Fresh off their win against the 10-2 49ers, the Ravens have now defeated the Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, and 49ers in five of their last six games — with four of these wins coming by two or more scores, and with a 36-point victory over the Bengals mixed in. They will travel to Buffalo this week to take on a 9-3 Bills team that still has only one victory over an opponent with a winning record — a 14-7 triumph over the Titans. Nevertheless, the Bills proved once again last week that they are a solid all-around team, and with their elite pass defense (third fewest fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks; second fewest wide receiver touchdowns allowed; second fewest tight end targets faced across the last two years), they are able to at least eliminate one of the two things that their opponent wants to do.
Of course, the other thing an opponent wants to do (and the thing the Ravens want to do more than any team in football) is run the ball. In this area, the Bills rank 22nd in DVOA and are allowing a robust 4.65 yards per carry to enemy backs, and the Ravens should be able to hammer them both up the middle with Mark Ingram and to the edges with Lamar Jackson. Ingram has recent carry counts of 15 // 9 // 13 // 15 // 15, while ceding carry counts of 7 // 4 // 8 // 14 // 6 to “1B” Gus Edwards. As always, Ingram is a yardage-and-touchdown dependent back (with only six catches across his last four games), while Gus Gus is just a “hope and pray” flier.
Of course, the key piece of the Ravens rushing attack is not the running backs, but is instead Lamar Jackson, who has posted recent carry counts of 16 // 7 // 10 // 8 // 16. As we noted last week: his chances of posting a truly “have to have it” score are lowered by the difficult pass game matchup; but his chances of a dud are also low, given his central role to everything that happens in this offense. Lamar has posted only two non-excellent scores on the season (with only one score you would really have been disappointed in), keeping him very much in the mix in a matchup that still sets up well for the most explosive element of his skill set.
Lamar’s pass catchers, of course, are far more speculative — with all of these guys lining up as varying levels of “bet on a touchdown or broken play” options. Mark Andrews — with his raw upside and consistent involvement — is the best bet to get you there, though his recent target counts of 3 // 8 // 4 // 3 // 6 are a reminder of the sort of volatility he carries.
The Bills offense has been rounding into form and solidifying their identity lately as an 11-personnel-leaning team that features Devin Singletary in the backfield (77.6% of the snaps last week, with recent touch counts of 16 // 22 // 17), while focusing on John Brown and Cole Beasley through the air (Brown has recent target counts of 7 // 11 // 14 // 4 // 4, while Beasley sits at 2 // 6 // 4 // 9 // 7). The Ravens have been difficult to attack through the air this year — particularly over the last month and a half, with only Robert Woods in garbage time topping even 90 yards through the air against them in their last six games — and they are also generally solid against the run, having allowed only Nick Chubb and Raheem Mostert to top 100 yards against them. This isn’t exactly a fully concentrated attack for the Bills, either, as this team bleeds out some production to Robert Foster, Isaiah McKenzie, Dawson Knox, and Frank Gore; but if wanting to pick on the Ravens, you can bet on the Bills as a home offense with most of their plays bankably flowing through Singletary, Brown, and Beasley. Josh Allen is also a “bet on role” piece, with recent carry counts of 8 // 8 // 6 // 7 // 9 // 10 and recent yardage totals of 45 // 12 // 28 // 56 // 56 // 43. Unlike his counterpart in this game, Allen’s runs are primarily coming on scrambles; but he does have a few designed runs thrown in there, and the scrambles are a consistent enough part of his game that they can be considered somewhat reliable. Not one of these guys is a lock-and-load play, but all have some paths to upside in this difficult draw against the Ravens.
JM’s Interpretation ::
In keeping with the seeming theme of this week, there are some elements to like in this game (or at least to “not hate”), but it’s difficult to get overwhelmingly excited about any one play in this game.
Unsurprisingly, Lamar stands out as the best floor/ceiling piece in this spot, as he should be part of whatever offense we get from the Ravens. Ingram is a low-floor, solid-ceiling bet, while pass catchers on the Ravens carry upside but are fairly speculative this week.
Bills players are more speculative than they typically are as well, in this tough matchup against the Ravens, though given how ugly this week is as a whole, I won’t be surprised if A) I take a similar approach to the one I took two and three weeks ago on ugly slates (spreading my exposure a bit more thin to essentially “bet on the fact that an ugly week means slate-winning scores emerging from lower-owned spots), and B) I include at least a small amount of Bills exposure along with that approach. In other words: none of these are plays I want to isolate and build around; but there are enough paths to a solid game from Singletary, JB, or Beasley that I may end up with a bit if these guys — with Singletary and JB, of course, the stronger bets here, and with Josh Allen in the fringe quarterback conversation as well.
You must be logged in to view collective notes about a game.
You must be logged in to add notes about a game.