Baltimore Ravens (6-3, 3-6 ATS) at Chicago Bears (3-6, 4-5), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Ravens Stats and Trends
The Ravens had their 51-game streak with 14+ points snapped last week. Only the Patriots 63-game streak from 2009-2013 lasted longer.
Baltimore is 1-4 ATS in its last five games, 1-4 ATS in its last five road games, and 1-6 ATS in its last seven games as a favorite.
The Ravens are 6-1 toward unders in their last seven road games.
Lamar Jackson and OC Greg Roman had no answers for Miami’s blitz-heavy defense in their 10-point performance against the Dolphins. Jackson averaged a season-low 5.5 YPA and he absorbed four sacks, and the Ravens averaged just 4.3 yards per play and converted just 2-of-14 third-downs attempts. Lamar has averaged fewer than 6.5 YPA in three of his last four games, and he’s averaging 6.0 YPC in that same span. The Bears had allowed 23+ FP in three straight games before taking on Ben Roethlisberger before their bye.
Marquise Brown saw 12+ targets for a third straight game last week, but he could muster only 6/37 receiving on his 13 looks against the Dolphins. He’s averaging 9.1 targets and 5.8 catches per game to go along with his career-high 13.8 YPR through nine games. The Bears are giving up a generous 14.6 YPR to WRs and Diontae Johnson had 5/56 receiving in this matchup the last time out.
Rashod Bateman has posted double-digit FP in his last three games after making his NFL debut just four contests ago. He posted 6/80 receiving on eight targets against the Dolphins, and he ran double the routes (32 to 16) of Sammy Watkins in his first game back from his hamstring injury — slot WR Devin Duvernay finished third in routes with 30. The Bears are giving up the fifth-most receiving yards per game (185.9) to WRs this season.
Mark Andrews is coming off his second-best performance of the season with 6/63/1 receiving for 18.3 FP. He’s now posted 45+ receiving yards in eight straight games, and he’s recorded 5+ catches in seven contests in that same span. The Bears had defended TEs pretty well until Pat Freiermuth ripped them for 5/43/2 receiving the last time out.
Latavius Murray will likely return to the lineup this week and Ty’Son Williams will likely be in the lineup after the Ravens released Le’Veon Bell this week. Devonta Freeman has played the best of these RBs this season, and he’s seen a season-best 58% snap share and double-digit carries in each of the last two games. Freeman’s run of 11+ FP with a touchdown came to an end last week against the Dolphins. The Bears limited Najee Harris to 22/62/1 rushing (2.8 YPC) the last time out.
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears 2-7 ATS in their last nine games as an underdog.
Chicago is 6-2 toward unders in its last eight games.
David Montgomery came off the IR in Week 9 after a four-week layoff, and he immediately stepped right back into a bellcow role over Khalil Herbert. He played season-high 85% snap share, and he posted 13/63 rushing (4.9 YPC) and 2/17 receiving against the Steelers. The Ravens are allowing 4.0 YPC and Dalvin Cook hung 17/110 rushing against them in Week 9.
Justin Fields has finally started to run, which elevated him to the QB5 in Weeks 8-9 before their bye. He started off quite slow in Week 9 against the Steelers, but he ended up with 291/1 passing and 8/45 rushing. Fields has yet to throw for multiple TDs in each of his first seven starts, but he’s run for 38+ yards in four straight games. The Ravens have yet to be tested by a mobile QB, but they are giving up a league-high 298.6 passing yards per game to QBs.
Darnell Mooney has hung 12+ FP in three of his last four games, and he posted a season-best 20.6 FP before their Week 10 bye. He finished with 3/41/1 receiving on six targets and he added a 15-yard rushing touchdown against the Steelers. The Ravens are giving up a generous 14.8 YPR to WRs, and the Dolphins had three different WRs reach double-digit FP last week.
Allen Robinson posted season-highs in receiving yards (68) and FP (10.8) against the Steelers before their bye. He’s failed to top four catches in a game since Andy Dalton was quarterbacking the team in the season opener. The Ravens are giving up the eighth-fewest FPG (33.9) to WRs this season.
