By Sean Weymouth
Talk about a tale of two cities! On the one hand you have the struggling Rams led by Jarod Goff who looks to have regressed, while on the other hand you have the surging Ravens led by Lamar Jackson contending for an MVP nod. I think the early storyline here is that the Ravens are going to slay the Rams. That may be the case … but with a fully healthy compliment of offensive weapons available – could the Rams make a game of it? I don’t know, but what I do know is somebody has to win the money Draft King’s has on the line – what can’t that be you? With that said, let’s get into it:
– Lamar Jackson $13,600
– Mark Ingram $10,200
– Mark Andrews $9,200
– Marquise Brown $8,000
– Ravens Defense $5,600
– Justin Tucker (K) $4,000
– Willie Snead $3,200
– Nick Boyle $3,000
– Gus Edwards $2,600
– Miles Boykin $1,800
– Seth Roberts $1,200
– Hayden Hurst $800
– Justice Hill $200
Lamar Jackson is the priciest player on tonight’s slate tonight but with good reason. I am also going to go out on a limb and say he will also be the most popular play tonight as well. Which means to differentiate yourself you will need to find creative ways to stack Ravens receivers with him to stand out. Easier said than done.
Let’s stay on Lamar tonight and present the argument that he may be the only Raven you need in a winning lineup. Last week in his 4 Touchdown victory, Jackson hit 9 different receivers 222 air yards. I mean I think I listed 9 pass catchers above … but if you look at it closer that would mean each of those 9 targets averaged 24 yards receiving. A stat line like that is not going to win you a tournament if you have 3 of those Ravens paired with Lamar.
Since the bye week Jackson has an average completion rate of 78%. He has thrown for 608 yards and has 7 passing touchdowns. Also since the bye he is averaging 11 rushing attempts per game. He has rushed for 205 yards and scored 3 rushing touchdowns. It will be difficult to fit in a full roster of top players if you put Lamar in as Captain, but how could you not put him in that seat tonight. Due to the cost to the rest of your flex spots, I also feel like starting Lamar as Captain may be a bit contrarian tonight as well.
While it is true Lamar’s passing game runs through both Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown, one contrarian move may to be to leave one of them off your stack with Lamar. In particular, the cheaper one of the two in Brown – as players who avoid using both players will likely leave the more expensive Andrews off for salary relief. Another reason to leave Brown off is the Jalen Ramsey factor (remember – he’s a RAM now!). However I do expect both Andrews and Brown to be popular tonight and both are excellent plays, I just wanted to share some strategy that I will be employing tonight.
I should also mention that the Rams defensive front is fearsome and features one of the best pass rushers in the game in Aaron Donald. So I while doubt this will be a game where Lamar runs totally rampant… I am not so afraid of the Rams pass rush to not also respect Lamar’s rushing ability and what it can do for play action as well as his own designed rushes. I think Lamar ultimately is the slate breaker tonight.
But last week Jackson hit 9 different receivers through the air, right? Well who were they? Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst, Willie Snead, Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin and his running backs. Setting the running backs aside for a minute, the issue I have in using any of these guys is that any of them could go off just as easily as any of them nab 1 catch and that being a touchdown or any of them could be complete busts. Gun to my head, I think it would be sneaky to play Andrews with either Boyle or Hurst. I also think that Seth Roberts could be a very sneaky play tonight at a mint price. Lastly Willie Snead can be a 5 for 50 and a score guy any week … but I’m not building a lineup on any of them – as sneaky as that sounds to do. I just don’t trust their volume and potential for a “big” game the way I do Lamar, Andrews, Brown or (as you will see) the running backs.
