Xandamere’s Showdown Slant
Week 1 wraps up with the Ravens visiting the Raiders in a 50.5 total game with the visitors favored by 4 points. I generally hate Ravens Showdown slates and I expect this trend is likely to continue, but there’s a lot of money to be won and I’ll definitely be trying to win it.
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The Ravens run game plans completely fell apart during training camp as they lost not one, not two, but three of their running backs to season-ending injuries. Yikes. The last man standing is Ty’Son Williams, a UDFA with fantastic SPARQ scores who knows the system and should get the first crack at locking down the lead back role. Williams is just $6,800 in a tremendous matchup. While there are (modest) volume concerns as the Ravens generally don’t let a running back carry the ball 20+ times, and Lamar Jackson is an ever-present threat of touchdown vulturing, the current lack of depth makes me confident in Williams’ workload, and the price more than compensates us for the risk. Behind Williams, we have recent signee Latavius Murray, special teamer Trenton Cannon, and then recent signees Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, who are currently on the practice squad. Latavius at $6,200 is overpriced for an RB2 role (especially as someone who will need time to really learn the offense), and while I might have a smidge in MME, he’s not someone I want heavy exposure to. If Bell and/or Freeman are called up from the practice squad, they would be thrown into the MME mix but also as pretty thin options.
The injury bug didn’t skip Baltimore’s receiving corps as Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, and Sammy Watkins were all banged up before the season, with Bateman on IR. Brown and Watkins are both back in action but missed significant time, which is impactful especially for Watkins as he works to learn a new offense. They are, however, cheap for their upside, even in a modest volume passing attack. I very much prefer Brown for his speed, as we aren’t likely to see anyone getting a whole bunch of targets in this receiving corps, and so I’ll lean on the guys who can score from anywhere and don’t need a lot of volume. Watkins is “fine,” and you can take shots on James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace as the rest of the receivers in MME play. Note that Baltimore has traditionally mixed around their receiving options, so I’d expect all of these guys to at least see the field a little bit. The real gem, though, is Mark Andrews. Andrews had a healthy camp and preseason, he’s an incredible talent, and the Ravens clearly believe in him as they just signed him to an extension. Primary backup tight end Nick Boyle is hurt. The Raiders’ defense is atrocious against tight ends. Fire Andrews up. He’s my overall single favorite receiving option in this game. I think the backup tight end is likely to be Josh Oliver, I guess? I’m not entirely sure here but he’s nothing more than an MME dart throw in any case.
On the Las Vegas side, Josh Jacobs was downgraded to questionable on Sunday. He was a fairly mediocre play to begin with as a 2-down grinder with no real pass game role, as an underdog, in a difficult matchup. If he’s in, he falls in the “running backs with goal line roles are always viable in Showdown” bucket. If he’s out, Peyton Barber should take over at least some of the 2-down work, and then Kenyan Drake will have a good share as well as being the receiving back. Drake is a bit pricey for a change of pace back if Jacobs is active, relegating him to tourney play only, but if Jacobs is out he becomes a much more viable option in all formats. Barber at just $2,000 is a mediocre talent but would have a good role sans Jacobs and be a strong value.
In the passing game, tight end Darren Waller is really the WR1 of this offense (Waller led the position in targets by a HUGE margin last season). Despite a difficult matchup, talent and volume make Waller a strong option. The wide receiver mix is trickier to figure out. Last year, Nelson Agholor delivered most of the Raiders’ big wide receiver performances, but he’s now a Patriot, leaving Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones. All of these guys are cheap and thus viable options in all formats even if there’s a lot of uncertainty in how they’re going to be used. Ruggs has game-breaking speed, Edwards comes out of camp with glowing reports, and Renfrow was the most productive of this group last season. Zay Jones….is bad. But hey, he’s also cheap and weirder things have happened than Zay Jones having a decent game. There isn’t a lot that points to any one of these guys being especially likely to find success in a really tough matchup (despite losing Marcus Peters, Baltimore’s secondary is still one of the best in the league). I’ll lean towards Ruggs and Edwards, as speed means Ruggs doesn’t necessarily need a lot of volume, while Edwards looked promising to start last year before losing most of it to injury, and the camp reports (coachspeak, I know) me interested. These are pretty coin-flippy plays, though. You could play backups like Foster Moreau, but with how many actual cheap starters there are in this game (especially if Jacobs misses), I don’t see a need to go that deep unless you’re just trying extra hard to be unique.
