Posted in Pregame Content

Fantasy Football: Which players from Ravens vs. Raiders do you want?

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are getting ready to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s Sunday morning, so you’re either preparing your season-long fantasy team or getting ready to play FanDuel, Draftkings, or what have you. We’ve hammered the real football aspect of the Monday night battle fairly well. Now it’s time to give you some fantasy football perspective.

The question is simple: Do you want to roll the dice on Ty’Son Williams? Williams is the one running back for the Baltimore Ravens that is a viable play. Williams has been in training camp and was the best running back in the preseason. He’s running back number one, even if that’s simply out of default.

This tweet from Michael Crawford says it all. It appears that John Harbaugh truly believes in his running back. This is his first big shot in the NFL. If anybody has a chance to shine out of nowhere on a national audience it’s Williams.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported Greg Roman’s comments on Williams. If you take what the coaching staff has said to this point all to heart, the Ravens are truly going to give Williams every chance to be the top running back in Baltimore.

My recommendation here is to start Williams in your flex spot if you don’t have a rock-solid option other than Williams. It’s a bit of a risk because we’re swimming in uncharted waters. The payoff could be huge. The Raiders were horrible at stopping the run in 2020. It’s something we’ve talked about all week, getting you ready for the game. With all the other running backs being fairly last-minute pick-ups Williams is the only running back you can roll with.

Lamar Jackson is a good play:

Lamar Jackson is very rarely a bad option for your Fantasy Football team. He’s starting this week for my team (Patrick Queen Consolidated). Jackson is usually good for 60 rushing yards or more. Jackson had nine games with two or more passing touchdowns in the 2020 season. He had 10 games with multiple touchdown passes in 2019, including two night games with five touchdowns. On average, Jackson gives you a good Fantasy Football outing. His top performances can pretty much win you the week.

The Raiders defense is a hard one to have confidence in. If the Raiders can’t stop the run, Jackson has a full menu offensively. I’m looking at a quarterback that I expect to see an MVP kind of season from, and I’m all in on him on Monday Night Football. Everyone thinks they have Lamar Jackson figured out. Jackson proves people wrong for a living.

This smells like a big showing for Action Jackson. If Jackson is rolling, this is a good sign for the fantasy value of his favorite targets Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. Andrews in particular is a great play at tight end because I don’t see a Raider who matches up with him well.

What about the Raiders?

Darren Waller is the best option for Fantasy players in this game for the Las Vegas Raiders. If Jimmy Smith does indeed play, this will likely be the player he’s tasked with stopping. If Smith is 100 percent, he could neutralize Waller a bit. Waller is a matchup nightmare either way. Expect Waller to have four or five grabs and 60 yards at a minimum. He’s also the best red-zone threat for the Raiders.

Waller is the only Raiders player that you have to play. Derek Carr has some value. Marcus Peters is out for the year. Even if Anthony Averett does an honorable job in his stead, you’re looking at a secondary that is a little less strong than they were. I also think that Carr could have an inflated stat line because the Raiders will have to throw the ball a lot to stay afloat in this game.

Josh Jacobs is a star player, but I see very little value on Monday Night. I have Jacobs on my team, but  I have him on the bench this week. I put Dolphins running back, Myles Gaskin in his spot. (By the way, Ty’Son Williams is in my flex spot). But why doesn’t Jacobs have much value this week?

Left guard, Richie Incognito isn’t expected to play in this game. The Raiders offensive line was already an area of doubt. The Ravens’ defensive line should have their way in this one. I don’t see Jacobs getting much traction on the ground. He has some worth in a PPR league, but unless he gets into the end zone, his numbers should be ugly.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders: MNF bullet points

Happy NFL Sunday ladies and gentlemen! Any comments, questions, or concerns? You know PBN is always here for the Ravens Flock!



Posted in Pregame Content

Baltimore Ravens: 3 keys for the defense vs. Las Vegas Raiders

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football for their week one game. Let’s dive into the game. It’s time to put on our defensive coordinator hat and think of the three things the Ravens need to be mindful of against the Raiders.

