status, I expect the Ravens to continue a spread aerial attack bias due to the mounting injuries to their offensive line and relative lack of health of their backfield (newcomer running back Kenyan Drake waltzed into the building and led the backfield in running back opportunities by a hefty margin after being with the franchise for all of 11 days in Week 1).
The loss of left tackle Ju’Wuan James in Week 1, paired with the absences of left tackle Ronnie Staley and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, leaves the Ravens run game in unfortunate yet familiar territory heading into Week 2. I’d expect more of the same this week regardless of whether or not Staley and/or Dobbins return to the lineup as I wouldn’t immediately expect either to play heavy snaps after prolonged absences, meaning we’re likely to see running back Kenyan Drake (more suited for a dynamic role than Mike Davis or Justice Hill) and fullback Patrick Ricard lead the team in snap rate in the backfield once more. Considering the fact that the Ravens ended Week 1 with a low 41.2% overall rush rate in a game they led handily throughout, we can safely assume this backfield should largely be left alone for fantasy purposes.
Tight end Mark Andrews led Baltimore pass-catchers in snap rate and route participation rate in Week 1, which should continue throughout the season. Behind Andrews, de facto alpha wide receiver Rashod Bateman finished top amongst wide receivers in snap rate but was edged out by the electric Devin Duvernay in route participation rate. That said, no Baltimore wide receiver played more than 66% of the offensive snaps in Week 1, leaving efficiency and touchdowns as the likeliest contributors to fantasy value moving forward. The most telling part of the Ravens Week 1 game against the Jets was the fact that they ended with a 58.8% overall pass rate in a game they controlled with their defense throughout, meaning we can safely assume a floor of 30-33 pass attempts for quarterback Lamar Jackson with ceiling for much, much more (his 30 pass attempts in Week 1 came on only 51 total offensive plays run from scrimmage). Now consider the outside-in zone concepts and heavy blitz rates employed by the Miami defense and we’re likelier than not to see elevated pass rates utilizing the short-to-intermediate areas of the field as the primary areas of attack through the air for the Ravens.
LIKELIEST GAME FLOW ::
Eventual upside from this game depends largely on how each defense performs in the red zone, as we can expect each team to lean pass-heavy with a focus over the short-to-intermediate middle of the field. Basically, each offense should theoretically find success in their primary means of attack (Dolphins via schemed short-to-intermediate passing against heavy man coverage principles and Ravens via short-to-intermediate passing due to necessity against outside-in heavy zone concepts and heavy blitz rates), meaning we’re likely to see each offense achieve some level of success between the 20s. Combine those thoughts with the relative slow pace of play but elevated pass rates from each offense and we’re likely to see an environment develop where each team’s primary pass-catchers (Tyreek Hill and Mark Andrews) carry elevated individual floors but would require either extreme red zone efficiency or busted coverages to send the game environment into the range of “had to have it.” That said, consider this game firmly in the “primary pieces carry nice floors and theoretical ceiling remains high” bucket for Week 2.
DFS+ INTERPRETATION ::
- I wish the price would drop on Jaylen Waddle…
- In the bucket of “it’s easy to take the tiny sample size of Week 1 and assume it tells us everything we need to know going forward” (does that name even fit on the bucket?), it’s easy to assume that Tyreek Hill’s 12 targets last week and Waddle’s five targets last week tell us everything we need to know about the way these two will be used this year; but even if Hill is the clear alpha, shouldn’t we expect — given Waddle’s talent — that there will be at least a handful of games this year in which Waddle is the target leader and/or outproduces Hill?
