Kickoff: Saturday, December 24 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: M & T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Betting Odds: BAL -7.5, 36.5 Total on Oddshark
Writer: Drew DeLuca (@DrewDeLaware on Twitter)
Desmond Ridder (Sit)
When Kyle Pitts returns next season and Drake London walks in with a year of experience under his belt, there may very well be weeks when Desmond Ridder is a viable fantasy starter. Until then, Ridder should remain on benches in virtually all fantasy leagues. For now, in Week 16, Arthur Smith and company clearly want to run the football as they have all season, and they’ll continue to do so in order to take pressure off of their rookie field general. Ridder does offer enough utility as a rusher to make low-end QB2 numbers a possibility, but the Falcons’ exceptionally low pass volume scares us off, especially when coupled with an extremely low implied point total. Ridder is a strong sit, so unlike the Falcons, we’ll pass.
Cordarelle Patterson (Start, Flex), Tyler Allgeier (Start, Flex), Avery Williams (Sit)
Cordarelle Patterson has compiled 60 or more total yards only twice in the past six games. His 122 snaps over the past four games lead all Falcons running backs, but Tyler Allgeier is close behind with 116. Patterson has earned exactly one more touch than Allgeier in each of the last two weeks but has been slightly outperformed by the latter of late. The small gap between the two widened a bit in Week 15.
Allgeier, a rookie out of BYU, racked up 142 total yards and a touchdown in Week 15 while Patterson, who likewise found the end zone, mustered only 52 yards. Allgeier has topped 50 rushing yards in four straight games. However, given his matchup against one of the three toughest defenses to opposing running backs, we can only recommend him as a FLEX option this week. Neither running back plays a large role in the passing game, but Patterson is more likely to draw a stray target or two. This makes him a viable FLEX option, as well.
Don’t waste your time with Avery Williams. We’re sorry we wasted yours by merely mentioning his name. We just wanted to mention that he’ll get a slight bump in playing time as a result of the unfortunate, season-ending Achilles injury suffered by Caleb Huntley. On to the pass catchers we go.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Drake London (Start, WR3), Olamide Zaccheaus (Sit), Damiere Byrd (Sit), Parker Hesse (Sit), MyCole Pruitt (Sit), Anthony Firkser (Sit)
Through Week 15, Drake London currently ranks fifth among all pass catchers in targets per routes run. Over the past two games, London has notched 13 receptions, exactly half of the total of catches tallied by all Falcons tight ends. wide receivers and running backs combined. In a better situation, London would be in the WR1 conversation, given this kind of usage. One problem: the Falcons are averaging only 23.3 pass attempts per game.
Only the Bears (21.5 per game) are letting it fly through the air less often, a team that at last check was on pace to finish with the lowest total of pass attempts by any NFL team since 2000. Nevertheless, London’s role as a target hog makes him a viable starter in just about every fantasy league as a WR3 or FLEX option with upside for more.
As a feast-or-famine WR3 on a low-volume passing offense, Damiere Byrd is good for one or two wildly unpredictable high fantasy totals in a season. Unfortunately, he reached his quota in Week 8 after finishing as a Top 12 wide receiver in two consecutive weeks. In the six games since, he has caught a total of six passes on just nine targets. Nope. Not for us.
Meanwhile, let’s keep it real for a second: any team that’s thinking about sliding Olamide Zaccheaus into his/her fantasy lineup is probably in the consolation bracket, playing for pride. Zaccheaus has topped 35 yards in a game only once since Week 6 and offers a ceiling lower than a mouse’s doll house.
Meanwhile, Parker Hesse, MyCole Pruitt, and Anthony Firkser form arguably the league’s most uninspiring trio of tight ends. We’re struggling to envision any potential scenario in which a fantasy owner might be tempted to call upon their services in Week 16. Oh wait, we found one: a tanking dynasty team looking to fill out a lineup with cool names who are terrible fantasy options would be well-served to trot out MyCole Pruitt. That’s about it. No thanks.
Lamar Jackson (Start, QB1*), Tyler Huntley (Sit, QB2*)
Lamar Jackson is nearing a return from his PCL injury, so Tyler Huntley‘s three-week run as the Ravens’ interim starter will soon end. During that span, Huntley has been a bit of a disappointment from a fantasy perspective, finishing as the QB31 in fantasy points per game. If he does find himself under center against the Atlanta Falcons this weekend, he’ll score a plus matchup against the ninth-most generous defense against opposing fantasy quarterbacks. Huntley has averaged nearly 30 rushing yards per game of late but has yet to throw a touchdown pass in 2022. Sprinkle in a pair of interceptions, and we’re discouraged enough by his passing performance to look elsewhere, even in superflex and 2QB leagues. If Jackson gets the green light, we’ll plug him in with cautious optimism and expect low-end QB1 numbers.
JK Dobbins (Start, RB2), Gus Edwards (Sit), Justice Hill (Sit), Kenyan Drake (Sit), Patrick Ricard (Sit)
JK Dobbins is officially back. The Ravens wasted no time in giving Dobbins a fairly heavy workload in his first two games back from a seven-week, injury-related absence. Despite playing only 43 and 38 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps over the past two weeks, Dobbins handled 15 and 14 touches while finishing as the RB5 and RB17, respectively. The Falcons’ defense has been slightly below average in terms of shutting down opposing running backs, and with the Ravens in a dogfight for playoff position, we expect Dobbins to experience no impediments en route to his third straight finish as an RB3 or better.
Gus Edwards is the only other Ravens running back to warrant fantasy consideration this week, but given his lack of usage in the passing game, most in traditional 12-team PPR leagues will find better options on the waiver wire. Justice Hill out-snapped Edwards nearly two-to-one, yet Hill garnered only two touches while Edwards racked up 55 yards on seven carries. The only Ravens running backs who matter less in the Ravens’ rushing attack from a fantasy perspective are fullback Patrick Ricard and the perennially underwhelming Kenyan Drake, who was a healthy scratch in Week 15.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeMarcus Robinson (Sit), DeSean Jackson (Sit), James Proche (Sit), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Mark Andrews (Start, TE1), Isaiah Likely (Sit), Josh Oliver (Sit)
Devin Duvernay was placed on IR with a broken foot, effectively ending his season. Duvernay caught almost 79 percent of the targets thrown his way and was on the field for more snaps than any other Ravens wide receiver so far this season. DeMarcus Robinson, who shined in Week 11 (9-128-0 line) inherits the role of WR1 while DeSean Jackson replaces Duvernay in the starting lineup. Robinson is a serviceable flex option for those in deep PPR leagues that require three WRs and multiple FLEX options in the starting lineup. Those in traditional, 12-team PPR leagues likely have better options to choose from and should leave all Ravens wide receivers on the waiver wire.
James Proche should see a bump in snap share, routes run, and targets, but not enough to warrant an appearance in fantasy lineups this week. Sammy Watkins, a veteran depth piece who was just claimed off of waivers on Tuesday, is likewise a non-factor for fantasy purposes. After all, Baltimore’s offense runs through Mark Andrews, who remains an unquestioned top-three option at the position. Neither Josh Oliver nor Isaiah Likely offers any fantasy utility unless an unfortunate injury or illness bumps Andrews from his rightful place as the alpha target in this offense.