Baltimore Ravens (1-1, 1-1 ATS) at Detroit Lions (0-2, 1-1), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Ravens 28.5, Lions 21
Spread/Total Movements: 9.5 to 7.5
Ravens Injuries to Watch: EDGE Justin Houston, DL Brandon Williams, EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, DL Justin Madubuike (all COVID, all out), QB Lamar Jackson (illness, questionable), T Ronnie Stanley (ankle, out), S DeShon Elliott (concussion, questionable), WR Marquise Brown (ankle, questionable)
Lions Injuries to Watch: LB Jamie Collins (trade block, out), WR Tyrell Williams (concussion, IR), CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (quad, IR), EDGE Trey Flowers (shoulder, questionable), RB D’Andre Swift (groin, questionable)
Brolley’s Ravens Stats and Trends
The Ravens are 7-1 ATS in their last eight regular season games, and they’re 8-2 overall with the playoffs included.
Baltimore has played under the total in six of its last eight road games.
Lamar Jackson has thrown for 235+ yards and one touchdown while adding 85+ rushing yards in each of his first two games. The Lions allowed 255/4 passing to Aaron Rodgers last week on just 27 attempts after allowing 314/1 passing on 25 passes to Jimmy Garoppolo in the season opener.
Marquise Brown has posted 85+ receiving yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last 10 games (postseason included), and he has six catches in each of his first two games this season. The Lions have been torched by #1 WRs to open the season in Davante Adams (8/121 receiving) and Deebo Samuel (9/189/1).
Mark Andrews has disappointed with just 8/77 receiving through two games, but he’s run a route on 93% of Lamar’s dropbacks and he owns an 89% catch rate on a solid 16% target share. This could be the spot he busts out against a Lions’ defense that’s given up 3/52/1 receiving to Robert Tonyan and 4/78 to George Kittle in the early going.
Sammy Watkins has four catches in each of the first two games and he owns a promising 25% target share so far. The Lions have been torched by top WRs through two games but they’ve limited secondary WRs.
Ty’Son Williams has played on half the snaps through two games, and he’s averaging a healthy 6.5 YPC with five catches. He also just missed out on a touchdown for the second straight week when he fumbled at the goal line, which was recovered by Devin Duvernay. Latavius Murray has played on 33% of the snaps and he’s scored touchdowns in each game, including a goal-line touchdown last week. The Lions gave up the most fantasy production to RBs last season and they’re giving up the second-most (37.4 FP) through two weeks after Aaron Jones torched them for four touchdowns.
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
The Lions have played over the total in four of their last five games.
The Lions’ backfield has been split up as anticipated before the season, with D’Andre Swift playing 66% of the snaps and Jamaal Williams seeing 36% through two weeks. Swift posted a solid 4/41 receiving on five targets and 8/37 rushing while Williams managed just 37 scrimmage yards in his return to Green Bay. The Ravens are allowing just 44.5 rushing yards per game and 2.8 YPC to RBs so far, but they’ve at least given up 6.0/56.0 receiving per game.
Jared Goff has cleared 20+ FP for the second straight week with multiple touchdowns in both contests. He also has a surprising 60 rushing yards in the early going, which is just 48 yards away from his previous career-high of 108 yards set in 2018. Both Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr have thrown for 340+ yards with multiple scores against the Ravens to start the season.
T.J. Hockenson has been the focal point of the passing attack to open the season with a 22% target share and consecutive eight-catch games with touchdowns to open the season. The Ravens get another big test at TE after being roasted by Travis Kelce (7/109/1 receiving) and Darren Waller (10/105/1) through the first two weeks.
Tyrell Williams will look to return to the top of this jumbled Lions’ WR depth chart off his concussion suffered in Week 1. Quintez Cephus got elevated to the starting lineup last week after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the 49ers in Week 1. He paced Detroit’s receivers with 35 routes and 4/63/1 receiving against the Packers. The Ravens are giving up the ninth-most FPG (44.3) to WRs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-2 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.6 (17th)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 73.5 (5th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 46.8% (31st) | Run: 53.2% (2nd)
Week 1-2 – Pace: 32.5 (28th)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 72 (7th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 70.3% (3rd) | Run: 29.7% (30th)
While this game is the fifth-slowest on the slate in combined pace between these two teams, we still have plenty of scoring upside here and the books know it. Ravens-Lions has the sixth-highest total of the week due in large part to both defenses giving up points in spades to start the season. Baltimore’s two games have both gone well over the total this season and combined for 60 (vs. Raiders) and 71 (vs. Chiefs) points while the Lions are also 2-0 towards the over to start the year with 74 combined points scored in Week 1 (vs. 49ers) and 52 total last week (vs. Packers). While it’s no surprise that Detroit’s defense has struggled as they try to rebuild the roster, Baltimore’s secondary has really struggled with Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith both sidelined. The Ravens defense has been gashed for 8.9 YPA (eighth-most) and generated a sack on just 3.3% of their opponents dropbacks (fifth-lowest). This is the most underrated game for fantasy appeal this week.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
After missing the majority of training camp with a hamstring strain, Marquise Brown has flipped the script to propel himself into the WR1 conversation. A good amount of the credit goes to Lamar Jackson for shouldering the heavy burden of leading an offense without both ends of its supremely talented two-headed RB rotation. But none of that in any way discounts the work of Hollywood. He’s returning the favor of a massive 31% target share with a 125.5 passer rating when targeted.