The way this game is likeliest to play out is for the Ravens to control it. Their powerful rushing attack with occasional deep shots is unlikely to be able to be contained by the Las Vegas defense, so the question is if the Raiders can keep up in a tough matchup (but, at least it’s at home). If the Raiders can’t match pace, they’re going to be in for a long night. If they can find some success, it will either be via keeping up aerially or managing to put together long, time-consuming drives to slow the game down and try to keep it within a score. The former scenario is something of a shootout, in which the Raiders’ passing game is attractive, while the latter approach has Las Vegas succeeding on the ground.
My cash game pool is Lamar Jackson (duh), Carr, Williams, Andrews, the kickers, and possibly Renfrow if we don’t get any other news. If Jacobs is out, Drake and Barber get added to the cash game pool and Renfrow comes out of it.
My favorite tournament captains are Lamar, Waller, Andrews, Brown, and Williams. It’s worth not understating just how good the Ravens’ offense is. Lamar scored under 20 DK points six times during the regular season last year. Three of those times were in blowouts when the Ravens took their foot off the gas, while the other three times were against the Steelers, the Chiefs, and the Titans (two of the league’s top defenses in 2020….and then Tennessee). So, in competitive games and against non-elite defenses, Lamar smashed every game but one. I just have a really hard time seeing a talent-bereft Las Vegas defense slow the Ravens down (but that said, if you want to bet on weird outcomes, NOBODY is going to be playing 5-1 Raiders stacks).
SOME GROUPS TO CONSIDER:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
- If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
- Pair captain QBs with at least 1 receiver (Lamar) or 2 receivers (Carr)
- At most 2 of Lamar and the Baltimore running backs
- At most 1 of Proche, Duvernay, and Wallace
- At most 2 Raiders pass-catchers not named Darren Waller
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It’s Here!!! It’s Here!!!
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Lamar Jackson & the Ravens have won by a combined score of 97-16 in two Week 1 games
- Jon Gruden’s Raiders have ranked 32, 24, & 30th in points allowed over the last 3 seasons
- LV allowed ten 30-pt scores in 2020
- LV ranked 26th & 28th in defensive pass & rush DVOA in 2020
- BAL was only an average pass offense by DVOA in 2020, but still ranked 3rd in rush DVOA
- BAL lost Orlando Brown at T, but LV had the 4th fewest sacks in 2020, and clearly felt pass rush was a significant need when attempting to get back Khalil Mack via trade
- Lamar Jackson’s lowest point total in his two years as full starter is 14.4 DK pts
- In 30 games, Lamar has 11 games of 30+ DK pts and 23 games of 20+ DK pts
- LV allowed the 7th & 4th most DK pts to QBs & RBs in 2020 (Lamar is basically both)
- LV has allowed 13 games of 25+ DK pts to QBs over the past two seasons
- Lamar has played in just four games as a favorite with 50+ pt total, scoring DK pts of 32.8 (HOU), 15.2 (KC), 17.5 (TEN), 28.8 (TEN)
- When Lamar scored 20+ DK pts in 2020, he brought a 20+ pt scorer with him in 5 of the 10 games (Andrews x2, Brown x2, Snead, Dobbins)
- With Dobbins & Edwards on IR, Tyson Williams is expected to lead Week 1 as Le’veon Bell & Latavius Murray likely take some time to get fully acclimated to offense