- Unfortunately, Waddle is only $700 cheaper than Hill, making him tougher to pull the trigger on in smaller-field contests, where it’s often -EV (negative expected value — i.e., something that would lose you money over time) to add unnecessary risk; in mid- to large-field tourneys, however, Waddle is a very interesting piece here
- That said, it’s unlikely that ownership gets too far out of hand on Hill this week to where the leverage would make the “Waddle risk” more worthwhile — which keeps Hill very much in the conversation as well, in tourneys of all sizes
- Same as Hilow laid out above, I’m seeing this as a spot that very easily could pop, given the weapons involved (Lamar // Andrews // Tyreek // Waddle // Edmonds) — and yet I don’t necessarily see myself betting on a scenario in which that actually happens
- If I were betting on that scenario, the players on that list in the previous bullet point would be featured heavily
- While I may not end up building around this game as a core focus, I do want to keep in mind that individual pieces from this game can still contribute to a tourney win without the game environment getting out of hand (i.e., one-offs from that group — particularly Andrews // Tyreek // Edmonds) are in play for me in tourneys of every style/size
- Edmonds is particularly interesting, in that he’s an affordable hedge against almost every way this game could play out
- Dolphins dominate? — Edmonds gets extra work on the ground, and is likely scoring a touchdown or two
- Baltimore dominates? — Edmonds is getting plenty of work in the passing game (and as we see in Alex88’s research in the Matchups tab of this Edge game: these are not just underneath targets)
- Game blows up? — Edmonds is probably involved
- Neither team puts up a ton of points, but one or two players from this game are valuable through usage, scores, or big plays? — Edmonds is a candidate to be the name that emerges from that list
- Given his pass game role, pretty much any game environment will come with Edmonds securing a non-awful haul of points for his price (he shouldn’t have too many games this year when he finishes below the 10.5 points he banked last week), and there are plenty of ways he could pop for 20 to 25 DK points at only $5.2k
The elevated pass rates exhibited by each team are likely overshadowed by slow pace of play and elite secondaries. That means I’m more interested in finding any spots of guaranteed volume (or places volume could lead to the bonus on DraftKings plus chances at a score) as opposed to truly looking to leverage the game environment for stacks (that’s a long way of saying I’m currently most interested in hunting for one-offs from this game). That discussion has to start with Mark Andrews, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle. Of note here, Hill and Waddle played the exact same number of snaps in Week 1 (67% snap rate), and my analysis of this offense coming into the season was that we needed schemed usage for either to unlock their ceiling (we saw Hill get that schemed usage in Week 1 and Waddle not), meaning neither should be regarded as carrying a bankable floor – this removes them from my late week condensed player pool. I’ll break it down further like this:
- Mark Andrews carries the best combination of floor and ceiling from this game – my ultimate interest and exposure will likely come down to ownership projections and expected leverage, which I won’t fully get through until the End Around and The Slate podcast.
- Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle carry paths to the bonus and a score (30ish DraftKings points), meaning they should be firmly in our MME player pool.
- Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and Cedrick Wilson carry theoretical upside but it comes with gross-looking floors as none of these guys cracked 67% snap rates in Week 1.
- Both quarterbacks carry theoretical ceiling but would likely require the game environment erupting to unlock it (in other words, are both best played in game stacks, which I am personally not likely to utilize).
By Alex88 >>
- Middling game total of 44.5 (9th highest out of 16 games)
- MIA was the slowest team in seconds per play in Week 1, per TeamRankings.com
- BAL was the 8th slowest
- Week 2 DK salary of $5,600
- Per Fantasy Lab’s Trends tool, Tua’s average expected DK pts in 22 career games is 18.15, but his average actual pts is 15.66