Another script-flipper comes to us from the Detroit sideline. Jared Goff has made quite a first impression with his new team. If it continues, perhaps the Lions will consider foregoing a first-round QB in favor of adding desperately needed components to its defense. The next leg of Goff proving the job should be his to lose will be as host to Baltimore. After losing Marcus Peters, it seems DC Don Martindale has installed a new scheme to protect his outside corners. It’s a scheme that could work to the benefit of Goff, as well as Quintez Cephus — if Martindale decides to bring top CB Marlon Humphrey inside more to help cover TJ Hockenson.
If Humphrey does move inside, that leaves a juicy matchup for Cephus on Anthony Averett.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
NOTE: This game has massive shootout potential. While the Ravens could get CB Jimmy Smith for the first time this year as he makes his way back from an ankle injury, the Ravens placed four defensive contributors, and two starters, on the COVID-19 list on Friday.
While last week wasn’t the best game of Lamar Jackson’s career, it will be remembered for how much he battled in a huge win over the Chiefs, and fantasy players will certainly fondly recall his explosive second half to atone for early mistakes. Lamar is “questionable” with an illness this week, but he practiced in full on Friday and is fully expected to go.
After a very inauspicious start where he missed Marquise Brown on a sure-fire TD on the second play of the game and then threw a pick-six on the very next snap, Jackson ended his night 18-of-26 for 239 yards (1 TD, 2 INT) and was dynamic on the ground (16/107/2) en route to a 32.3 FP outing. While Jackson has been hit-or-miss as a passer through two games, his running ability has covered up any of his mistakes through the air and, once again, has been a difference-maker for fantasy. So far, only Derrick Henry (240) and Joe Mixon (196) have more rushing yards than Lamar (193). And, dating back to last season (including the playoffs), Jackson has rushed for over 80 yards seven times in his last 10 games. The Detroit defense is air, by the way. Start him!
As for Marquise Brown, he came into Week 3 with an ankle injury, played through it, and continued his torrid pace dating back to last season with 6/113/1 against the Chiefs. Over his last 10 games (including the playoffs), Hollywood is averaging 7.3 targets and 17.1 fantasy points per game while never dipping below 12.5 FP in a single game. For reference, 17.1 FPG would have tied him with DK Metcalf last year… and Metcalf was the WR9 in 2020. The Lions’ secondary, now down Jeff Okudah (Achilles), gave up big games to Deebo Samuel and Davante Adams, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had them beat deep multiple times last week. Start him! You could even convince me that Sammy Watkins, who is tied for 24th among WRs with 140 receiving yards, is worth a WR4/FLEX dart throw.
In the backfield, it’s likely going to continue to be a split with Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray leading the way, but you wonder if Murray will get more goal-line work now — Williams’ only goal-line carry this year was fumbled, and fortunately recovered by Devin Duvernay for a touchdown. Murray got the Ravens’ later goal-line opportunity, and turned it into a five-yard touchdown. Devonta Freeman will mix in, too. Williams has played about half the offensive snaps thus far, to 33% for Murray. I view Ty’Son as a RB2 and Latavius as a RB3.
At TE, I’m not panicking about Mark Andrews despite a somewhat slow start. His 58 routes are still tied for 4th among all TEs (SIS), and that’s a route on 86.6% of Lamar’s dropbacks. When the Ravens are throwing the ball, Andrews is almost always in there running routes.
Could Detroit be “fun bad?” This is a team that’s given up 79 points in two games, which is obviously good for fantasy for our purposes. But Jared Goff has also tied for the NFL lead with 93 pass attempts, and his 102 dropbacks are first in the NFL.
Additionally, Goff’s aDOT of 6.3 is 28th among all passers, which is fantastic for the players we want to use for fantasy — RBs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, and TE TJ Hockenson. Goff is 12th in the NFL in passing yards but 21st in completed air yards — his backs and Hock are doing work after the catch.
I don’t have to convince you that Hockenson is a good play against a Raven defense that has given up 100-yard games to both Darren Waller and Travis Kelce so far. While Waller and Kelce are indeed fantasy’s two best options at the position, Hockenson will be joining that conversation soon enough… if he hasn’t already. One huge difference that the new Lions staff has made with Hockenson is they are using him as a big receiver, and not just strictly an in-line, old school TE like last year’s staff. Hockenson did not have a single game above 20 FP in 2020 — he’s already done it twice in 2021.
Swift is currently the RB6 in total fantasy points, and he trails only Christian McCaffrey in receptions (12) and receiving yards (106) at the position. His 16 targets lead all RBs. He’s a must-start in a potential track meet. I’m not convinced Williams is more than a FLEX, but he’s still played a solid 36.7% of snaps in two games, and you saw in Week 1 he has blowup potential. Williams has the Lions’ lone goal-line carry this year. With the Ravens having four front-seven players on the COVID-19 list, including the monstrous Brandon Williams, these Lion backs have a lot more upside than you might have thought, with a higher floor.
If you’re going to play a single Lions’ WR, it should be the physical Quintez Cephus, who has taken advantage of the absence of Tyrell Williams (concussion) and has scored in each of the first two games. The Ravens have secondary problems, which could help Cephus come through as a low-end, deep league option.