Last updated: January 9th at 2:12pm ET.
Team Totals: Ravens 28, Titans 19
Evidenced by Derrick Henry’s stretch-run touch totals – 35 > 32 > 21 > 19 > 29 over his last five games – the Titans’ offensive approach is straightforward with a chance to cause Baltimore’s overrated run defense Week 19 fits. Enemy backs touched up Ravens DC Wink Martindale’s group for a crisp 106/490/2 (4.62 YPC) rushing line over its last five games, while Henry’s career per-game touchdown average more than doubles from 0.48 in September through November to 1.05 in December and January, when 247-pound Henry’s MACK truck power can prey on beaten-up late-season opponents. Although the possibility of the Titans facing negative game script that would threaten Henry’s workload is a concern as nine-point road dogs, Henry undoubtedly projects as the centerpiece of OC Arthur Smith’s game plan in an effort to control possession and keep Baltimore’s NFL-best offense off the field.
Essentially playing run-funnel defense, the Ravens incredibly held 11 of their final 12 regular season quarterbacks faced to fantasy scores of QB18 or worse. Baltimore’s D/ST is arguably a superior cost-relative fantasy bet to Ryan Tannehill, who projects to lack both volume and efficiency at Baltimore. Tannehill has averaged just 23 pass attempts over his last eight starts, while the Ravens have yielded the NFL’s fourth-fewest yards per attempt (6.6) and second-lowest passer rating (77.5). Only New England surrendered fewer touchdown passes (13) than Baltimore in 2019 (15). Despite his remarkable second-half success that saved the Titans’ season, Tannehill is a contrarian DFS-tournament option at best.
Tannehill’s 2019-2020 target distribution: A.J. Brown 63; Corey Davis 48; Jonnu Smith 39; Tajae Sharpe 28; Anthony Firkser 27; Adam Humphries 24; Dion Lewis 17; Henry 14; Kalif Raymond 12; MyCole Pruitt 9. … Erased by a combination of Stephon Gilmore and Tannehill’s season-low 15 attempts in last week’s win, Brown is certain to see more targets in projected catchup script but faces another imposing draw. Since the Ravens acquired Marcus Peters from the Rams in Week 7, outside CBs Peters and Jimmy Smith have yielded completions on just 59-of-109 throws (54%) for 622 yards (5.71 YPA) and a 4:4 TD-to-INT ratio. They suffocated perimeter WRs Robby Anderson (4/66/0), Diontae Johnson (4/54/0), Odell Beckham (4/44/1), Emmanuel Sanders (4/41/0), Deebo Samuel (2/41/0), John Brown (3/26/0), and James Washington (0/0) over the last five weeks. Matchup and opportunity working against him in a low-volume passing game, Brown is purely a bet-on-talent DFS gamble. … Scoreless since October 20 and coming off a Wild Card goose egg, Davis finds himself in the same predicament lower in Tennessee’s pecking order. He’s a Hail Mary play. … This is how routes were distributed among Titans pass catchers in Weeks 17-18: Brown 38; Davis 37; Sharpe 23; Smith 22; Firkser 17; Pruitt 10. … Sharpe rarely sees useful volume, but his matchup is favorable enough for dart-throw consideration. In the second half of 2019, fellow slot types Jamison Crowder (6/90/2), Julian Edelman (10/89/0), Mohamed Sanu (10/81/1), Jarvis Landry (7/74/0), 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 the Ravens. … Although Smith plays the most because he’s the best blocker in Tennessee’s tight end group, Firsker and Pruitt have turned the position into a three-man TEBC in passing situations. Smith and Firkser are low-floor, low-volume punts. No defense allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than Baltimore this season.
In Gardner Minshew, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson, the Titans faced three top-five rushing QBs this season. Tennessee went 0-3 in such games as Minshew, Allen, and Watson combined to complete 62-of-99 passes (63%) for 666 yards (6.7 YPA), and a 6:3 TD-to-INT ratio with a 25.7 rushing-yard average. NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is better than all three and enters Week 19 on a wicked tear with a 25:1 passing TD-to-INT ratio, four additional rushing scores, and 78.8 rushing-yard average over his last eight starts. Just ahead of Patrick Mahomes, Jackson is the favorite to lead all players in Divisional Round fantasy points.
Mark Ingram admitted to hearing a “pop” upon straining his calf in Week 16, then experienced early-week “tightness” in the muscle when attempting to practice. While he is tentatively expected to play, odds are Ingram won’t be anywhere near 100%. Tennessee played stout run defense all year and limited enemy backs to a pedestrian 101/404/5 (4.0 YPC) rushing line over its last five games. Ingram’s passing-game expectation is low, his matchup is unappealing, and his health is suspect. Even as a home-favorite feature back in one of the league’s run-friendliest offenses, Ingram is a low-floor, touchdown-reliant DFS risk. … Ingram’s health begs the question of whether Gus Edwards and Justice Hill’s Divisional Round roles might be larger than usual, rendering both DFS-tournament darts on this high-volatility four-game slate. Hill is the most explosive receiver in Baltimore’s backfield, while Tennessee permitted the NFL’s third-most running back receptions per game (6.3) this regular season before coughing up ten catches to Patriots backs in Week 18. Should Ingram sit, Edwards would become a legitimate 20-carry candidate.
UPDATE: Titans coach Mike Vrabel conceded Thursday that every-down ILB Jayon Brown “probably” won’t play against the Ravens after leaving last week’s win over New England repeatedly due to shoulder-injury aggravations. Brown’s absence is notable because of how many snaps he soaks up and for his pass-coverage abilities. Give matchup boosts to the Ravens’ tight ends and running backs.
Jackson’s post-bye target distribution: Mark Andrews 43; Marquise Brown 30; Nick Boyle 22; Willie Snead 19; Hayden Hurst 18; Ingram 17; Seth Roberts 16; Pat Ricard 8; Hill 7; Miles Boykin 4; Edwards 3. … Andrews’ matchup is pristine; only three NFL defenses allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than Tennessee this regular season, while Jared Cook (3/84/2), Jack Doyle (6/73/1), Darren Waller (6/72/0), Jordan Akins (5/54/0), Ben Watson (3/38/0), and Foster Moreau (3/14/1) each met or beat box-score expectations versus the Titans over their last six games. Titans coverage LB Jayon Brown’s (shoulder) absence would positively impact Andrews. … In the five games prior to facing New England’s nonexistent Week 18 perimeter wideout corps and Houston’s Week 17 resting offense, Tennessee’s secondary was touched up by Michael Thomas (12/136/1), DeAndre Hopkins (6/119/0), Zach Pascal (7/109/0), Will Fuller (5/61/0), Marcus Johnson (4/55/0), Rico Gafford (1/49/1), and Kenny Stills (3/35/2). This is a potential smash spot for Brown, who comes at an especially affordable DraftKings price and warrants aggressive Week 19 ownership. … Since the likes of Boyle, Snead, Hurst, and Roberts are always lucky to command more than three targets in a game, they’re all touchdown-or-bust dart throws against the Titans. For DFSers seeking low-cost punts, this is how routes run were distributed among Ravens pass catchers in Weeks 15-16: Brown 51; Andrews 43; Roberts 38; Snead 31; Boyle 28; Hurst 25; Boykin 16.
Score Prediction: Ravens 28, Titans 17