What We Saw: Week 4

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from Sunday's NFL action

 

Bills @ Ravens

Final Score: Bills 23, Ravens 20

Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)

 

This was an excellent football game, back and forth with both teams’ playmakers making plays that impacted the game. Most of the usual suspects looked fantastic, with both quarterbacks doing things that made the defenses look silly at times. The offensive numbers weren’t as gaudy as weeks prior for either Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen, but each led their team in rushing yards as the two offenses navigated soggy conditions in Baltimore.

The Ravens played a spectacular first half, with the defense (after looking pedestrian at best in each of the previous two weeks) stepping up to make plays and force turnovers that generated short fields for the Ravens’ offense and a couple of easy touchdown drives as Baltimore jumped out to a 20-3 lead.

It became very evident that Buffalo spent some time on their end-of-half scenarios this week in practice – because after botching the final seconds in each of the first and second halves last week in their loss at Miami, Buffalo came out and ran a near-perfect two-minute drill to end the first half, cutting the lead to 20-10 just before halftime.

The momentum carried over to the second half as the visitors came all the way back to tie the game in the third quarter.

In the end, Baltimore gambled and lost with a suspect decision to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the go-ahead field goal resulting in a turnover. Allen and the Bills took the ensuing drive 73 yards for a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Let’s dig in.

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

 

Josh Allen: 19/36, 213 Yards, TD, INT | 11 Carries, 70 Yards, TD, 1 Fumble (Recovered)

 

When 26.5 fantasy points is considered a “down week,” you are living good. Josh Allen began his day with an interception on his second passing attempt. Through the first 28 minutes of the game, Allen was just 5-for-13 with a passer rating of just 15.6.

 

 

And then all of the sudden, Josh Allen was Josh Allen again. The Bills got the ball with 1:38 to play in the first half and Allen completed six of nine attempts, driving his team 76 yards for a score, connecting with Isaiah McKenzie just before the halftime whistle to cut into the lead.

The weather may have contributed to his inflated rushing total, but Allen was the Bills’ leading rusher for the third time already this season, going for 70 yards, including an 11-yard score.

Bills beat writer Christian D’Andrea may have summed up the performance best: “Allen didn’t do anything especially notable, by his standards at least. He was simply Josh Allen long enough for the Ravens’ foundation to crack and crumble under his weight.”

 

Running Back

 

Devin Singletary: 11 Carries, 49 Yards | 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 47 Yards | 1 Fumble (Lost)

Zack Moss: 3 Carries, 6 Yards

James Cook: 1 Target

 

The Ravens have become one of the NFL’s most lopsided pass-funnel defenses with how above-average they have been against the run and even more so how woefully bad they’ve been against the pass. That said, Devin Singletary still toted the ball a team-high 11 times, gaining 49 yards on the ground, and added four catches for 47 yards on five targets. He overcame an early fumble to dominate the Bills’ running back opportunities.

In comparison, Zack Moss got three carries, and James Cook… well… he dressed for the game.

Cook’s time is coming. He’s been too good with the ball in his hands not to get more involvement. However, fantasy managers may have to wait until after the Bills return from the bye in week eight to really see him get involved.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Stefon Diggs: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 62 Yards

Isaiah McKenzie: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 21 Yards, TD

Dawson Knox: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 40 Yards

Jamison Crowder: 4 Targets, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

Gabriel Davis: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 13 Yards

Khalil Shakir: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 23 Yards

Quintin Morris: 1 Target

 

A slow day overall for the Bills’ receiving corps – the combination of early hiccups and weather really stymied the production of the entire unit. Isaiah McKenzie was the lone potential bright spot for fantasy managers who may have slotted him in the flex. McKenzie caught four balls on six targets for 21 yards and a score.

 

 

Gabriel Davis caught just one pass on three targets and looked as if the field conditions were potentially limiting him as he continues to nurse a nagging ankle injury. If Davis does suffer a setback and Jake Kumerow remains out, fantasy managers may want to keep Khalil Shakir on their radar. A rookie fifth-round draft pick out of Boise State, Shakir showed that he can make plays in the preseason, including some snaps with the first-team offense, and could be worth monitoring as a plug-and-play option if either Davis or Stefon Diggs are ever a late scratch.

 

Baltimore Ravens

 

Quarterback

 

Lamar Jackson: 20/29, 144 Yards, TD, 2 INT | 11 Carries, 73 Yards

 

Lamar Jackson was his typical enigmatic self, combining amazing plays with sloppy decision-making for a roller-coaster performance. He looked amazing in the first half, architecting a trio of scoring drives, including a 15-play, 81-yard touchdown drive to put the Ravens out in front. Then in the second half, he and the Ravens’ offense stalled, forced to punt on each of their first two drives. He threw an interception on a poor decision, skipping the ball off the helmet of a defensive lineman on Baltimore’s third drive of the second half, after Buffalo had already tied the game, 20-20.

 

 

Then on the Ravens’ final offensive possession of the game, Lamar looked amazing again. He made quick, efficient reads of the defense and found his receivers with good timing and rhythm as the Ravens drove 93 yards in 9:29, setting themselves up for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. On fourth and goal from the two-yard line, John Harbaugh made the inexplicable decision to go for six instead of turning to the best kicker in NFL history for the go-ahead field goal. Lamar had a chance to find Devin Duvernay in the back corner of the end zone but was forced into a late off-balance throw that got picked off instead.

 

 

Running Back

 

J.K. Dobbins: 13 Carries, 41 Yards, TD | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 22 Yards, TD

Justice Hill: 8 Carries, 45 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards

Patrick Ricard: 1 Carry, 3 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 17 Yards

 

Welcome back, J.K. Dobbins.

Yes, I know he played last week but this time out he was more heavily integrated by the Ravens, especially in the red zone. Dobbins earned six red zone touches, including opportunities on five of the Ravens’ first seven red zone snaps and the team’s first three touches inside the five-yard line. The goal-line work resulted in two scores, one on a shovel pass underneath and another on a rush behind all-pro fullback Patrick Ricard.

 

 

 

Justice Hill was an effective change of pace back once again, as he took eight carries for 45 yards and caught both of his targets out of the backfield. The problem with rostering Hill in fantasy is that he’ll likely never be more than the Ravens’ tertiary rushing option (behind Dobbins and Lamar) regardless of how well he performs.

Patrick Ricard did receive a red zone carry and three targets, but he’s more of a long-odds anytime touchdown scorer type of guy than an actual fantasy asset. Hell of a blocker though.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Devin Duvernay: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 51 Yards

Rashod Bateman: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 17 Yards

Mark Andrews: 5 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Demarcus Robinson: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 10 Yards

 

Mark Andrews’ fantasy managers were largely disappointed with his performance, and probably even more disappointed with the referees. Early in the second quarter, the Ravens went to their all-pro tight end on a red zone post route, hooking up with him for what appeared to be a score. The play was called back for offensive pass interference.

 

The Ravens’ other premier pass-catcher, Rashod Bateman, wasn’t on the field for most of the second half. After the game, John Harbaugh pretended he didn’t know why.

 

 

Instead, Devin Duvernay led the Ravens in receiving yardage, hauling in 4 receptions for 51 yards, including the Ravens’ best highlight of that game.

 

 

Despite his involvement in the passing game, Duvernay remains the Ravens’ tertiary pass-catching option and should only be viewed as a streaming wide receiver or flex option for standard 12-team leagues.

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