The Matchup ::
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- Greg Roman’s offense has faced Dean Pees’ defense twice, scoring 29 with Kaepernick in the Super Bowl and scoring 7 with Tyrod Taylor (one week before he was fired by Rex Ryan)
- Kaepernick & Gore combined for 172 yards on the ground, while Tyrod & McCoy combined for just 69 yards
- Lamar Jackson has just 3 games all season below 60 rushing yards
- 10 of 15 starting QBs vs TEN threw for multiple TDs in 2019
- Jackson has thrown between 3-5 TDs in 6 of his last 7 games
- TEN has allowed the 5th most DK points to opposing TEs with the 3rd most touchdowns allowed to the position
- Mark Andrews has received 7+ targets in 10 of 14 full games he’s played this year while scoring 10 touchdowns (2nd amongst all receivers)
- Only 2 opposing backs have rushed for 100+ yards vs TEN this year (CMC & Hyde)
- TEN has allowed the 2nd most receptions to RBs and the 9th most yards
- A Ravens RB has only topped 3 targets three times this year (4 targets: Ingram 2x, Hill), and no time was it Edwards (Ingram still Questionable)
- TEN’s offense ranks 6th in total efficiency
- BAL has faced three top-10 efficiency offenses this year, allowing 33 to KC (no Peters or Smith), 16 to SEA, and 17 to SF
- In the 2018 matchup, Henry only saw 7 carries while Mariota was sacked 11 times
- Only the Saints faced fewer rush attempts than the Ravens this year, but 7 teams allowed fewer rushing yards and 15 teams allowed fewer rushing TDs
- Derrick Henry has rushed for more than 149 yards in 6 of his last 8 games, and in the other 2 games he still combined for 189 rushing yards
- In A.J. Brown’s 5 games with Tannehill vs top-15 efficiency pass defenses, he has totaled 9 receptions for 147 yards, 1 rec TD, & 1 rush TD
- That’s just 40.6 DK points in 5 games, and only 29.7 when removing his 49-yard rushing score
The Game ::
Titans at Ravens gives us another game with two of the run-heaviest teams in the NFL — and while the Vikings and 49ers are an interesting matchup in that both teams have similar foundational elements on offense (which means that both defenses have practiced all season against a number of the looks they’ll see on Saturday), this is an interesting matchup in that both of these teams are, in part, built around the idea that one of the advantages in the 2019/2020 version of the NFL is the fact that so many teams are built with more of a “finesse” mindset, and simply playing with a far more physical style than most teams are used to can therefore create an edge. To put that another way: both of these teams capitalize on being more sturdy and physical than their opponent, which should make for a great clash on Saturday night.
As we have explored throughout the season, the Ravens are “not bad, but are certainly not scary” against the run, while they are absolutely elite against the pass. Baltimore might not be able to line up and whip the Titans’ offensive line with a straight four-man rush, but that won’t matter, because they’ll hardly attempt that at all. Instead, they’ll send exotic blitzes throughout the game to take advantage of Ryan Tannehill’s tendency to hold onto the ball too long, and they’ll look to trap Tanny into mistakes on short-area routes when he gets rid of the ball too quickly. Same as last week for Tennessee: any bets outside of Derrick Henry are just “hoping for a broken play or multiple touchdowns.” A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith, and Corey Davis (in that order) are the players with the best shot at tripping into a big game through the air. Henry, of course, will have almost no aerial involvement, making him a pure yardage-and-touchdown back; though he’ll be involved enough on the ground (and is beastly enough with the ball in his hands) that he still has a shot at succeeding here. If any team can “out-physical” the Titans’ run game, it’s the Ravens, so there is certainly roster-cratering potential here; but there is also top-of-the-slate potential, giving Henry one of the broader ranges of viable outcomes on the slate.
The Ravens boast the player who has been the most lock-button option in the league this year in Lamar Jackson, whose rushing prowess not only sets him apart, but who also led the entire NFL in passing touchdowns (in spite of failing to top even 240 passing yards in each of his last 11 games on the year). Expect the Titans to try to hold the point of attack with their linemen while aiming to use their linebacker and secondary speed to shut off the outside — though this is easier said than done, and Lamar is quite a bit more than just “speed.” Non-Lamar pieces on the Ravens have not been easy to forecast this year, as this team adjusts throughout the game based on what the defense is giving them — but everything flows through Lamar.
On the ground, it will be Mark Ingram (assuming he is cleared from his calf issue) — though Ingram (recent reception totals of 3 // 1 // 2 // 3 // 1 // 2) has quietly failed to top 15 carries in 10 consecutive games. He tends to pop for big games when he scores and tends to disappoint when he doesn’t. The Titans and Ravens finished first and second in red zone touchdown rate on offense this season, but the Titans ranked 30th on defense while the Ravens ranked third, giving the Ravens a nice “in close scoring” edge. If Ingram misses, Gus Edwards will step up for around 15 carries of his own, though without Ingram’s pass game role. Justice Hill will then step into what is typically the Edwards role (usually leading to around six to eight touches), with a higher likelihood of pass game involvement than Edwards ever has.
Through the air, Mark Andrews (seven or more targets in all but five games this year) tends to become a decent play when he doesn’t score, while carrying slate-breaking potential for his big-play and touchdown-scoring ability. The Titans allowed the fourth most tight end touchdowns this year as part of their red zone woes. (This could also lead to a touchdown bleeding out to Hayden Hurst or even Nick Boyle.) Behind Andrews, this is a low-volume passing attack of simply hoping to guess right on a big play or a touchdown — with Marquise Brown the best bet for both.
Xandamere’s Showdown Notes ::
- Lamar is incredibly expensive but he outprojects everyone else in this game by such a massive amount that I just don’t see how you fade him unless you’re building for a scenario in which he gets hurt early (don’t do that, you monster).
- I’m pretty content to be underweight Ingram here coming off of what seems like a fairly meaningful injury in a game as a massive favorite. He’s expected to play, but he’s always a guy who gets less work than most running backs in his price range and he could see even less in this game. GusBus and Hill are interesting tourney plays if you think the Ravens lean on them more, or have Ingram take a seat in the second half if they’re up by a lot.
- I always have a hard time figuring out the Ravens receivers. Mark Andrews is the clear top option here but you’re paying $9,200 for a guy who averaged about 6.5 targets per game in the regular season, which is pretty outrageous. Of course, it doesn’t get better with their other receivers, and the Titans receivers on the other side have the same problem.
- If betting on a standard game script, I’ll take A.J. Brown in a more difficult matchup but with likely better volume as Tennessee chases, then Andrews, then Marquise Brown out of the top receivers.
- Corey Davis at $4,800 is a much stronger value play this week than he was last week in a nightmare matchup, but for the price I think Jonnu Smith at just $3,600 is my overall favorite Titan (which isn’t saying much).
- The Ravens pass to the tight end so often that Hurst and Boyle are, as always, in play.
- Derrick Henry is objectively overpriced as a significant road underdog who doesn’t get pass game work, but while that hurts his floor, he still possesses a top-of-the-slate ceiling and he’s going to go relatively underowned here.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain QBs with at least 1 receiver (both QBs here are fully capable of running in a score and they don’t need to be stacked as heavily)
- At most 2 Baltimore running backs
- At most 2 Baltimore receivers not named Andrews and Brown
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