Dolphins @ Ravens
Final Score: Dolphins 42, Ravens 38
Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)
If you have Dolphins, Ravens or both in your fantasy lineup you probably had a pretty good week.
A lot of fantasy goodness to unpack in this matchup as the Ravens snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, allowing the Dolphins 28 fourth-quarter points to steal away the 42-38 victory on the road. The Dolphins beat the Ravens in Baltimore for the first time since 1997, and did it on the backs of Tua Tagavailoa, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ offense looked outstanding as well, with Lamar Jackson looking sharp with his arm and fast on his feet.
Baltimore’s defense looked as porous in the passing game as it did in 2021 when they ranked 26th among all fantasy DSTs and allowed a league-high 278.9 passing yards per game, but still managed to salvage a decent score with a special teams score. Meanwhile the Dolphins defense didn’t look much better, allowing Lamar Jackson and company to do whatever they pleased for three quarters until the Ravens took the foot off the gas in the fourth.
Let’s dig in.
Tua Tagavailoa: 36/50, 469 Yards, 6 TD, 2 INT | 1 Carry, 1 Yard
Tua Tagavailoa recorded 18% of his career passing touchdowns in this game, throwing a career-best six touchdowns, including four in the fourth quarter, to complete the Dolphins comeback and improve Miami to 2-0 for the first time since 2018 (when they finished 7-9). Tagavailoa had a couple of misses, including a pair of interceptions.
The first pick, Tua tried to force a ball into Tyreek Hill in a tight window, staring his receiver down long enough for Ravens safety Marcus Williams to get a read on it, undercut the route and snag a tip-drill pick.
Tua’s second pick was a bizarre choice, throwing a long ball into the teeth of the Ravens’ secondary. Williams came down with it, tapping his toes just inside the sideline for his second pick of the day.
From that point on, Tua was excellent, going 24-for-30 in the second half, including five of his six touchdowns. He capitalized on the Ravens’ soft secondary and punished them for their miscues finding wide open receivers time and time again to complete the 21-point fourth-quarter comeback.
It was a career game for Tua, and could potentially shift the narrative of his career as well.
Chase Edmonds: 5 Carries, 33 Yards | 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 8 Yards
Raheem Mostert: 11 Carries, 51 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 28 Yards
Alec Ingold: 1 Carry, 1 Yard | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards
To the surprise (and chagrin) of Chase Edmonds fantasy managers, Raheem Mostert took the first four carries for the Dolphins and ended up out-touching his running back counterpart on the day. Mostert accounted for 11 of the Dolphins 18 carries while Edmonds managed just five. Most notable is that Mostert and Edmonds each had three targets, with Mostert pulling in three receptions and Edmonds handling just one.
Most of Edmonds’ yardage came on one broken run in the fourth quarter, as he scampered for 28 of his 33 rushing yards on that one play. One bright spot for Edmonds managers was that the pass-catching back was the running back of choice down the stretch, which may indicate that he is still trusted more in high-leverage situations.
The touch distribution here may have been gameplan specific, with Mike McDaniel realizing that the Ravens’ rushing defense is strongest up the middle with defensive lineman like Calais Campbell and company holding things up. A number of Mostert’s rushes were around the outside, where the running back could utilize his above-average speed to get around the corner.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tyreek Hill: 13 Targets, 11 Receptions, 190 Yards, 2 TD
Jaylen Waddle: 19 Targets, 11 Receptions, 171 Yards, 2 TD
Mike Gesicki: 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 41 Yards, TD
Trent Sherfield: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 9 Yards
Durham Smythe: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 5 Yards
River Cracraft: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 2 Yards, TD
Mike McDaniel has done an excellent job of putting his playmakers in position to make plays, drawing up a number of different looks specifically for Waddle and Hill in open field. The dynamic Dolphins duo became the first pair of wide receivers to each record at least 40 fantasy points since the 1954 season.
Jaylen Waddle was most dangerous on short and intermediate routes, snagging most of his receptions on quick-hitters, including a well-designed tunnel screen that he took into the end zone. Hill motioned away from the action, drawing defenders away to allow Miami blockers to man-up each defender and clear a path for Waddle.
Hill, on the other hand, did his damage over the top, capitalizing on what appeared to be a pair of defensive miscommunications in the Ravens’ secondary for a pair of long scores. Hill’s first touchdown catch looked to be a blitz that left cornerback Marcus Peters in man-to-man against the Cheetah with safety Kyle Hamilton helping over the top. Hill bursted past Peters and Hamilton didn’t recover in time, and even though the pass was underthrown, the speedy Dolphins receiver made the play and scored.