3. Bend but don’t break

Derek Carr doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done for the Raiders. He’s had over 4,000 yards three seasons in a row. In that streak, Carr’s lowest quarterback rating for a season was 93.9. Carr isn’t a bad quarterback. Josh Jacobs is a good running back. Darren Waller is the play-maker we always thought he could be and the Raiders aren’t a pushover team. Do I think the Ravens have the defensive firepower to outmatch them? Absolutely. I just don’t think it’s a Super Bowl XXXV-style game where the Ravens make the opposing offense completely useless.

The key is keeping the Raiders out of the end zone and keeping everything in front of white jerseys with purple numbers. Last season Nelson Agholor and Henry Ruggs both had over 17 yards per reception. Waller had 1,196 receiving yards and Jacobs had 1,303 total yards from scrimmage. The Raiders have some talent that can put points on the board. In 2020, the Raiders put up 30 points or more eight times and won seven of those games.

Red zone defense is going to be imperative in this game. Points are what will sustain the Raiders, not yards. If the pass rushers give the hoped-for amount of pass rush, this isn’t a game where the Ravens will have to do a lot of blitzing. The defensive front of the Ravens has more going for it than the offensive line of the Raiders does. Instead of Martindale being blitz-heavy, look for well-timed blitzes to be what gets the Ravens stops in the red zone.

2. Take the football away:

Last year the Raiders were minus 11 in the turnover ratio. That’s incredible considering that their quarterback only had nine interceptions on the year. Ever since Jon Gruden returned to the sideline, the Raiders calling card has been unforced mistakes and penalties. While the Raiders were on the wrong side of the turnover ratio, the Ravens were plus four. If these teams are similar to the 2020 versions of themselves (which they are) Baltimore should have the advantage in the turnover battle.

Often when we talk about Martindale’s creativity we’re talking about the movement before the snap and different looks and stunts that create pressure on the quarterback. In this game, Martindale is going up against a veteran quarterback who hasn’t had more than 13 interceptions in a season. Look for Martindale’s mastery of this game to be the way he calls his pass coverage. Look for him to switch up his coverage schemes and for the Ravens to generate a turnover by trapping Carr into a bad throw.

If that doesn’t work, there is always knocking the ball out. Forced fumbles could be a strength of the Baltimore Ravens this season. In the preseason the Ravens had a game against the New Orleans Saints where they had three interceptions and forced three fumbles. Marlon Humphrey is famous for the “Fruit Punch.” Other than Peanut Tillman, it’s hard to think of a cornerback who was better at forcing fumbles than Humphrey. Come hell or high water, Baltimore needs to force the Raiders into costly mistakes with the football.

3. Don’t let Josh Jacobs get a full head of steam:

In 2020, Jacobs had over 80 rushing yards in a game four times. The Raiders won all four of those games. Jacobs had over 20 rushing attempts in six of the Raiders games last season. The Raiders won five of those games. Even in games where Jacobs is averaging slightly under four yards per carry, the more involved he is, the better it is for the Raiders. A heavy dose of Jacobs keeps Gruden’s offense honest and keeps pass rush off of Carr.

This is really something you could say every week of the season, but Baltimore needs to make the Raiders one-dimensional. They need to completely discourage the Raiders from running the football. This makes their offense much more predictable and exposes the biggest challenges for the offense.

To make this happen for the Ravens, you need the defensive line to straight up own the line of scrimmage. Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe have to come ready for a full day of work as space eaters. Justin Madubuike needs to be disruptive and Broderick Washington needs to be immovable. With the speed and tackling capability that the Ravens have at the linebacker position, just being gap sound should do the trick. Outside contain is crucial for the outside linebackers in this game.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders: 5 predictions and a score

Bottling up Jacobs isn’t complicated. The Ravens have to play fundamentally sound defense and play assignment football. The Ravens have the players to get the job done. The only way Jacobs gets going beyond a few nice runs is if the Baltimore Ravens make fundamental mistakes on defense.