Last updated: September 26th at 3:14pm ET.
Team Totals: Ravens 26.5, Browns 19.5
The Browns visit Baltimore fielding the NFL’s most-discombobulated offense wherein overwhelmed rookie coach Freddie Kitchens’ route concepts aren’t aligning with down and distance and Baker Mayfield is playing in legitimate fear, dropping his eyes, seeing ghosts in the pocket, and bailing in anticipation of pressure even when it isn’t there. With to-date fantasy results of QB24 > QB16 > QB29, Mayfield is a drop in season-long leagues with minimal hope for short-term course correction. The Ravens don’t present a matchup to increase Mayfield’s comfort level with a top-five blitz rate and the most QB hits in the league (28). Mayfield ranks 33rd among 37 qualified quarterbacks in passer rating under pressure (28.3). … Nick Chubb warrants more Week 4 optimism after graduating to every-down usage in last week’s loss to the Rams with career highs in snaps (97%) and targets (7) en route to 131 total yards. Dating back to last season, Chubb has 100-plus yards from scrimmage and/or a touchdown in 9 of his last 11 games. Albeit versus a far-superior Chiefs offense, Baltimore showed Week 3 run-defense cracks by coughing up a combined 21/124/1 (5.90 YPC) rushing line to Kansas City’s backs.
Mayfield’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Odell Beckham 30; Jarvis Landry 23; Chubb 15; Damion Ratley 10; D’Ernest Johnson 6; Demetrius Harris 4; Rashard Higgins 3; Ricky Seals-Jones and Dontrell Hilliard 2. … The good news for OBJ is Baltimore’s injury-rattled secondary has surrendered the NFL’s sixth-most completions of 20-plus yards (15). The bad news is Beckham will likely draw top CB Marlon Humphrey’s shadow coverage, and Kitchens’ route combinations have shown no ability to get OBJ free. Beckham is averaging ten targets and over 100 Air Yards per game and can’t be benched in season-long leagues, but he’ll need more help from his playcaller and quarterback to come anywhere near his ceiling. … Landry catches the best matchup in Cleveland’s pass-catcher corps facing a Ravens secondary that yielded 224 yards on 27 slot targets (8.30 YPA) over the last two weeks. Although Landry’s to-date box-score results have underwhelmed, he’s drawn seven-plus targets in all three games and should benefit from the Browns’ loss of David Njoku (wrist, I.R.) from an opportunity standpoint. Landry also checks in as Week 4’s No. 5 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Clearly battling a high ankle sprain, Higgins is just a deep-bench stash until he shows he’s back to full strength. He’s been inactive for consecutive games, and neither Ratley nor Taywan Taylor has picked up the slack. … Harris was Cleveland’s lone tight end to play more than 16 snaps in last week’s loss to the Rams, drawing only two targets on 29 routes but delivering a goal-line score. Harris is a low-volume, TD-dependent streamer.
Lamar Jackson overcame a brutal 8-of-21 start for 75 yards (3.6 YPA) in last Sunday’s loss to Kansas City before luckboxing two desperation heaves and peeling off a nine-yard touchdown run to escape with Week 3’s QB10 score. The outcome serves as a reminder of Jackson’s floor even in games where he doesn’t play well. Back home after Baltimore played two of its first three games on the road, Jackson catches a Browns defense that has been its team strength but is dealing with hamstring injuries to CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and may again be without SS Morgan Burnett (quad). I like Jackson’s chances of bouncing back as a DFS-tournament play in stacks with Marquise Brown. … Mark Ingram took control of Baltimore’s backfield over the past two weeks with touch counts of 15 and 20 on 58% and 61% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps. Gus Edwards did reestablish himself as Ingram’s clear-cut handcuff with 68 yards on nine touches in last week’s loss to Kansas City, while rookie Justice Hill’s playing time has fallen in each game (29% > 20% > 12%). Hill is a deep-bench stash, but Edwards offers some standalone value and would become an immediate RB2 if Ingram went down. Even in a tough draw – Cleveland has held enemy backs to 63/234/1 (3.71 YPC) rushing – Ingram is a fringe RB1 play favored at home by a touchdown. In season long, Ingram is still a recommended sell high with just six targets in three games. He is 39th among NFL running backs in routes run. Hill remains an RB5/6 stash.
Jackson’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Marquise Brown 27; Mark Andrews 23; Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle 9; Willie Snead 8; Ingram 6; Hill and Miles Boykin 5; Seth Roberts 3; Edwards 2. … Brown is an exciting Week 4 buy-low play with the NFL’s second-most Air Yards (372) over the past two weeks facing Cleveland’s hamstring-hobbled secondary. Based on his overwhelming amount of opportunity, I’m viewing Brown as DFS cash-game and tournament viable in this plus draw. He’s a high-ceiling WR2 play in season long. … Even amid foot concerns, Andrews ran a season-high 37 pass routes and drew seven targets in last week’s loss to Kansas City. Still, beat writers noticed Andrews hobbling in pre-game warmups, his production was Andrews’ worst of the season to date, and he missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practices this week. Cleveland presents a plus draw — opponents are 8-of-11 passing for 77 yards and two touchdowns when targeting tight ends versus Steve Wilks‘ defense — but Andrews should be approached as a boom-bust TE1 until we see him shake the foot injury for good. … Target shares for the remainder of Baltimore’s pass catchers are too low for season-long or DFS utilization. Behind Brown’s 466 and Andrews’ 224, slot receiver Snead’s 106 Air Yards rank third on the Ravens.
Score Prediction: Ravens 30, Browns 17