- BAL top RB rush att in 2020: 10 // 10 // 7 // 9 // 11 // 14 // 16 // 12 // 7 // 15 // 9 / 11 // 13 // 14 // 15
- Dobbins & Edwards got 10+ att in same game just 4 times, and 16 was the max even for high draft pick JK Dobbins
- Dobbins had six games between 13-16 DK pts, with just two over in 2020 (18.5 // 31)
- Edwards had just five games of 10+ DK pts (10.4 // 13.1 // 14.2 // 14.7 // 18.3)
- BAL RB top DK scores in games as Favorite of 2-5 pts (projected close game): 12.9 // 23.5, 20.2 // 27.8 // 8.4 // 16.1, 14.7 // 18.3, 13.3 // 10.7
- Marquise Brown had 6+ targets in 14/18 games in 2020
- Marquise Brown to finish 2020 (DK pts): 18.5 // 14.9 // 13 // 15.8 // 12.5 // 21.1 // 22.8 // 12.7
- Rookie Rashod Bateman is on IR and Watkins has missed time in camp due to injury
- LV allowed the 9th highest yds/att in 2020
- Per Majesstik’s Workbook, LV allowed the 2nd most slot WR pts/g in 2020
- BAL’s previous slot WR Willie Snead is gone; Brown only at about 14% slot in 2020; Watkins played nearly 40% of his snaps at slot for KC in 2020
- TEs with 5+ targets vs LV in 2020: Cook (2:13:1) // Kelce (8:108:1; 8:127:1) // Gronk (5:62:1) // Henry (4:33; 5:65:1) // Fant (3:18; 4:48) // Hurst (4:48) // Gesicki (4:54)
- Andrews saw 5+ targets in 11 games in 2020
- Andrews finished with 50+ yds in 8 games in 2020
- Andrews has caught a TD in 13 games since 2019, with four 2-TD games
- Carr will be facing off against a blitz-heavy BAL Def with four new offensive linemen from 2020
- The only QBs to throw for 300 yds vs BAL in 2020: Mahomes, Haskins, Mayfield
- Carr scored 20+ DK pts in 9/16 games in 2020
- Carr’s scores of 20+ DK pts: 282:3 // 311:2 // 347:3:1 // 284:2:1 // 275:3:1 // 381:3:1 // 316:2:2 // 336:1:0 // 371:2:2
- Opp pts scored in those games: 24 // 30 // 32 // 45 // 35 // 28 // 44 // 26 // 31
- BAL allowed the 2nd lowest rate of explosive passes in 2020
- LV had the 6th highest rate of explosive passes in 2020
- Only eight WRs in 28 games since the Marcus Peters trade have topped 20 DK pts vs BAL (however, Peters just went down with ACL tear)
- LV WRs had just 7 scores over just 15 DK pts in 2020: Renfrow (1), Ruggs (2), Agholor (4)
- Agholor is gone to NE (vacates WR-leading 82 targets), with Bryan Edwards slated to start for LV alongside Ruggs
- Waller saw 7+ targets in 11 games in 2020 (7 games over 10 targets)
- Waller finished with 10+ DK pts in 12g, 15+ DK pts in 9g, 30+ DK pts in 4g
- Waller in games Carr or Mariota scored 20+ DK pts: 12:103:1 // 9:88 // 5:48:1 // 6:50:1 // 7:88:1 // 13:200:2 // 7:75 // 9:150:1 // 5:112 // 9:117:1
- BAL ranked in the middle of the league in DK pts allowed to TEs in 2020
- Kelce finished with 6:87 vs BAL in 2020
- Jacobs is questionable with illness at the time of this writing, and Richard is on IR (leaving just Drake & a potentially PS-called up Peyton Barber)
- Drake may be the backup, but he did have over 260 touches last year himself (with AZ)
- The only RBs to rush for 80+ yds vs BAL in 2020: Sanders (9:118) // Harris (22:121) // Henry (28:133) // Chubb (17:82:2)
- Jacobs had six games with 20+ rush att in 2020 (five wins)
- Jacobs finished with 3 or 4 targets in 8 games (only two above were 5 & 6)
- BAL ranked top 10 in defensive success rate & yds/att to RBs through the air
- 15 of Jacobs’s 19 career TDs have come in 7 games (2, 2, 2, 3, 2, 2, 2); 3/4 of the 1-TD games came vs LAC
- BAL allowed the fewest RB rush TDs in 2020