Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- One of the lighter “injury concerns” games, meaning we have a more clear idea of how each team will approach it from both sides.
- Although the path to this game truly blowing up doesn’t leave many “outs,” it is still the likeliest scenario for how the game should play out. This presents an interesting scenario where I wouldn’t feel comfortable with an “always one Viking” rule, but would instead spread exposure to account for the Vikings completely failing or the game environment overwhelming. That gets even more tricky to digest when we consider the fact that the Ravens are one of the more spread offenses in the league.
- Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has more games of double-digit rush attempts than he does of games with single-digit carries. He also has not scored a rushing touchdown since he scored two in Week 2.
- Expect the Ravens to come out looking sharp following their Week 8 bye.
How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::
We pretty much know what we’re going to get from this Vikings team. They rank middle of the pack in both situation-neutral rush/pass rates and situation-neutral pace of play. That said, they rank all the way up at seventh in overall pace of play, primarily due to pretty consistently finding themselves in either negative game scripts or highly competitive games. That’s part of the appeal of games involving Minnesota – they are typically highly competitive games (a startling six of seven games have been decided by one score or less). When looking at how the Vikings approach games, we typically see a balanced approach throughout as opposed to insane pass rates when trailing. A defense that has improved dramatically as the season has progressed has led to the Vikings offense ranking fifth in the league in plays per game at 68.6. This, in turn, has led to increased volume for the offense as a whole, and a quarterback in Kirk Cousins who has yet to attempt fewer than 32 passes in a game this year.
This backfield is dominated by Dalvin Cook for as long as he remains healthy. Dalvin has seen a 71% snap share or greater in all four of his fully healthy games this season, translating to running back opportunity counts of 27, 25, 32, and 20. After seeing 16 targets in two and a half games, his four targets over the previous two weeks are a bit of a letdown all things considered. Behind Dalvin, Alexander Mattison typically handles a modest 10-20% snap rate and opportunity share whenever Dalvin is healthy. Fullback extraordinaire CJ Ham continues to play heavy snaps on this offense largely devoid of play-makers outside of the big three, playing 30% or more of the offensive snaps in five of seven games thus far. The matchup is a difficult one against Brandon Williams and this Ravens rush defense, yielding a paltry 3.615 net-adjusted line yards metric. Continue to monitor the status of Brandon Williams, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a shoulder injury.
For how conservative quarterback Kirk Cousins is, he has absolutely smashed against the blitz this season, actionable information against a Ravens defense that plays man coverage and blitzes at some of the highest rates in the league. What this scheme has historically done is cut down on both aDOT against and opponent catch rate, but what we’re seeing this season is a team cutting down on opponent completion rate but allowing an absurd 12.3 yards per completion, which ranks second-worst to only the Lions. On top of that, the Ravens allow an inflated average depth of target when targeted as a defender (8.4). Although Justin Jefferson is the team’s primary deep threat (11.5 aDOT), he has largely struggled in his young career against tight man and press man coverage, both of which he should expect to see a great deal of this week. Adam Thielen’s modest 9.7 aDOT and 22.8% team target market share means he typically requires a spike in volume to provide GPP-worthy scores, which just might be the case here against the Ravens. KJ Osborn actually holds a lower aDOT than Thielen all the way down at 7.9 yards and would require an immense boost to volume or a broken play to pay off. One of the most interesting pieces from this offense is tight end Tyler Conklin. Conklin holds a silly 4.4 aDOT and modest 13.7% team target market share but represents the path of least resistance for the Vikings this week. Averaging about 5.3 targets per game, he’ll likely require extreme efficiency and a trip to the end zone to provide a GPP-worthy score at cost, but the potential is there.
How Baltimore Will Try To Win ::
The Ravens have landed between 26 and 31 pass attempts in five of seven games, with the two outliers in that thrilling overtime, come-from-behind victory against the Colts and a Week 4 game against the Broncos in which they struggled to run the football. We know by now to expect elevated rush rates and a slow pace of play from these Ravens, which should hold true this week. Not much left to say about this Ravens offense that we all don’t already know, other than the likely return to the lineup for Sammy Watkins, which should dent the expected snap rates of both Devin Duvernay and Rashod Bateman. The status of Latavius Murray is still up in the air, but we can expect three of Murray, Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell, and Ty’Son Williams to be active on game day and see meaningful reps.