Hill’s second touchdown came on a complete breakdown. Baltimore lined up with eight men in the box, showing a blitz-heavy look while leaving their cornerbacks alone. Though the Ravens backed out of the blitz, the dropping safeties were far too late getting to Hill’s fly route as Ravens’ cornerback Jaylyn Armour-Davis just let him run by.
Mike Gesicki showed signs of life as he got more involved in the offense than in week one when he had just one catch for one yard. Gesicki caught all four of his targets for 41 yards, including an incredible catch in the back of the end zone on a ball that Tua might have just been throwing away.
River Cracraft added a touchdown on a play action look where Tua extended the play and found the open man through his progression, though the play certainly wasn’t designed specifically for Cracraft.
Though Hill has outpaced Waddle through two weeks as far as fantasy points go, I still contend that Waddle is Tua’s go-to ALPHA wide receiver. Waddle was nursing an injury coming into week one, which may have factored into his usage numbers compared to Hill. However, coming into week two fully healthy, Waddle showed just how much of a target hog he can be.
Lamar Jackson: 21/29, 318 Yards, 3 TD | 9 Carries, 119 Yards, TD
Lamar Jackson did everything he could to win this game, and frankly the Ravens offense deserved the victory. He was well-protected and had a clean pocket for most of his throws, which he delivered beautifully on several occasions. He was also his team’s best running back, finishing with 119 yards rushing, including a 79-yard touchdown rush on a designed quarterback keeper.
Jackson was outstanding throwing the ball, hitting his receivers in tight windows and putting them in position to make big plays. Perhaps his best throw was when he threaded the needle on a seam route to Mark Andrews. Ruled a touchdown on the field, it was marked down at the half-yard line upon review, but Lamar put this one on a rope. Throws like this one are what propelled him to his MVP season in 2019.
In typical Baltimore fashion, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman became extremely conservative with his play calling once the birds had a large lead. Except in this case, since the Ravens struggled to get the run game going outside of Lamar’s big play, it came back to bite them as they sustained just one drive (out of six) of more than five plays in the second half.
Kenyan Drake: 6 Carries, 8 Yards
Mike Davis: 5 Carries, 4 Yards
Justice Hill: 3 Carries, 16 yards
The Ravens miss J.K. Dobbins.
Kenyan Drake, Mike Davis and Justice Hill combined for just 25 yards rushing on nine carries. Patrick Ricard was the Ravens’ most effective running back, carrying once for five yards. Hill showed a little bit of spark out the backfield, popping off for a 13-yard carry, but that was the highlight of the day for the Ravens’ running back room.
It’s a mess. Even in the deepest leagues, all three active running backs are worthy of being dropped for a more favorable RBBC situation. And when Dobbins comes back healthy, he should be the undisputed top dog in this backfield (though Lamar may still be the functional RB1 for the rest of the year).
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Rashod Bateman: 7 Targets, 4 Receptions, 108 Yards, TD
Mark Andrews: 1 Carry, 3 Yards | 11 Targets, 9 Receptions, 104 Yards, TD
Isaiah Likely: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 43 Yards
Devin Duvernay: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 42 Yards | KRTD
DeMarcus Robinson: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 12 Yards, TD
Tylan Wallace: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards
This game was so exciting that by the time it was over, viewers probably forgot that Devin Duvernay returned the opening kickoff for 103 yards and a touchdown.
For the second week in a row, Rashod Bateman scored on a long touchdown catch. This week, he did most of the work on his own, catching a short slant and scooting past the defensive back for over 60 yards after the catch to find the end zone. The Ravens continue to scheme Bateman looks and he continues to capitalize. He is the clear WR1 in this offense, despite Duvernay’s two-touchdown performance in week one.
In addition to Bateman, Mark Andrews posted another top-tier tight end stat line, pulling in nine catches for 104 yards and a score. Andrews continues to be Jackson’s favorite and most reliable target.
An interesting wrinkle in the Ravens’ week two offensive performance was the designed looks for rookie tight end Isaiah Likely. According to Nathan Jahnke at PFF.com, Likely ran just eight routes but was targeted on five of them, pulling in four catches for 43 yards. The Ravens continue to integrate Likely into the offense, using him both in place of and beside Andrews in the offense. He could be a sneaky pickup in deeper leagues if he’s still available.