Last updated: December 11th at 10:25pm ET.
Team Totals: Ravens 30, Jets 15
The Jets’ soft second-half schedule ends abruptly with Thursday night’s trip to Baltimore before hosting Pittsburgh and visiting Buffalo in Weeks 16-17. Even after tallying top-12 fantasy scores in four of his last five starts, expectations should be severely lowered for Sam Darnold facing a Ravens defense that’s held nine straight quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB18 or worse, including shutdowns of Josh Allen (QB29), Russell Wilson (QB18), Tom Brady (QB21), Jared Goff (QB26), Deshaun Watson (QB28), and Jimmy Garoppolo (QB31) since acquiring CB Marcus Peters from the Rams. Darnold is a low-end two-QB-league option; the Ravens’ D/ST is a hot play. … Whereas Baltimore’s pass defense is a legitimate shutdown unit, enemy backs continue to expose leaks in DC Wink Martindale’s front with a combined 206/1,003/9 (4.87 YPC) rushing line against it over the Ravens’ last 11 games. A flu bug cost Le’Veon Bell Week 14, but Adam Gase declared Bell nearly 100% on Monday, and Le’Veon should be all systems go against the Ravens. Bell’s workload is also less likely to be threatened after Bilal Powell sprained his ankle in last week’s win. With 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in four of his last five games, Bell is a workload-driven RB2 play in a matchup that isn’t quite as tough as it may at first appear. Box-score expectations should still be capped in a game where the Jets will likely struggle to move the ball.
Darnold’s 2019 target distribution: Jamison Crowder 78; Robby Anderson 65; Demaryius Thomas 47; Bell 44; Ryan Griffin 38; Vyncint Smith 18; Ty Montgomery 11; Powell 10; Daniel Brown 4. … Slumping with 30 yards or fewer in three straight games, Crowder’s usage has nevertheless held steady on target counts of 9 and 7 in his last two. Crowder draws the Jets’ best Week 15 pass-catcher matchup; fellow slot-type WRs Julian Edelman (10/89/0), Mohamed Sanu (10/81/1), Tyler Boyd (6/62/0), Tyler Lockett (5/61/1), Kendrick Bourne (3/42/0), and Cole Beasley (4/29/1) all produced at- or above-expectation PPR results against Baltimore within its last six games. Crowder remains a PPR-specific WR3/flex option in a Jets passing offense that’s likely to struggle. … Anderson has picked up the slack with a touchdown and/or 100-plus yards in four straight games. He’s fade-matchup, boom-bust WR3 play against talented Ravens outside CBs Peters and Jimmy Smith. … Thomas busted his 14-game TD slump in last Sunday’s win over Miami but finished below 45 yards for the fifth time in six weeks. Due to his low catch and yardage projections, Thomas is a touchdown-or-bust WR4 at best. … As Griffin (ankle) looks unlikely to play on a short week, Brown is a sleeper on one-game DFS-tournament slates after running 21 routes on a career-high 87% playing-time clip in last week’s victory. A fifth-year UDFA out of James Madison, Brown offers plus speed (4.65) for a tight end. He was an oversized (6’5/227) wide receiver in college.
Update: The Jets indeed ruled out Ryan Griffin, positioning Daniel Brown to operate as an every-down tight end against the Ravens. Since Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee) is listed as doubtful, Vyncint Smith is another sleeper on one-game DFS slates. He should play outside in three-receiver sets across from Robby Anderson with Jamison Crowder in the slot.
After taking care of business in last week’s seven-point road win at Buffalo, Lamar Jackson returns home for a monster smash spot against the Jets, who just gave up 65 rushing yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick and will play Thursday night’s game without SS Jamal Adams and DT Quinnen Williams (neck) after trading DT Leonard Williams (Giants) and placing ILB C.J. Mosley (groin) on I.R., all of whom would have played critical roles in stopping this year’s MVP frontrunner. An exceptionally high-floor producer with top-12 fantasy finishes in 11-of-13 starts and obvious every-week slate-breaking capability, Jackson is Week 15’s top overall QB1 play and it’s not particularly close. … Although Mark Ingram’s touchdown dependency has been felt in consecutive scoreless games, the Ravens’ lofty team total foreshadows lots of end-zone chances against the Jets, while Gang Green’s allowance of the NFL’s third-most running back catches per game (6.2) suggests Ingram could see an extra target or two on Thursday night. His weekly workloads also remain secure with 16-plus touches in four straight games, locking in Ingram as a rock-solid RB2 play with RB1 upside as lead back on a team favored by 15 points at home. … Gus Edwards and Justice Hill are worth long-shot looks on one-game DFS slates in a game where each could capitalize on second-half opportunity spikes if the Ravens build a big lead, which they seem likely to do.
Jackson’s post-bye target distribution: Mark Andrews 27; Marquise Brown 24; Nick Boyle 18; Willie Snead 17; Ingram and Hayden Hurst 13; Seth Roberts 10; Patrick Ricard 6; Miles Boykin 2. … Andrews played just nine snaps in last week’s win over the Bills, exiting early with a knee bruise. He is tentatively slated to play on Thursday night. Always a huge part of Baltimore’s scoring-position offense, Andrews hit pay dirt four times in four games prior to last week’s injury-induced flop, and his matchup would be improved by Adams’ absence. Andrews is also popping in Week 15’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Brown was all but eliminated in Week 14’s win – finishing with -2 yards – but his 70% snap rate was Brown’s highest since Week 4, suggesting his long-troublesome foot is as healthy as it’s been since September. This is an eruption spot for Brown against Gang Green’s porous secondary, particularly if Andrews misses to create more opportunity for the rest of Baltimore’s pass-catcher corps. … For one-game DFS purposes, here is how routes were distributed in Baltimore’s Week 14 wideout and tight end units: Brown 21; Boyle 18; Snead 17; Hurst 14; Roberts 13; Boykin 8; Andrews 4. … 2018 first-round pick Hurst would project as the main beneficiary of Andrews’ potential absence after experiencing slight but meaningful upticks in pass routes run and playing time (47%) after Andrews left last week’s game early. Hurst flashed his big-play ability on a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Score Prediction: Ravens 35, Jets 13