So let’s talk about those Ravens running backs! The clear cut number 1 is of course Ingram BUT Gus Edwards has been lingering … like last week where Gus the Bus trucked for 112 yards and a touchdown on 8 touches. Ingram however also had a monster fantasy game due to 85 total yards and two receiving touchdowns. With the discount you save with Ingram as Captain, I could see him being the most popular Captains pick tonight. However keep in mind Edwards has 1 more rushing touchdowns than Ingram since the bye – so he is involved. I think both backs are roster-able tonight and a very sneaky stack option with Lamar instead of one of his pass catchers…
Last thing I’d like to highlight is the Baltimore Defense who I also expect to be extremely popular. In fact I’d bet the most correlation you see on lineups tonight will be Ravens Defense with Greg Zuerlein. Which makes sense game script wise. While the Ravens defense has the potential to break the slate with Jarod Goff under center for the Rams … I am concerned that with all of the Rams receivers healthy, Jarod Goff may not implode. Teams that implicit the stop Cooper Kupp stop the Rams tactic are going to be burned by Cooks and Woods. Teams that decide to shut down Cooks and Woods are going to get burned by play action with Gurley and Kupp as the focus in the middle of the field. While I think the Ravens Defense forces a turnover or two and gets to Goff more than once with a sack or four – I do see the Rams figuring a way to keep this game close. (Yes, I know I am probably on an island on that one but hopefully my island has rum on it). My point is, I don’t know if the Ravens defense will be the must play that their expected ownership has them at. Just be warned. Also Justin Tucker is a hall of fame kicker for sure. I don’t see him kicking more field goals than extra points tonight though and for that reason the salary savings just aren’t worth it for me. Just my opinion of course.
The Rams ￼
– Cooper Kupp $9,800
– Todd Gurley $8,800
– Jarod Goff $8,400
– Robert Woods $7,000
– Brandin Cooks $6,600
– Gerald Everett $4,800
– Greg Zuerlein $3,800
– Josh Reynolds $3,400
– Malcolm Brown $2,200
– Tyler Higbee $1,000
– Darrell Henderson $600
First off, kudos to Draft King’s on the Rams pricing. You could fit a whole roster of Rams studs in a lineup and still have room for a quality Raven. However sometimes I think Draft King’s does this as a bit of a trap, for your cash (haha). If they make the underdog so cheap it can easily lull people thinking they are being sneaky by rostering a whole host of the top underdog choices with a stud from the other side. I could see Mark Ingram being the highest owned Captain pick tonight as I mentioned but I could also see a Lamar Jackson Captained, all Rams team also being a popular choice. So be forewarned. (I have seen on some industry sites the 1-5 Raven to Rams lineup isn’t overly popular, so it may be a way to go – but it isn’t a guarantee. You are still rostering 5 Rams remember. Be careful with your choices)
By the way, could you imagine any game at the same time last season where the Rams were “underdogs” – what a difference a year makes!
Yet here we are. And where we are is a situation where the Rams are facing the most blitz heavy defensive line in football. Due to this it shouldn’t surprise you that Jarod Goff isn’t the most expensive Ram available. I’m worried about young Jarod tonight. I think Draft King’s is too. However, for the first time in a long time – all of Jarod Goff’s weapons are available to him. The security blanket of Cooper Kupp. The reliable 3rd down specialist in Robert Woods. The deep ball threat in Brandin Cooks. Not to mention the thumper in Todd Gurley and the big body of Gerald Everett too. If Goff can find a way to get a 2 second drop back going and if the Rams offensive line can find away to give Todd Gurley solid zone run blocking – there is a way that the Rams keep this game competitive – maybe even win. Now that is a lot to ask for or expect, but it could happen.
So what are the Rams to you tonight. Well – you need a Rams pivot in your lineup because Draft King’s won’t let you roster all Ravens. So let’s start with your best options for that pivot.
Cooper Kupp – this does have the makings of a Cooper Kupp game. First, Kupp has been most effective when both Woods and Cooks are on the field – which will happen tonight. Second, the Ravens for all their might have had holes in slot coverage – partially due to being the most Blitz happy team in the NFL. Additionally I like Kupp tonight because of the intangible – the same intangible that exists with Lamar Jackson when he is running. It’s Kupp’s ability to extend plays by breaking tackles and speed that has made him Jarod Goff’s go to. I expect a lot of Cooper Kupp tonight. His price tag is a little prohibitive but he may be worth every penny.