Cole Kmet failed to hit double-digit FP in his first eight games, but he got there against the Steelers with season-bests in catches (6), yards (87), and targets (8). Kmet has seen 6+ targets in three straight games and he has 3+ catches in four straight contests. The Ravens are still giving up the third-most FPG (17.5) to TEs despite Mike Gesicki throwing up an air ball last week.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 29.3 (30th)
Plays per game: 75.3 (2nd)
Pass: 60.4% (18th) | Run: 39.6% (15th)
Pace: 28 (24th)
Plays per game: 63.4 (28th)
Pass: 53.2% (32nd) | Run: 46.8% (1st)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
This is the slowest game of the week, by far, in adjusted combined pace between these two deliberate offenses. As Brolley noted above, the Bears have been a dead under team this season because of their lackadaisical offense and this is certainly a spot for concern against an extremely aggressive Ravens front-seven. Baltimore is blitzing their opponents 33% of the time (third-highest rate) and we all saw what happened back in Week 7 when a similarly aggressive Bucs’ defense (40% blitz rate) shut down Justin Fields. Whether or not this game shoots out and ends up being back and forth is entirely dependent upon Chicago continuing their success out of the bye after showing signs of life vs. the 49ers (22 points scored) and Steelers (27) in Weeks 8-9.
The Ravens’ seasonal run / pass splits still make them out to be a run-first team, but make no mistake: They are putting more on Lamar Jackson’s plate than ever. Over the Ravens last six games, they have gone 57% pass on early-downs (13th-highest rate) which is a massive transformation from last year when they only passed on 43% of early-downs (lowest rate in the league). As a result, Lamar has seen a massive spike in his passing volume and is averaging a career-high 34.3 passes per game. He legitimately has a 30-point ceiling in fantasy every week from here on out.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
While it took Justin Fields some time to acclimate to the speed of the NFL, things appear to be slowing down for the rookie. Considering Chicago has played the fifth-most difficult schedule to date, it’s not all that surprising it took Fields six games to begin delivering the numbers we expect from the tremendous numbers he put into the Ohio State record books. Over the last two weeks, Fields averaged 24.2 FPG against San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
This is a plus spot for Lamar Jackson. With Jackson utilizing the third-highest rate of play action this season, the Bears will need to do far better than allowing the second-most FP/CS (0.501) in defense of play action. That said, it’s unlikely that the threat created by the duo of Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell will fool Chicago into too many play action missteps.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Last week, the Dolphins got Ravens QB Lamar Jackson all discombooberated by blitzing him incessantly — on half of his dropbacks. The results were ugly.
In a 22-10 loss to Dolphins, Lamar Jackson faced a DB blitz on 24 of 48 dropbacks -- the most any QB has faced in six seasons -- and was held to his fewest points in 46 regular-season starts (previous low was 17 points).https://t.co/z9B3GNo4co— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) November 12, 2021
It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Bears choose to play Lamar this week, because they are not a high-percentage blitz team. In fact, only the Raiders (13.8%) blitz less than do the Bears (16.2%) — so Chicago blitzing Lamar would be completely against their defensive foundation (Miami, meanwhile, blitzes more than any team but the Bucs). It’s certainly possible DC Sean Desai builds a lot of packages specifically for this game, but my expectation is Lamar will have a lot more success against the Bears than he did against the Dolphins.
Hopefully, he’ll have WR Marquise Brown (thigh) to help him. Brown is dealing with a thigh injury this week, but it hasn’t been uncommon to see him listed on injury reports and play on Sunday. From a usage standpoint, Brown is still one of the best fantasy receivers in the game. Here’s Scott Barrett from the Week 11 XFP Report:
“Brown ranks 11th among all WRs in XFP/G (17.0) and 7th in FPG (17.8). And although he flopped last week, scoring just 9.7 fantasy points, I’m more encouraged now than ever before.
That’s because Brown walked away with 25.2 XFP (2nd-most on the week), on the back of 15 targets, 165 air yards, and 3 deep targets.
Over the last four weeks, Brown leads all players at all positions in XFP/G, averaging 25.6. He’s finished 1st, 3rd, and 2nd among all WRs in each of his last three games, averaging 14.3 targets, 186.7 air yards, and 3.3 deep targets per game over this span.
