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Last updated: October 2nd at 11:55am ET

 

Team Totals: Ravens 24, Steelers 20.5

 

Lamar Jackson visits Heinz Field with league-winning fantasy results of QB1 > QB2 > QB10 > QB3 under his belt to face a 1-3 Steelers team surely high on itself following last Monday night’s destruction of the hapless Bengals. While Pittsburgh’s man coverage enhances its vulnerability to dual-threat QBs when defenders turn their backs to the offense, the Steelers’ ability to generate pressure is concerning for Jackson’s odds of staying hot; DC Keith Butler’s unit ranks No. 4 in the NFL in sacks (14) and No. 3 in QB hits (31). Nevertheless, Jackson has earned matchup-agnostic QB1 treatment with top-12 outcomes in six of his last seven starts. The Ravens’ crumbling defense is good news for Jackson’s outlook, forcing him into urgent comeback mode in each of the past two weeks. … Even as the dominant presence in Baltimore’s backfield, Mark Ingram’s continued lack of passing-game usage renders him a touchdown-dependent weekly RB2. Ingram has just seven targets in four weeks and scored 9.7 and 8.1 PPR points in the two games where he didn’t hit pay dirt. Pittsburgh has limited enemy backs to 105/450/3 (4.29 YPC) rushing. A sell high since the year began, Ingram should continue to be shopped in season-long offers.

Jackson’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Marquise Brown 34; Mark Andrews 31; Hayden Hurst 11; Willie Snead and Nick Boyle 10; Miles Boykin and Seth Roberts 8; Ingram and Justice Hill 7; Gus Edwards 3. … Brown was a Week 4 failure with his first two drops of the season and now has just 71 scoreless yards on 16 targets over the past two weeks. Usage remains firmly on Brown’s side, however, and he popped as Week 5’s No. 2 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. This is a great week to pivot back onto Brown, fading recency bias after he busted as a popular DFS play last Sunday. Brown’s Week 4 snap rate was a season-high 81%, and only Mike Evans has more Air Yards over the past two weeks. The Steelers have allowed the NFL’s tenth-most 20-plus-yard completions (16), while Brown has drawn the league’s third-most targets of 20-plus yards (10). … Andrews saved his Week 4 box score on a wide-open eight-yard touchdown catch in last week’s fourth quarter. I’ve grown increasingly concerned about his foot; Andrews’ snaps (42%) and routes (22) against Cleveland were both lows since Week 1. Held to 46 yards on 15 targets over the past two weeks, Andrews is shaping up as a volatile if still high-upside TE1. … No other Ravens pass catcher is seeing enough volume for fantasy relevance.

The Steelers have every reason to continue to utilize the Wildcat looks they unveiled in last Monday night’s whooping of Cincinnati after it resuscitated their previously-dead offense and helped Pittsburgh to its first 2019 win. Equaling James Conner in touches (18) on 45% of the snaps, versatile Jaylen Samuels was the sparkplug with 83 total yards and a read-option rushing score. With Conner nursing a balky ankle, Samuels warrants RB2 treatment with RB1 upside in PPR leagues versus a collapsing Ravens defense that has yielded over 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back games, including a whopping 47/316/5 (6.72 YPC) rushing line to Chiefs and Browns backs. … Conner said he would be all systems go on Tuesday. If so, he should be teed up confidently as a fringe RB1 after logging a 66% snap rate and career highs in catches (8) and receiving yards (83) in Pittsburgh’s Week 4 running back-friendly attack. Conner’s 21 routes run were a season high. … Mason Rudolph continued to dink and dunk versus Cincy, his lone 20-plus-yard downfield completion coming on Diontae Johnson’s 43-yard busted-coverage touchdown. Rudolph still emerged with Week 4’s QB13 result and should stay locked into two-QB-league lineups against a Ravens defense that has allowed 300-plus passing yards in three straight games.

Rudolph’s 2019 target distribution: JuJu Smith-Schuster 16; Diontae Johnson 15; Conner 14; Samuels 9; James Washington 7; Vance McDonald 6; Nick Vannett 2; Donte Moncrief, Benny Snell, and Ryan Switzer 1. … JuJu’s target and Air Yards volume have severely disappointed, but this matchup should give him a puncher’s chance at bouncing back. Smith-Schuster runs nearly 70% of his routes inside, where Baltimore yielded 100-plus-yard games to fellow slot WRs Jarvis Landry (8/167/0), Christian Kirk (6/114/0), and Larry Fitzgerald (5/104/0) over the past three weeks. … Johnson has fast emerged as a Rudolph favorite; Rudolph is 9-of-12 for 129 yards (10.8 YPA) and two TDs when targeting him in the last two games. Johnson led Pittsburgh’s wideouts in Week 4 routes run (25) and leads the team in Air Yards (114) in Rudolph’s two starts. Johnson has entered WR3/flex territory, although Marlon Humphrey’s Week 5 coverage may await. Humphrey held Odell Beckham to 20 yards on seven targets last week. … Washington has been 2019’s version of 2018 Chris Hogan, running wind sprints down the sidelines while his teammates do all the work. Washington ranks 77th among 84 qualified receivers in PFF’s yards per route run. … With McDonald (shoulder) inactive last week, trade acquisition Vannett drew two targets on 76% of the snaps with Zach Gentry (0, 41%) behind him. Neither is a realistic streamer candidate.

Score Prediction: Ravens 24, Steelers 23