Kickoff: Sunday, October 4th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Washington D.C.
Betting Odds: BAL -13, 47 Total via Oddsshark
Lamar Jackson (Start, QB1)
I really hope that you didn’t come to this article to see if you should be starting Lamar Jackson or not. Of course, you should be starting him. While his point totals against the Texans and the Chiefs weren’t quite up to what you were hoping, Jackson is always capable of explosive games where he scores multiple times through the air and on the ground. He hasn’t found the end zone with his legs yet this year, but he’s already racked up 182 rushing yards on 32 attempts, and he’s always capable of it any given week. I’m starting him without any hesitation, and you should too.
Mark Ingram II (Sit), J.K. Dobbins (Sit), Gus Edwards (Sit)
I wish I could advise starting any of these Ravens running backs, as Baltimore likes to run the ball and they have one of the best offenses in the league. The problem is, there’s no telling which one you can rely on. Through three games, Mark Ingram II has led the way with 26 carries, but that total ranks him at 36th in the NFL. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards have been heavily involved as well, with Edwards getting 18 carries and Dobbins getting 15 total touches (10 carries and 5 receptions). And if that wasn’t enough, Jackson has had 23 designed running plays this season, which is 2nd among all quarterbacks behind only Cam Newton. There’s just too many players involved and not enough volume to let them all eat. If you don’t have any better options, any one of these three is startable as a touchdown-dependent flex, but their floors are all too low for me to recommend starting them.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Marquise Brown (Start, WR2), Miles Boykin (Sit), Willie Snead IV (Sit), Mark Andrews (Start, TE1)
Even in a week where the Ravens were trailing for most of the game, their passing attack still wasn’t high-volume and they did not target the wide receivers much, which is to be expected in this offense. With Jackson only throwing the ball 28 times in a loss, we can’t really expect him to throw it more than that at any point this year, and that means anyone outside of Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are just not going to be viable. Brown is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game, so even with his lower-than-average volume for where he’s ranked at WR, he is always capable of making the most out of each target.
As for Andrews, on top of being one of the better tight ends in the league, the Ravens are facing a Washington Football Team that isn’t great against tight ends. They are 6th in points allowed to tight ends this year, including being 10th in receptions allowed and 12th in yards allowed. The Ravens should be able to score a bunch against Washington, and Andrews should factor into that this week. I have no hesitations rolling him or Brown out there this week.
Washington Football Team
Dwayne Haskins (Sit)
Sitting Dwayne Haskins is as easy of a decision as starting Lamar Jackson is. This may be Haskins last start too, as head coach Ron Rivera said that the rest of the team deserved better, and basically pointed the finger right at Haskins without coming out and saying it. Haskins has been very inaccurate, and this Baltimore defense has been as tough as they come. While they got lit up by Patrick Mahomes (no shame in that), they held Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson to their lowest point totals of the season. Even if you are in a 2QB league, you can find better than Haskins.
Antonio Gibson (Sit), J.D. McKissic (Sit), Peyton Barber (Sit)
While Antonio Gibson does lead the team in rushing attempts with 31, his volume is still limited as he received just 42% of the designed rushing attempts last week against Cleveland. J.D. McKissic is still outpacing him in the snap count, so even if Gibson’s volume keeps trending in the right direction, it’s hard to imagine him getting enough volume to be more than a touchdown-dependent running back. And in those instances, I’d rather start someone who’s not playing against the Baltimore defense, which has held opposing running backs to the 4th-fewest points per game this season. McKissic is getting some work in the passing game but he’s also not being featured in this offense, and Peyton Barber has been virtually nonexistent these past two weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR2), Dontrelle Inman (Sit), Logan Thomas (Start, TE1)
I know what I said about Haskins above, but even the worst quarterbacks can still keep a receiver or two afloat. Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas have been getting all the volume they can handle, combining for 49 targets out of Haskins 101 pass attempts. Thanks to that volume, McLaurin has been racking up the yardage, averaging almost 90 yards per game to go with 5 receptions per game, giving him a solid baseline of 14 PPR points per week without factoring in touchdowns. He may not find the end zone again this week, but he’s got a good floor thanks to the volume. The same can almost be said for Thomas, but he has yet to be able to turn his massive target share into lots of yardage. Part of the problem is that Haskins has been pretty inaccurate with him, so if Thomas can get a few more catchable balls, he could certainly have a big game. The Ravens are actually not great against tight ends, allowing the 5th-most points to the position this year, and while some of that was facing Travis Kelce last week, they also gave up 9 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown to Jordan Akins and Darren Fells combined two weeks ago. And while Dontrelle Inman did score two touchdowns last week (and both of them coming in the red zone), nothing he did was all that impressive and I can’t trust Haskins to do that again.
-Myles Nelson (@MylesNelsonPL on Twitter)