This is partly a function of negative gamescript, with Baltimore trailing on 68% of their plays over this span. Keep in mind, Baltimore led all teams in point differential over the prior two seasons (+414), and with an astounding 58% more than the next-closest team. Baltimore has been forced to fully abandon the run, due to this increase in negative gamescript, but also because they’ve found little success with their string of backups. This has led Jackson to throw 40-plus times in 3 of his last 5 games, though he’s reached that mark just one other time in his four-year career.
And, clearly, Brown has been the primary beneficiary. Though, I’d temper expectations this week. The on-paper matchup is slightly above average — the Bears rank middle of the pack in FPG allowed to outside WRs, though 5th-worst in FPG allowed to WRs on deep passes — but Baltimore is favored by 6.0-points.”
If Brown can’t play, I would hope that means more work for rookie Rashod Bateman. On Lamar’s 53 dropbacks against Miami, Bateman ran 34 routes for a middling 64% involvement rate. In their two previous games, Bateman was involved on 78% of Ravens’ pass plays — Sammy Watkins is back, but he shouldn’t be playing at Bateman’s expense. Baltimore also essentially made Devin Duvernay – not Bateman or Watkins – their full-time slot receiver in Week 10, too. Duvernay ran just two fewer routes than Bateman and aligned in the slot on 28 of his 32 routes (88%).
Our Jake Tribbey thinks the recent run of success for Justin Fields has made him an appealing QB streamer, and I agree. I got burned a few weeks ago with his negative-point disaster against the Bucs, but his last two games have been a big step in the right direction.
“Just when we were ready to give up on Fields, he pulls us back in. In Weeks 8 and 9 Fields averaged 21.7 FPG, in part thanks to his Konami code upside, recording 10.4 rushing FPG in that stretch. Can Fields be confidently relied on in fantasy football now? Maybe, but it’s, at the very least, hard to be confident given that Fields was on pace to have the 2nd-worst fantasy QB season of the last 20 years from Weeks 1 through 5. Still, if Fields has ‘figured it out’ then he could be considered a high-end QB2 going forward, which isn’t just enough to make him a solid streaming candidate, it may be enough to make Fields a worthy fantasy starter in 12+ team leagues. But we are dealing with just two games of usable play from Fields, so keep in mind that’s just speculative at this point.
For Week 11, I like Fields as a high-risk, high-reward streaming candidate — essentially the polar opposite of fellow rookie QB Mac Jones. The risk comes mainly from Baltimore’s aggressive style of defense — they have 53 pressures when rushing 6 or more defenders, good for 6th in the NFL. Fields himself has struggled mightily under pressure, recording the 4th-worst PFF passing grade when blitzed (56.1). With that said, Baltimore does rank middle of the pack in the other important QB defense metrics, and if Fields can avoid crumbling under pressure, his chances at another compelling fantasy performance are fairly high, especially when you consider that he is already one of the most talented rushing QBs in the NFL.”
While it’s still like pulling teeth to get production out of Allen Robinson (who is dealing with a hamstring coming out of the bye and is doubtful) or Darnell Mooney, the standard for production at tight end is much lower, which is why I have my eye on Cole Kmet this week.
Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote last week:
“As Justin Fields grows, tight end Cole Kmet grows with him.
It’s not a coincidence. Kmet, the 2020 second-round pick from Notre Dame, has become more and more of a go-to target for Fields. He had six receptions for a career-high 87 yards (14.5 average) against the Steelers on Monday night.
In his last four games, the 6-6, 260-pound Kmet has 18 receptions for 203 yards (11.3 average). Modest numbers for most big-offense tight ends, but a big sign of progress for the Bears’ offense. Kmet also had a key block on a 21-yard run by David Montgomery against Pittsburgh.”
If ARob misses as expected, I could see Mooney getting absolutely peppered with targets in this matchup. He’s at least shown some life with Fields lately.
Fields could be getting some more help soon, too. The Bears’ protection has not been good this year, but rookie tackle Teven Jenkins — a first-round talent who fell to the second round of the NFL Draft because of injury problems — could return from a back injury in the coming weeks. It’s possible the Bears try Jenkins out at right tackle so they can keep Jason Peters at LT.
Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo said the team plans to alternate Teven Jenkins between left and right tackle during practice.— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) November 15, 2021
Jenkins worked at left tackle today, which he has told Castillo is now his more comfortable position despite playing right tackle in college.