Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football. Lamar is playing on Monday Night Football.
It’s the team with Lamar (the Ravens) against the team without Lamar (the Rams). Let’s dive into tonight’s Showdown slate on DraftKings.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
Los Angeles Rams
With the season on the line versus the Bears last weekend, Sean McVay appeared to finally take the restraints off of Todd Gurley ($8,800). The veteran saw the field on 75.9% of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps, all while registering season-highs in carries (25), touches (28) and scrimmage yards (133). However, when deciding upon Gurley’s viability this evening, it must be understood Baltimore presents game script challenges that Chicago did not. Where the Bears entered Week 12 averaging the fourth-fewest points per drive in the NFL (1.42), the Ravens are the league’s lone team mustering more than three points per opportunity with the football (3.19). It might even be an understatement to imply they score at will. Because of this, opponents often find themselves trailing by a wide enough margin that running the ball no longer stands as an option, which has led to Baltimore facing an NFL-low 21.3 rushing attempts per game. It doesn’t help matters the Ravens are surrendering just 3.92 adjusted line yards per carry — the sixth-best mark in all of football. The Rams could take a page from the Bengals’ playbook and simply force-feed Gurley regardless of logic, but history suggest that won’t be the case.
In Los Angeles’ four losses in 2019, Jared Goff ($8,400) has thrown the ball 45.5 times per contest compared to only 31.8 attempts in its six victories. The Rams are not going to concede and try to run out the clock as quickly as possible; they’ve shown they’re more than willing to go down with Goff taking control of the offense. However, that’s the worst case scenario for Gurley. The running back was script-proof last year, compiling 81 targets across 14 games in Los Angeles’ high-scoring attack. Yet, in 2019, Gurley’s averaging a mere 2.0 catches per matchup; a direct result of the Rams’ targeting their backfield on a league-low 11% of attempted passes through 11 weeks. With such hesitation to involve their RBs in the aerial attack, Gurley’s a candidate to be faded if you believe Baltimore’s going to win this evening’s tilt.
As for Goff, he seems like the obvious choice to run back heavy Ravens exposure, despite not exactly having a fantastic matchup of his own. Since trading for Marcus Peters and getting Jimmy Smith back from injury, Baltimore’s secondary has been superb. In fact, over its past three contests — a span in which it’s encountered both Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson — Ravens D/ST ($5,600) has allowed only a microscopic 5.0 yards per opponent pass attempt — the best figure among all AFC teams. Still, it’s not all bad news for Goff. Brandin Cooks ($6,600) practiced in full all week and is expected to be making his return from a concussion that’s cost him two straight weeks; Gerald Everett ($4,800), who was dealing with a shoulder issue last Sunday, was not even listed on the team’s injury report; and, finally, there’s a chance Robert Woods ($7,000) is active after being a late scratch in Week 11 due to personal reasons. Having a fully stocked receiving corps doesn’t guarantee Goff will break out of what’s been a nasty two-game slump, but, at the very least, the QB was averaging 18.8 DKFP with Cooks active. There’s some correlation there.
Editor’s Note: Cooks and Woods will be active for tonight’s game.
When it comes to pairing specific players with Goff, you probably are best served trying to be cost-effective. It’s hard to envision spending almost $10K on Cooper Kupp ($9,800) given what we’ve seen the past two weeks and knowing he’ll be seeing a heavy dose of Marlon Humphrey in the slot. Honestly, Everett might be the way to go following an ugly 14-snap performance versus Chicago. A lot of McVay’s reluctance to use Everett likely was due to the tight end’s injury and Los Angeles’ inclination to run the ball on 65.4% of its offensive plays. If the Rams are forced to throw, Everett will be out there and, surprisingly, Los Angeles did come into the week with the seventh-most targets to the position so far this season (87). Josh Reynolds ($3,400) also could present some salary relief if Woods is unable to suit up, as the wideout was an illegal formation penalty away from a massive showing last Sunday night.
For all of the facts and analytics I could throw at you, the key to tonight’s slate is really just how you choose to utilize Lamar Jackson ($13,600). Justifiably, the sophomore QB is more than $3K more expensive than any other person on the board and, if you were to employ him as your Captain’s Pick, you’d be left with less than $6K per player to fill out the rest of your lineup. However, the rationale for such an imposing price tag is clear. Going back across the past six weeks, Jackson is averaging a robust 30.9 DKFP. He’s got an 8-to-0 TD/INT ratio within that span, an impressive 78.7% adjusted completion rate, and he’s racking up an unheard of 1.10 fantasy points per drop back. On that latter point, for the sake of comparison, Josh Allen sits second among qualified quarterbacks in points generated per drop back since Week 6 at a mere 0.66. Obviously, it’s the rushing element of Jackson’s skill-set that separates him from the rest of the pack. The Louisville product has managed at least 60 yards on the ground in eight of his past nine starts, while he’s found the end zone five times in his past five contests. Jackson’s unstoppable, and that aspect of his game should align itself nicely against a Wade Phillips defense that loves to play man-to-man coverage. I mean, you don’t trade for Jalen Ramsey to break out the zone schemes and, if you do, you’re misusing your personnel. Thus is the true pain of being opposed by someone as unique as Jackson.
Still, deciding your level of exposure to Jackson is only half the battle. It might actually be more difficult choosing who to stack with the QB, as Jackson sometimes has proven to be a one-man show. Mark Andrews ($9,200) has tended to benefit the most from Jackson being under center, but it’s asking a lot to fork out more than $9K for the second-year TE. Sure, Andrews does lead Baltimore in all major receiving categories, including red zone targets (10) and red zone target share (26.3%); yet it’s a hefty price to pay for a player who’s often hovering around a 50% snap rate and hasn’t caught more than six passes in a single game since Week 2. In no way am I suggesting Andrews isn’t the Ravens’ No. 1 passing option, just that there might be other ways to exploit Jackson’s love of tight ends. For instance, Hayden Hurst ($800) is dirt cheap and actually ranks second on the team in red zone targets with six. The former first-round pick is a low-ceiling option, however, he’s also a couple catches away from hitting 5x value. If one of those receptions happens to be in the end zone, all the better. Additionally, Marquise Brown ($8,000) is a tough sell as he’s sure to be shadowed by Ramsey all evening.
In a similar line of thinking, Mark Ingram ($10,200) is nearly impossible to budget for. The veteran’s logged fewer than 50% of Baltimore’s offensive snaps in four of the team’s past five games, he’s surpassed 15 carries only twice in 2019, and the Rams are surrendering the fourth-fewest adjusted line yards per opponent carry (3.87). There’s a world where both Ingram and Jackson can hit their ceiling in a single script — we saw it last weekend against Houston with the RB’s pair of receiving touchdowns — yet those were Ingram’s first two red zone targets of the season. If you’re using the 29-year-old, it’s as a pivot off of Jackson, which might not be a terrible idea if you plan on using multiple lineups. Still, the two don’t really pair well together in a vacuum, let alone when you factor in the salary implications of playing both. You’d be better served saving with Gus Edwards ($2,600), who does have five carries inside the 5-yard line in 2019.
At this point, I have no reason to believe any defense is capable of stopping Lamar Jackson ($20,400 CP), let alone one that’s set up to play primarily man-to-man like Los Angeles’. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to Captain the Ravens’ QB, but it does mean you should build your lineups with the understanding Baltimore is going to be scoring a lot of points. In such a scenario, Jared Goff ($12,600 CP) will volume his way into consideration at 1.5x value, too.
Final Score: Baltimore 34, Los Angeles 24
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