When we then consider that this team basically plays with four running backs on a weekly basis with the addition of Lamar Jackson’s rushing workload, it leaves very few paths to GPP-worthy scores to emerge from any of the three weekly active running backs. Consider this: the team-high for fantasy points from any one running back is 18.4, scored all the way back in Week 1 when Ty’Son Williams shared the backfield with only the recently added Latavius Murray. The high outside of that Week 1 game is 13.6 fantasy points. The matchup is almost irrelevant at that point, particularly when Lamar Jackson typically rushes for double-digit attempts on his own.
The passing game has once again relied heavily on efficiency as opposed to volume this season. LJax’s tight range of typical pass volume (as discussed above) means the Ravens require outside influence to raise their weekly pass volume. This is most likely to come in the form of a game environment that pushes them to become more aggressive, but when we consider their opponent this week typically adapts a similar outlook when it comes to aggression (rarely push the envelope on their own), it leaves very little outs for the game environment to take off. This means both Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are likeliest to land in their standard targets range of seven to nine, while the secondary options in the passing game take a significant hit should Sammy Watkins return to his standard seven to eight looks (hit that tight range in every fully healthy game this year). Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche would be relegated to MME prayers in that case.
Likeliest Game flow ::
Due to the nature of this Vikings team, where they very rarely become aggressive on their own but are fully capable of playing games close once forced into aggression, this game environment overall revolves almost entirely around the Ravens ability to score points and the Vikings ability to return the favor. This leaves us with a fairly narrow path to the game environment truly erupting, but we have seen games involving these Vikings do just that at multiple points over the past season and a half. Put another way, we shouldn’t expect the Vikings to come out firing from the first kick on their own, usually requiring an outside force to kick start them into aggression. That nudge is likeliest to come in the form of the Ravens putting up points early.
I wanted to go through the way (or ways, in some cases) where the game environment could truly take off for some of these games this week in which the likeliest game flows don’t really separate themselves from other equally as likely occurrences. The decision to take this approach this week also has a lot to do with the state of the slate overall, where injuries, COVID listers, and other outside factors have had a great effect on the likeliest plans of attack, game flows, and game environments.
The likeliest scenario for this one involves the Ravens controlling the pace (slow) while the Vikings are responsible for the flow and overall environment. Games like this typically play competitively throughout, which falls in line with what we’ve seen from the Vikings this year.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Alex88 >>
- 49.5 Vegas total ranks 4th highest in Week 9
- BAL’s implied total of 27.5 ranks 6th
- MIN ranks 5th in adjusted seconds per play (28.4), per numberFire
- BAL ranks 27th (31.6)
- In adjusted passing rate, BAL ranks 31st
- MIN ranks 18th
- Cousins ranks 5th in PFF passing grade
- He ranks 19th in YPA and 33rd in ADoT
- He’s averaging 27 completions on 39 attempts, 279 yards, 2 TDs, and 0.3 INTs
- DK log: 25.04 // 25.26 // 28.12 // 11.12 // 14.4 // 31.52 // 13.16
- His salary on DK has remained within $6,200-6,500
- In 17 games as a road dog for MIN, Cousins averages 16.31 DK ppg (-2.25 his salary based expectation)
- BAL ranks 20th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (21.1)
MIN Passing Attack
