Chargers at Ravens (-2.5) 41.5
- Run stuffer, teams running 18 percent more when he is on the field
- Run success rate improves five percent when he is off the field.
- Keenan Allen’s target share when Ekeler is off the field 29 percent compared to 25 percent with him on the field
- Mike Williams gets a four percent target share bump
- Phillip Rivers aDot jumps from 7.23 to 8.66 with no Ekeler (more shots down the field), but his YPA drops from 8.97 to 8.19 (less efficient)
- Only missed 27 snaps this season, elite All-Pro level guard.
- Nickelback, Ravens have been more effective with him off the field this year.
In a must-win game against the Browns, Lamar Jackson ran the ball 20 times. He has yet to complete more than 14 passes in a game this season. He offers a tremendous rushing floor, but lacks the passing ceiling. You will need him to score multiple rushing touchdowns to pay off his price in GPPs, but is a solid cash play. Jackson isnt a complex DFS breakdown and as long as he is in the playoffs the theme will be the same. He is going to run a lot, and it creates a tremendous weekly floor.
It is tough to make an argument for playing Phillip Rivers, who has scored single-digit points in both of his last two games, including a 5.34 clunker last game versus the Ravens. The Ravens are averaging 43.7 rushing plays per game in the last three. They are killing the clock and keeping offenses off the field, and when you combine that with an elite defense, Rivers is an avoid in all formats for me.
I can’t make an argument for him at 7,200 on FanDuel, he may be the most mispriced players on the entire slate. At 4,200, he is in play in GPPs on DraftKings, as he should play between 40-50 percent of the snaps and touch the ball between 12-15 times. He has no pass catching upside and will need to get in the endzone and break 100 yards to pay off his price tag. He is a fringe play.
After out snapping Gus Edwards for two straight weeks, Dixon played only 29 percent of the snaps in Week 17. He saw 12 carries for 117 yards and is clearly the more talented back of the two. Dixon has long battled suspensions and injury, but finally healthy, Dixon comes in as a better cheaper option to Edwards. The Chargers biggest weakness against backs is through the air, giving up 8.38 targets and 60.81 yards per game to backs. ith Dixon more likely to see receiving work, Dixon is the only Raven back on my radar.
Simply doesn’t play enough, isn’t highly enough involved, and despite it being a good matchup for pass catching backs, he is still second to Dixon on that totem pole.
This is a tough matchup for Gordon, who, before his injury, was arguably the second most consistent back in the NFL behind Todd Gurley. The Ravens are a nightmare of a matchup, not only is their defense limiting opposing backfield to just 27.94 receiving yards per game and 3.75 yards per carry, but their offense makes it so difficult to get the desired volume with their clock burning drives. Since his return from injury, he has not topped 70 percent of snaps after averaging playing over 75 percent of possible snaps prior to his injuries. All of these reasons not to play Melvin Gordon are legitimate, the reason to play him is leverage on the field. Gordon is talented enough and will be heavily enough featured that he can make value. Gordon will be the lowest owned stud on the slate and should be mixed into GPPs.
With the Ravens ability to take away pass catching backs, Justin Jackson’s emergence and Ekeler’s health issues, I will be passing on him in this slate.
I simply cannot do it. Jackson has not completed more than 14 passes in a game since he has become a starter. No receiver has seen higher than a 20 percent target share. The offense is low volume and spread out. It is a full fade situation for me.
While people will fade Allen because of the tough matchup, I will be attacking Allen at his price as an excellent GPP play. As the lowest owned stud GPP play, projected behind Hilton, Hopkins, and Amari Cooper in ownership by FanShare. The Ravens allow 25 percent of the targets against them to go to opposing WR1s this season, that is the highest clip of any team in the NFL. Allen has a locked up role in the offense, seeing 27 percent of the targets and 35 percent of the air yards the last four weeks, and has only scored single digit points once this entire season! His 6,800 price tag on DraftKings is the second cheapest he has been all season and his double-digit floor, slate-breaking ceiling, and leverage he provides on the field is too good to pass up. With the field projected to have 25 percent Allen, in MME, I would want to at least double that.
The return of Hunter Henry could have a major impact on Mike Williams. While Henry will be limited to a package of plays, they will likely be in the red zone. Williams is a touchdown dependent player who hasn’t broken 100 yards in a game this season, but finished with 10 touchdowns. In as tough of a matchup as he could could have on the outside, with lower touchdown equity, Williams is a fade for me.
You are hoping for a long bomb from Williams who simply doesnt have the projectable volume with Allen and Williams in the lineup to be in consideration. His numbers in his last four games are inflated by Allen’s injury against the Chiefs, seeing 12 targets. Outside of that game, he has just 11 targets in his last five games. Outside of a dart throw in 150 max, he is a fade.
People are going to go box score chasing with Andrews after he had 83 yards and a touchdown versus the Chargers two weeks ago. He had a 68-yard reception, and that is very unlikely to happen again. He would be in play at near minimum price, but on such a low volume offense with a five-target ceiling, he is a fade for me.
He is becoming more popular because people respect his talent. He is bouncing back quickly from an ACL injury and is a legit question mark. He will be on a snap count and will have a package of plays designed for him. Tight end is the way you attack the Ravens, as 18 percent of the targets against them go to tight ends. Look for the plays Henry is on the field for him to be schemed to get the football, especially around the Goaline. He is a risk and if you want to play Henry, it is important to leave at least 200 in salary leftover, so if he is ruled out you can pivot to Gates or Goedert.
The Ravens want to win this game with their run game and defense and their defense is good enough to do it. They dominated the Charges last game, allowing less than 200 yards, forcing three turnovers, and getting four sacks. With the Bears set to be chalk and the Ravens projected at sub 10 percent ownership, they are a good GPP pivot off the Bears defense.
If you think the Chargers win this game, you should have an interest in the Chargers defense. They have an elite edge pairing, with a great secondary. If they can slow down the Ravens run game, take an early lead, and force Lamar to throw they could force turnovers and get sacks in bunches.
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.