What We Saw: Ravens at Saints

Brett Ford recaps Monday night's matchup between the Ravens and Saints

Ravens @ Saints

Final Score: Ravens 27, Saints 13

Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)

 

The talk around the fantasy football sphere entering this game was more about the players that did NOT play in this game than those that did. Mark Andrews, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins and Rashod Bateman were all missing for the Ravens, while the Saints were without Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry.

The Saints offense struggled as Andy Dalton was pressured frequently by the revamped Baltimore defense. The additions of Roquan Smith (via trade) and Tyus Bowser (returning from injury) made the unit look like the Ravens of old – fast, aggressive and effective.  Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave weren’t enough to get the Saints’ offense rolling as the squad fell at home.

Let’s dig in.

 

Baltimore Ravens

 

Quarterback

 

Lamar Jackson: 12/22, 133 Yards, TD | 11 Carries, 82 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)

 

For the first time since the Patriots game in week three, it seemed like Lamar Jackson and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman were both at their best, and it showed. Jackson led the Ravens to a pair of long touchdown drives in the first half, completing 10-for-16 for 121 yards in the first half. In the second half, the Ravens relied much more heavily on the run. Of course, that meant Lamar was called into action as the Ravens’ RB1. He finished with 11 rushes for 82 yards, his third-highest single-game total of the year. He did have a small handful of weird wobbly balls come out, including a bad overthrow of an open Isaiah Likely.

Scoring only 17.5 fantasy points, Jackson has finished with fewer than 20 points in five of his last six contests. As the Ravens’ defense continues to improve, the likelihood of Baltimore being involved in shootouts gets less and less each week. Fantasy managers may want to consider flipping Lamar for another top-seven option if possible.

 

Running Back

 

Kenyan Drake: 24 Carries, 93 Yards, 2 TD | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 16 Yards

Justice Hill: 4 Carries, 11 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards

Mike Davis: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

 

No Edwards. No Dobbins. No Problem. Kenyan Drake looked like the guy who suited up for Arizona in 2020, punching in two touchdowns on goal line carries. Drake averaged over 5.0 yards per carry (8 carries, 45 yards) in the fourth quarter as the Ravens’ rushing attack wore down the New Orleans defense with nearly double the offensive time of possession as their opponent. Drake had 20 of the Ravens’ 28 running back touches on the evening (including Ricard) and is a borderline RB1 while Edwards is sidelined.

 

 

Justice Hill saw some time as a change of pace back while Mike Davis made a catch and Pat Ricard got a carry, but none of those names are fantasy relevant, even in the deepest leagues.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Isaiah Likely: 5 Targets, 1 Reception, 24 Yards, TD

James Proche II: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 22 Yards

Josh Oliver: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 19 Yards

DeSean Jackson: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 16 Yards

Demarcus Robinson: 4 Targets, 1 Reception, 12 Yards

Devin Duvernay: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 5 Yards

 

In the absence of the squad’s top two pass-catchers, the Ravens typically narrow touch distribution was anything but. Baltimore spread the ball around with 10 different players with at least one reception. DeMarcus Robinson led the Ravens’ wide receivers with four targets, but caught just one pass. “WR1” Devin Duvernay disappointed with just one catch for five yards on one target.

DeSean Jackson suited up for the Ravens for the first time and caught a 16-yard pass. He pulled in another 23-yarder on a nice back-shoulder throw on the sideline, but it was negated by a penalty. The Ravens might utilize him even more moving forward.

The only real hype surrounding a skill position player coming into this game belonged to Ravens rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, and he delivered early with a 24-yard touchdown catch. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman dialed up one of his most creative plays of the season, rolling Lamar right behind a cavalcade of blockers on what looked like a sweep. Meanwhile Likely leaked out from the opposite side for a deep crossing route, hauling the pass in for a score. Unfortunately for Likely truthers, that was his only reception of the night despite being targeted a team-high five times.

 

 

New Orleans Saints

 

Quarterback

 

Andy Dalton: 19/29, 210 Yards, TD, INT | 2 Carries, 5 Yards

 

Andy Dalton was productive on plays when he was well-protected. Unfortunately for him and the Saints, that was not very often. His first half performance was mostly dismal, with just 43 yards passing until the two-minute drill when he drove the Saints 60 yards (including 49 passing yards) before stalling out in the red zone. Dalton just missed Marquez Callaway on what would have been a wide open touchdown pass seconds before the halftime break.

 

 

In the second half, Dalton threw well when the pocket was clean. He had an up-and-down fourth quarter as he had a pass batted at the line and picked off by Justin Houston and then bounced back with a touchdown drive, including a 41-yard catch and run to Juwan Johnson.

Taysom Hill threw the ball one time… and it was one of the best throws of the night. Crisp, Clean, On target. Granted, he was well-protected and well-schemed, so take that with a grain of salt. It would be fascinating to see what would happen if the Saints tried the Hill experiment at quarterback just one more time, especially if Dalton continues to struggle.

 

Running Back

 

Alvin Kamara: 9 Carries, 30 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 32 Yards

Dwayne Washington: 3 Carries, 7 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

 

Alvin Kamara had a lot of things working against him in this one. The Ravens’ front seven was outstanding early, stalling out New Orleans’ offense quickly. The game script quickly got away from the Saints as they fell behind, 14-0, and never really had a chance to get the run game going after that. Kamara was targeted just four times in the passing game and was a disappointment to fantasy managers relying on the running back to win their week on a #MondayNightMiracle.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Chris Olave: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 71 Yards

Juwan Johnson: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 42 Yards, TD

Tre’Quan Smith: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 29 Yards

Marquez Callaway: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 24 Yards

Taysom Hill: 1/1, 13 Yards | 1 Carry, 6 Yards | 1 Target

Kevin White: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 10 Yards

Adam Trautman: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards

 

Speaking of a #MondayNightMiracle… Congratulations Juwan Johnson managers.

 

 

Chris Olave put on a clinic with his route-running, making all-pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey look pedestrian more often than not. He was really the only bright spot of the Saints receiving corps as he nearly doubled the next highest pass-catchers target total. Marquez Callaway was a fingertip away from a big night as Dalton just barely overthrew him while he was wide open in the end zone.

Taysom Hill had one carry, one target and one pass attempt. If you remove his incredible week five performance against Seattle, Hill is averaging just 6.1 fantasy points per week and is probably nothing more than a speculative stash in leagues where he is TE eligible in hopes of him getting a chance as a starting QB.

 

Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis

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