- MIN utilizes 11 personnel at a 45% rate (league average is 59%), 12 personnel at a 14% rate (league average is 22%), and 21 personnel at a 17% rate (league average is 7%)
- Snap share: Adam Thielen 96.7% // Justin Jefferson 86.8% // Tyler Conklin 78.5% // KJ Osborn 62%
- Target share: Jefferson 22.8% // Thielen 21.4% // Osborn 13.8% // Conklin 13.4%
- Among all WRs, Jefferson ranks 16th in air yards, 18th in target share, 9th in air yard market share, and 13th in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
- Jefferson’s DK log: 12.54 // 18.5 // 29.8 // 22.4 // 15 // 4.1 (missed time due to injury)
- His 17.5 DK ppg ranks 17th among all WRs
- Thielen and Jefferson are tied in red zone targets, but Thielen leads 8 to 3 in receptions and 5 to 3 in TDs
- Thielen’s DK log: 30.2 // 15.9 // 17 // 7.6 // 6 // 32.8 // 19.8
- His 18.5 DK ppg ranks 12th among all WRs
- Osborn’s DK log: 14.6 // 20.1 // 4.6 // 6.6 // 4.4 // 19.8 // 3
- BAL ranks 13th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (37.4)
- Conklin ranks 12th among all TEs in target share
- Conklin’s DK log: 8.1 // 3.5 // 20 // 5.8 // 4.5 // 10.1 // 10.7
- BAL ranks 32nd in DK ppg allowed to TEs (21.2)
- Cook ranks 3rd in rush share, 14th in goal line share, and 10th in RBOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
- His 22 touches per game rank 5th at the position
- DK log: 21.4 // 19.8 // 6.4 // 25.3 // 7.8
- In 17 career games as a road dog, Cook averages 20.19 DK ppg (+2.72 his salary based expectation of 17.47)
- BAL ranks 26th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (28)
- Lamar ranks 11th in PFF passing grade
- He’s 5th in YPA and 1st in ADoT
- DK log: 20 // 37.26 // 20.28 // 22.44 // 45.88 // 13.78 // 23.08
- His 26.1 DK ppg ranks 3rd at the QB position
- As a home favorite, Lamar averages 25.55 DK ppg (+3.91 his salary based expectation of 21.64)
- MIN ranks 9th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (18.6)
- Opposing QBs DK log: Joe Burrow 18.64 // Kyler Murray 38.1 // Russell Wilson 16.62 // Baker Mayfield 9.3 // Jared Goff 8.12 // Sam Darnold 17.08 // Cooper Rush 22.2
BAL Passing Attack
- BAL uses 11 personnel at 37% (league average is 59%), 12 personnel at 4% (22%), 21 personnel at 29% (7%), and 22 personnel at 18% (3%)
- Snap share: Marquise Brown 74.7% // Mark Andrews 70.8% // Rashod Bateman 64.1% // Devin Duvernay 56.3% // Sammy Watkins 50%
- Target share: Marquise 24.2% // Andrews 21.6% // Sammy 13.6% // Duvernay 8.1% // Bateman 5.1%
- Among all WRs, Marquise ranks 2nd in air yards (with only 7 games played), 16th in target share, 13th in air yard market share, and 15th in WOPR
- His DK log: 19.4 // 26.3 // 8.3 // 19.1 // 36.5 // 7.5 // 19
- His 19.4 DK ppg ranks 8th at the WR position
- No other BAL WR averages double-digit DK points
- Bateman immediately stepped into the WR 2 role, beginning with his debut in Week 6
- He had more targets than Marquise in Week 6 (6 to 5), and just one fewer than Andrews in Week 7 (6 to 7)
- His DK log: 6.9 // 11
- Sammy and Duvernay have yet to score 14+ DK pts this season
- MIN ranks 31st in DK ppg allowed to WRs (45)
- Among all TEs, Andrews ranks 4th in air yards, 3rd in target share, 6th in air yard market share, and 4th in WOPR
- His DK log: 5 // 10.7 // 18.9 // 11.7 // 44.7 // 17.8 // 7.8
- His 16.7 DK ppg ranks 2nd (0.1 behind Kelce)
- In 26 career games as a home favorite, Andrews averages 13.32 DK ppg (+3.57 his salary based expectation)
- MIN ranks 7th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (9)
- Notable opposing TEs DK log: Maxx Williams 16.4 // Gerald Everett 10.4 // TJ Hockenson 4.2 // Dalton Schultz 3.1
- Other opposing TEs include Cleveland and Carolina
- Snaps in Week 7 without Latavius Murray: Devonta Freeman 29 // Le’Veon Bell 22 // Ty’Son Williams 21
- Targets: Freeman 3 // Bell 2 // Williams 2
- Touches: Freeman 7 // Bell 6 // Williams 4
- No BAL RB has scored 20+ DK pts this season
- The highest total came from Williams in Week 1’s overtime game against LV (18.4)
- Otherwise no RB has even hit 15 DK pts
- MIN ranks 14th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (23.6)