Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
Week 15 starts with the Jets visiting Baltimore in a game with a decent overall total of 45 points…but over two-thirds of those projected points are on the Baltimore side. The Ravens are over two touchdown favorites, which is kind of bonkers, but doesn’t seem unreasonable when you think about how good the Ravens offense is and how good their defense has become in the past several weeks. Let’s dig in.
We’ll start with the Ravens overall offense, because separating the run and pass offense on this team is just starting to seem a bit silly. I kind of hate Ravens showdowns because I can go back through my old writeups of this team and they’re always the same: Lamar Jackson is a fantastic play. The Ravens defense is a strong play. All of the Ravens skill players are in timeshares and their values are propped up by touchdowns. Mark Ingram is $10,400, bellcow price, for a guy averaging under 16 touches per game. Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are the leading receivers on the team and they’re averaging just over and just under six targets per game, respectively. This is a ridiculously spread-out offense and that makes it hard to play cash games in Ravens showdowns. Now, Mark Andrews is listed as questionable, and things change if he misses; Hayden Hurst becomes a whole lot more attractive, and at just $4,200 would become a core play. But, Andrews is probably playing. The Jets have been elite in tight end coverage thanks to Jamal Adams, so I’m leaning towards the Ravens receivers over their tight ends when building my exposures in this one (though keep an eye on Adams’ status, as he may miss this game). Brown is attractive, of course, and of the rest of the pile, Willie Snead is on the field the most (the only wideout playing over 60% of the snaps on the year), while Miles Boykin has some big play ability and doesn’t need much volume in order to go off. Mark Ingram has the safest overall volume but the toughest matchup against the pass-funnel Jets who rank second in run defense DVOA but 22nd against the pass. At the end of the day, all of the Ravens skill players are pretty dart-throwy, which is generally how it shakes out in most Baltimore games. It’s tough picking plays here and calling anything safe.
On the New York side, Le’Veon Bell returns from his illness/bowling holiday to resume lead back duties with Bilal Powell ruled out and Ty Montgomery nursing a pair of injuries. With Demaryius Thomas also doubtful and all relevant Jets tight ends also deceased, Bell should see all the work he can handle in this one. He is, by a fairly wide margin, the safest Jet. Montgomery should play and back up Bell, though his injuries might result in him playing fewer snaps. If Montgomery should miss, it’s probably Josh Adams as the primary backup to Bell if you’re looking for a place to go way off the board.
The Jets’ pass game is likely to struggle against a Ravens secondary that started the season poorly but has rounded into form and is now third in pass defense DVOA. Down Thomas and Griffin, the Jets are really just rolling out Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, and a pile of scrubs. Crowder has the safest role as the primary slot receiver, while Anderson, as always, has gamebreaking speed and only needs a couple of catches to smash. As a general rule I love speed guys in tournaments because long bombs are worth a lot of points and because speed is awfully tough to defend against; I’d rather play the guy who only needs one or two breaks to go his way in order to deliver a great performance than the guy who needs to consistently beat an elite secondary eight or 10 times in order to have a big game. Assuming that Demaryius misses, Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios should be the beneficiaries, with Smith likely to be the primary one. We’re still talking about the likely fourth option on a bad offense in a tough matchup, but at just $600 he’s a highly viable value punt. If you want to chase the Jets’ tight end situation, some guy named Daniel Brown has been playing most of the snaps since Ryan Griffin went down. Brown only saw two targets last week against the Dolphins after Griffin got hurt early, so even though he’s going to be on the field, expectations should be tempered for his involvement in the passing game (i.e., I’d take Smith over Brown if looking for punt plays).
The most likely way for this game to play out is for the Ravens to curb-stomp the Jets. There’s a reason that Vegas thinks New York only scores 14.5 points, after all (one of the lowest Vegas totals I’ve seen). Some other ways this game could play out:
- It’s awfully hard to imagine this really turning into a shootout, but what isn’t hard to imagine is the Ravens offense scoring points in such a way that only two or three of their players have strong salary-considered scores, while the Jets play from behind and several of their players rack up PPR points without the team really scoring. Imagine, for example, if Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram score all of the Ravens’ touchdowns between them, while Bell, Crowder, and Anderson each get something like 5 for 50 or better. That could mean that the optimal lineup has three Jets even though New York gets crushed.
My favorite overall captain is Lamar Jackson, which is incredibly obvious but also, I believe, correct. After Lamar, I want to be overweight the speed guys (Brown and Anderson) and Bell as a volume play.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain Darnold with at least 2 receivers (better yet, don’t play captain Darnold) and pair captain Lamar with at least 1 receiver
- At most 2 Ravens skill players not named Ingram, Andrews, and Brown