Kickoff: Sunday, November 8th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Betting Odds: BAL -2.5, 47 total via Oddsshark
Lamar Jackson (start, QB1)
I know that Lamar Jackson has been underwhelming so far this year. In fact, he’s been QB14 in six points per passing TD leagues, so there’s no doubt he’s been disappointing considering he was being drafted as the QB1 or QB2 in most leagues. However, he’s still running, which gives him a better floor than pretty much any other QB in the league, and with Mark Ingram II out for another week, I fully expect Jackson to get a ton of work in the running game like he did this past week. While the Colts have a fantastic defense, so did the Steelers, and that didn’t stop Jackson from racking up 65 yards on the ground and two touchdowns through the air. He just needs to keep his turnovers under control, and he can easily return to being a top-5 quarterback.
J.K. Dobbins (start, RB2), Gus Edwards (start, RB2/flex), Mark Ingram II (sit)
With Mark Ingram II not practicing on Wednesday, and the nature of high-ankle sprain injuries, it should be safe to assume that he’s not playing on Sunday. I will say, if Ingram can play, then all three of them become sits for me. The Ravens rotate the ball around too much for three running backs to be fantasy-viable. But with just two in tow, I don’t see why they can’t replicate last week’s performance against one of the best run defenses in the league. J.K. Dobbins is an exciting talent and it’s good to finally see him unleashed, and while Gus Edwards isn’t going to wow anyone with his athleticism, the Ravens know how to run the ball and Edwards gets a lot of high-value touches in that offense. I’d happily start both of them this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Marquise Brown (sit), Willie Snead IV (sit), Mark Andrews (start, TE1)
The Colts are a top-10 defense in sack percentage and passing yards per attempt allowed, which is not a recipe for success for Marquise Brown, who is mostly used as a deep-ball threat. We saw this last week with the Steelers, if Lamar Jackson doesn’t have plenty of time to let Brown get downfield, he’s not going to throw him the ball, only getting him two targets last week. While Jackson did say that he’s responsible for that and he needs to get Brown more targets, that doesn’t guarantee it will work out on the field. I don’t think Indianapolis will let Brown shake loose that easy, and Jackson will have a hard time staying with the play long enough to find him open downfield.
Willie Snead IV was the main beneficiary last week of Jackson having to throw shorter passes, and that could work again this week, but that still felt flukey and I don’t really want to start a low-upside WR option on an offense that has struggled to pass the ball. While I don’t think Snead is the worst play you could make this week, I think there are plenty of better options.
While I’m not really any higher on Mark Andrews than I am on Brown, the bar for success at tight end is much lower. Andrews is one of the most targeted players in the red-zone and end-zone, period, and that gives him a huge touchdown upside. You can’t afford to not start Andrews.
Philip Rivers (sit)
Philip Rivers has shown signs of life the past two games, scoring over 22 points against both the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league, more on par with that of the Chicago Bears, who held Rivers to just 11 points. Just don’t start Rivers.
Jonathan Taylor (start, RB2/flex), Jordan Wilkins (start, flex), Nyheim Hines (start, flex)
This is one messy situation after this past Sunday, when Jordan Wilkins out-carried Jonathan Taylor 20-14, completely flipping the script on what we expected from this backfield. The coaching staff does not seem happy with the way Taylor has been playing, but with the draft capital they spent on him and the clear talent that he does possess, I have a hard time believing they are just going to bench him. I expect to see all three running backs involved this week, as the Colts do rely heavily on the run. If they get down, with the way Baltimore pressures the QB, I expect to see a lot of dump-offs to Nyheim Hines, making him a solid option in PPR leagues. I would personally prefer to stay away from the Taylor/Wilkins mess, but running back, in general, is just a mess this week, so you probably won’t have better options.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
T.Y. Hilton (sit), Michael Pittman Jr. (sit), Zach Pascal (sit), Trey Burton (sit), Jack Doyle (sit), Mo Alie-Cox (sit)
Don’t do it. Just don’t. The Ravens defense is 2nd in the league in passing yards allowed per attempt, 9th in PPR scoring for opposing WRs. There’s not a single wide receiver on this team that has given you any kind of a reason to trust them. And before you ask about the tight ends, keep in mind that while Trey Burton did average essentially 5 targets per game from Weeks 4-6, he shared the TE volume with two other tight ends last week, receiving just 4 of the 11 tight end targets in Week 8, logging only 9 yards on those 4 targets. There’s no way to trust any single tight end on this Colts roster, and there’s definitely no way to trust any of the wide receivers.
-Myles Nelson (@MylesNelsonPL on Twitter)