Kickoff: Thursday, November 16th @ 8:15 PM ET
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Betting Odds: BLT -3.5, 46 total via PFF.com
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ on Twitter/X)
Joe Burrow (Start, QB1)
It took us a while to get here, but we’re finally blessed with what should be a competitive Thursday Night Football game. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a loss in a thriller against the Houston Texans, but Burrow’s fantasy output was more than respectable. He completed 27 of 40 attempts, finishing with 347 yards, two touchdowns, and two costly interceptions in the 4th quarter, as well as five rushes for 20 yards. That’s back-to-back games with at least 345 yards and two scores. Next, he’ll take on a Ravens defense that is allowing the fewest amount of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the season, per CBS Sports. However, Burrow has shaken off early-season struggles so he should produce high-end fantasy numbers just about every week, even in matchups like this one.
Joe Mixon (Start, RB2)
Make it three games in a row with a rushing touchdown for Joe Mixon. He turned 11 carries into 46 yards and a score, so finding the end zone ultimately saved his fantasy day. Mixon has yet to surpass the 100-yard mark on the ground at any point this season. His highest total so far was in Week 8 against the San Franciso 49ers, when he racked up 87 yards. The Ravens allowed 139 yards on the ground last week between Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt, so it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Mixon post one of his better games of the season. More likely, we can expect Mixon to finish in the RB2 range.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Ja’Marr Chase (Start, WR1), Tyler Boyd (Start, FLEX), Trenton Irwin (Start if you must, FLEX), Irv Smith Jr. (Sit)
Back issues be damned. Ja’Marr Chase chased away any pregame fear that he wouldn’t be able to suit up and had a day against the Texans. Catching five of six targets, he totaled 124 yards and a touchdown. It doesn’t appear he tweaked the injury, which will bode well for him on a short week against the Ravens this Thursday night.
On Monday, Adam Schefter reported that Tee Higgins is not expected to suit up this week with his hamstring injury.
On a short week with a Thursday night game vs. the Ravens in Baltimore, it’s considered unlikely that Bengals’ WR Tee Higgins will be able to return from his hamstring injury, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2023
This leaves room for Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin to both offer FLEX appeal. Against Houston, Boyd caught eight of 12 targets for 117 yards. Irwin was only targeted four times, but two of his receptions went for a total of 54 yards and a touchdown in the game’s opening possession. The preference is to side with Boyd, but if you are in a bye week bind, Irwin can be a viable streaming option.
Irv Smith Jr. doesn’t offer fantasy appeal. Pass.
Lamar Jackson (Start, QB2)
It’s not often we project Lamar Jackson to finish as a QB2, but here we are. In a game in which the Ravens blew a double-digit lead to the Browns, Jackson completed 13 of 23 attempts for 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions; he added 41 yards off eight carries, as well. Since Week 8, he has only thrown two passing touchdowns. His last multi-touchdown game was back in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions, when he threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals may offer a chance for a bounce-back, but right now the Ravens are seemingly winning games in other ways, so brace for Jackson not to pop off the way we’ve seen him do plenty in the past.
Gus Edwards (Start, RB2), Keaton Mitchell (Start, FLEX), Justice Hill (Sit)
Finding the end zone ultimately saved rookie Keaton Mitchell’s fantasy day, and we’ll take a 39-yard touchdown run any chance we can get. Mitchell only had three carries total and finished with 34 yards on the ground; he added one reception on two targets for 32 yards. He has played himself into a viable FLEX role in fantasy lineups, and that should remain the case again this week.
Reminder: because it’s a TNF game, don’t actually put Mitchell into your FLEX slot if you plan to start him!
Gus Edwards turned his 11 carries into 24 yards and a touchdown, so it’s clear the Ravens prefer to lean on him for the majority of the carries…even though Mitchell is the more explosive runner.
Justice Hill has taken a back seat thanks to the recent emergence of Mitchell. He is now a non-factor in fantasy.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Zay Flowers (Start, WR3), Odell Beckham Jr. (Sit), Mark Andrews (Start, TE1), Rashod Bateman (Sit), Nelson Agholor (Sit)
Rookie Zay Flowers led the way against Cleveland last week, catching five of six targets for 73 yards. He’s still the best option in comparison to the likes of Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor and will remain on the WR3 radar.
Despite finding the end zone for a second week in a row, Odell Beckham Jr.‘s lone catch against his former team was the touchdown; he had a total of just two targets on the day. Until he can consistently string together a steady target share and output, Beckham is best left on your bench with this game being played on Thursday night.
Tight end Mark Andrews is coming off his quietest game of the season in which he had just two catches on four targets for 44 scoreless yards. Again, it was a rather down week overall for the Baltimore pass game, and Andrews has a chance to bounce back against a Cincinnati defense allowing the second most fantasy points to tight ends on the year. Expect a Top 3 finish from Baltimore’s stud tight end.