Todd Gurley – I have been riding this theory that the Rams were saving Gurley for their playoff push and now that the window is closing on even a playoff berth I think Coach McVay is letting big Todd loose. That is a good thing because I love watching Todd Gurley play football. It is also a good thing tonight as the Ravens are going to rush the hell out of Jarrod Goff. Gurley in the flat. Gurley over the middle. Gurley screen. Gurley draw to the right, Gurley draw to the left. Let’s go! The Ravens are allowing an average of 89 yards on the ground. I’ll take 89 and a Touchdown from Gurley tonight and with his price under 9k, he makes for a great Rams pivot.
Robert Woods – the thing I like about Woods is his reliability. I don’t mean his reliable fantasy production I mean how it is clear he is a first look for Goff when Goff is in trouble. He is a versatile player too. He is great running the ball on end around and he is a great route runner as well. I am worried about Woods tonight however. After watching the Patriots take on the Ravens and lose with a 100% underneath passing game, I think there will be two ways Goff goes with the ball and that will be the slot to Kupp and deep to Cooks. Part of this has to do with how much I think the Ravens will allow the Rams to make it to the red zone and part of this has to do with how long Goff is able to hang onto the ball to let plays develop in the of the middle of the field. By the way I share the same concern for Gerald Everett especially with the Raven’s 5th ranked Tight End coverage. That being said Woods has the ability to be a slate breaker and he wi be significantly under owned versus Kupp or even Everett for that matter so he is in my player pool.
Brandin Cooks – Brandin Cooks is exactly what you want as a tournament play. With as much of a chance to break a slate or bust a lineup, he offers little in the way of in between. Thus the magic of this Rams offense. Of the three receivers tonight I’d be shocked if Cooks isn’t the least owned – possible the least owned Ram. His price, potential lack of ownership and his opportunity all demand you take a look. But it comes with risk. His concussion history including his most recent one, make him a potential for injury more than any other Rams player going into a game. However don’t be surprised if he catches two deep balls, one for a score either.
Gerald Everett – I discussed him briefly above but let me add that with all three Rams receivers on the field I don’t see Everett getting a lot of targets or catches. However in the Red Zone he certainly will be a target. The issue again is how many red zone trips the Ravens will allow … I am projecting that number to be low. Also I think the hype on Everett will push his ownership up as well. I’d rather have Woods or Cooks – but that’s just me.
Malcolm Brown – There seems to be a large narrative that Malcolm Brown or even Darryl Henderson are usurping Todd Gurley’s usage. At least since the bye, that has not been the case as Brown has had 5 or fewer touches and Henderson less. However in Browns case he has had a rushing touchdown – McVay has publicly said it just so happened when Brown was on the field they were in the red zone etc. I tend to believe that only because of Gurley’s usage since the bye. So while sneaky plays, I don’t like Brown or Henderson being a real difference for you tonight. Barring a Gurley injury, both are too Red Zone/Touchdown dependent and again I’d rather lean on the Rams that I think will get the most volume.
Greg Zuerlein – on a Raven’s heavy lineup using Greg The Leg as the Ram pivot is totally in play tonight. The Rams will take points as they can get them and if the Ravens do prevent a lot of Red Zone trips for the Rams, we’ll be seeing a lot of Zuerlein. At $3,800 too, I will be taking advantage of the salary savings.
Rams Defense – I think the Rams Defense will go overlooked tonight especially with the Ravens defense being (likely) so popular. But let’s be honest, as good as Lamar Jackson has been – it hasn’t always been so clean. The Rams have an excellent pass rush and pass rusher in Aaron Donald. They also have a decent secondary headed by an elite talent in Jaylen Ramsey. Is it too far of a stretch of the imagination to think 4+ sacks, an interception (possibly a pick 6) and a fumble recovery (or even a recovery for a score) couldn’t happen with a defensive pedigree like that? I think the Rams Defense could be a very contrarian play – especially on a Rams heavy lineup that features Kupp and Gurley.
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!