Last updated: December 18th at 3:06pm ET.
Team Totals: Ravens 29, Browns 19
Continuing to separate themselves from the NFL pack, the 12-2 Ravens visit a Browns team that dealt them one of their losses all the way back in Week 4 – in Baltimore – via Cleveland’s dominant run game and 3-to-1 turnover edge. Lamar Jackson still emerged as Week 4’s overall QB3 and is fantasy’s top quarterback play in Sunday’s rematch with the highest floor-ceiling combination on Week 16’s slate. … Prolifically ethered by Kenyan Drake (22/137/4) last week, Cleveland’s run defense generously permits 4.80 yards per carry to enemy backs, while Mark Ingram continues to hit pay dirt at a prolific rate, compensating for his light passing-game usage with 14 all-purpose scores in 14 games. Touchdowns can be a volatile metric lacking predictability, yet the Ravens’ consistent red-zone infestations obviously give Ingram more TD equity than most backs. Only four NFL players have more carries inside the ten-yard line (26) than Ingram, and only one (Christian McCaffrey, 16) has more inside the five (15). Ingram even has five red-zone targets, accounting for two of his end-zone trips. In an unimposing draw versus the Myles Garrett-less Browns, Ingram is a rock-solid RB2 play with touchdown-driven RB1 upside.
Jackson’s post-bye target distribution: Mark Andrews 34; Marquise Brown 28; Nick Boyle and Willie Snead 18; Ingram and Hayden Hurst 15; Seth Roberts 13; Patrick Ricard 8; Miles Boykin 3. … Following last Thursday night’s thrashing of the Jets, the Ravens’ mini-bye should help Andrews and Brown brush off lower-body injuries they’ve battled virtually all year. Andrews faces the Browns with 45-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-14 games (71%), exhibiting above-par consistency as an every-week TE1. … Although Brown has been far less trustworthy with fewer than 50 yards in 9-of-10 games since Week 2, Brown’s Weeks 13-15 snap-rate rise (57% > 72% > 75%) suggests the Ravens are growing more confident in the health of his foot, and Brown’s sheer big-play potential keeps him locked into boom-bust WR3 discussion each week, even in mediocre matchups like this one. Cleveland’s secondary has permitted the NFL’s 12th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. … Ravens ancillary pass catchers still lack fantasy appeal. Roberts led the team in Week 15 receiving (3/66/1) but is most valued by the coaching staff for his perimeter run-blocking ability and has averaged 2.1 targets per game since Baltimore’s Week 8 bye.
Especially after Baker Mayfield largely failed to capitalize on last week’s plum draw at Arizona, he looks like a near-full fade in Sunday’s bout with Baltimore. Ten straight quarterbacks to face the Ravens have managed fantasy results of QB18 or worse, while Baker himself has top-12 scores in just 3-of-14 starts. … The Browns’ best chance at staying competitive against the NFL’s best team is likely to continually test Baltimore’s run defense, which enemy backs touched up for 229/1,095/9 (4.78 YPC) rushing over the Ravens’ last 12 games. Nick Chubb ran roughshod on DC Wink Martindale’s group in these clubs’ Week 4 meeting (20/165/3) and has maintained role security despite Kareem Hunt’s post-suspension presence with 16-plus touches in every game this year. Per Sports Info Solutions, Baltimore has fielded eight or more defenders in the box at the NFL’s sixth-lowest rate, while Chubb has hammered defensive boxes of seven or less for a league-best 5.9 yards per carry. … Whereas Chubb remains an every-week RB1, Hunt has earned every-week RB2 treatment averaging 11.3 touches and six targets per game in the Browns’ two-back offense, which essentially deploys Hunt as its change-of-pace back and No. 3 receiver.
Mayfield’s Weeks 10-15 target distribution: Jarvis Landry 56; Odell Beckham 54; Hunt 36; Chubb 15; Demetrius Harris 10; Ricky Seals-Jones 6; Rashard Higgins and KhaDarel Hodge 5; Stephen Carlson 4; David Njoku and Damion Ratley 3. … Landry is Week 16’s squeaky wheel after cameras caught him arguing with Freddie Kitchens about his usage against the Cardinals. Landry also happened to tally a season-high 167 yards in these teams’ Week 4 date, while fellow slot types Jamison Crowder (6/90/2), 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) have all produced at- or above-expectation PPR results against the Ravens within their last seven games. Popping as Week 16’s No. 1 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model, Landry is a confident WR2 play with an especially high ceiling this week. … Much as he’s (unsuccessfully) been all year, OBJ is purely a bet-on-volume WR2/3 option versus the Ravens, whose perimeter CBs Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith have allowed just 49 completions on 92 targets (53%) for an anemic 514 yards (5.6 YPA) and a 3:4 TD-to-INT ratio since Baltimore acquired Peters from the Rams eight games ago. Beckham joined Landry in Week 16’s Buy Low Air Yards Model, but Hermsmeyer has “redacted” him. … Njoku was a healthy scratch for last week’s loss, letting Seals-Jones capitalize for two TDs against Arizona’s matador tight end coverage. Still rotating with Harris and Carlson, Seals-Jones played just 27% of Cleveland’s offensive snaps and is hard to take seriously versus the Ravens. Njoku seems to be in the doghouse and also won’t be playable assuming he even dresses for Week 16.
Score Prediction: Ravens 30, Browns 17