- He’s scored 25+ DK pts three times: 25.36 @ JAX // 28.54 vs. ATL // 31.04 vs. KC
- In a season in which they suffered multiple injuries to their secondary, BAL ranked 31st in DK ppg allowed to QBs
- Starting CB Kyle Fuller, a two-time Pro Bowler, tore his ACL in Week 1 and is out for the year
- Notable opposing QB scores last season: Carson Wentz 26.58 // Derek Carr 28 // Patrick Mahomes 28.02 // Joe Burrow 30.64 // Burrow 41.1
MIA Passing Attack
- Week 1 snap share: Jaylen Waddle 66.7% // Tyreek Hill 66.7% // Durham Smythe 63.3%
- Target share: Hill 36.4% // Waddle 15.2% // Smythe 6.1%
- Per 4for4’s NFL Player Stat Explorer, Hill ($7,100) finished third in target share among all WRs, 10th in air yard share, & 5th in WOPR
- Hill had four games priced between $8,500-$8,900 last season
- He scored 4x his Week 2 DK salary four times
- Waddle’s Week 2 DK salary of $6,400 is tied for his second highest cost
- He scored 25+ DK pts three times last year
- BAL ranked 30th in DK ppg allowed last season (23rd in Week 1)
- Notable opposing WR scores: Darnell Mooney 26.1 // Diontae Johnson 33.5 // Ja’Marr Chase 37.1 // Tee Higgins 46.4
- Smythe ($2,700) severely out-snapped Mike Gesicki in Week 1 but only had two targets to Gesicki’s one
- BAL ranked 27th in DK ppg allowed to TEs last year (21st in Week 1)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Noah Fant 16.6 // C.J. Uzomah 24.1 // Travis Kelce 26.9 // Darren Waller 29.5
MIA Rushing Attack
- Week 1 snap share: Chase Edmonds 63.3% // Raheem Mostert 41.7%
- Target share: Edmonds 12.1% // Mostert 3%
- Attempts: Edmonds 12 // Mostert 5
- MIA had just three carries in the red zone: Tua Tagovailoa 2 // Mostert 1
- Edmonds ($5,200) ranked fifth among all Week 1 RBs in air yard share, fourth in ADoT, & 13th in WOPR (per 4for4)
- He’s scored 4x his Week 2 DK salary four times in 56 career games
- Mostert ($4,400) went down in Week 1 last season, but has scored 20+ DK pts five times in 27 career games
- BAL ranked 12th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (20th in Week 1)
- Notable opposing RB scores: D’Andre Swift 23.7 // Joe Mixon 31.5 // Jonathan Taylor 34.9
- Lamar ($7,400 in Week 2) finished 9th in Pass Expected Points Added per Play in Week 1 (per 4for4’s NFL Player Stat Explorer)
- He was 2nd in air yards & 1st in ADoT
- In 54 career games, Lamar averages 24.36 DK pts
- Led all QBs in rushing attempts per game for four straight seasons
- His average rushing attempts per game, starting with the 2018 season: 9.2 // 11.7 // 10.6 // 11.1
- In Week 1, he ran just six times for 17 yds
- MIA ranked 8th in DK ppg allowed to QBs last season and finished 3rd in Week 1
- Notable opposing QB scores allowed last year: Derek Carr 25.24 // Josh Allen 29.46 // Tom Brady 40.74
BAL Passing Attack
- Week 1 snap share: Mark Andrews 83.9% // Rashod Bateman 66.1% // Devin Duvernay 51.8%
- Target share: Andrews 23.3% // Bateman 16.7% // Duvernay 13.3%
- Bateman ($5,500) ranked second in ADoT among all WRs in Week 1 (per 4for4)
- He’s yet to score 4x his Week 2 DK salary
- Duvernay ($4,300) averaged 2.9 targets per game last season (finished with 4 in Week 1)
- Scored 4x his Week 2 DK salary once
- MIA ranked 16th in DK ppg allowed to WRs last season (11th in Week 1)
- Notable opposing WR scores: Marvin Jones 26 // Mike Evans 32.3 // Elijah Moore 32.6 // Antonio Brown 34.4
- Andrews ($6,400) ranked third in target share in Week 1, third in air yard share, 1st in ADoT, & fourth in WOPR (per 4for4)
- His Week 2 DK salary is $1,000 off his peak last season
- He scored 4x his Week 2 salary four times last year
- MIA ranked 17th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (18th in Week 1)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Andrews 18.3 // Mo Alie-Cox 19.2 // Kyle Pitts 26.3
BAL Rushing Attack
- Week 1 snap share: Kenyan Drake 58.9% // Justice Hill 19.6% // Mike Davis 12.5%
- Target share: Hill 6.7% // Drake 3.3%
- Attempts: Drake 11 // Hill 2 // Davis 2
- Red zone touches: Drake 2 // Lamar Jackson 1
- J.K. Dobbins ($5,300) practiced fully on Wednesday
- Drake ($4,800) has only hit 20 DK pts once in his career
- MIA ranked ninth in DK ppg allowed to RBs last year (eighth in Week 1)
- Notable opposing RB scores: Brandon Bolden 20.6 // Leonard Fournette 21 // D’Onta Foreman 22.2 // Jonathan Taylor 23.4 // Peyton Barber 26.2