DFS Showdown Tips: Browns-Ravens
The 1st question for building lineups tonight centers on 2 injuries.
Are Kareem Hunt and Marquise Brown ready to play? The answer for both is expected to be yes, but we’ll need to check the inactives to confirm before finalizing our lineups.
The next question: How should we expect this game to go?
With Lamar Jackson back from his Week 11 illness, Baltimore is a 3-point home favorite. That number has come down a half-point from where the Vegas line opened, perhaps in part because of Hunt’s anticipated return from IR.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any matchup from this season to help set our expectations. Last year’s 2 meetings found the Ravens loading up on points: 38 in their season-opening clash, then 47 in the Week 14 rematch.
Lamar Jackson notoriously took a break into the locker room in the midst of that meeting but returned to pilot the final 2 scoring drives. He racked up 124 rushing yards and 3 total TDs in that contest. He had thrown 3 TD passes in 3 straight meetings before that.
Cleveland hits this round with a pair of good defensive performances among its past 3 outings. But those games sandwiched the team’s worst defensive outing of the year -- by Football Outsiders’ DVOA -- in a loss to the Patriots.
Let’s check tonight’s values …
Latavius Murray pops as the top DK value in our chart, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a better play than Devonta Freeman. The key difference between them is that Freeman costs nearly twice as much in showdown salary on DK. Freeman remained the backfield leader last week, though, with Murray’s return from an ankle sprain. He played 47 snaps to Murray’s 30, logged 16 carries to Murray’s 10 and easily beat out Murray in passing-game usage. Freeman played 30 such snaps vs. 16 for Murray and tied for 2nd on the team with 6 targets (catching all of them).
Cleveland has been tougher in run D than vs. the pass this season, but the Browns have gotten worse in that area lately. The past 4 games have included 4 of their 5 worst rush-defense performances -- by DVOA -- including the worst and 3rd worst over the past 2 games.
The Browns’ offense, of course, has looked even rougher. But a large part of that has been the backfield health issues. In addition to the calf injury that has kept Kareem Hunt out since Week 6, Chubb has loss time to his own calf injury and COVID.
Hunt saw 13 targets across last year’s 2 meetings with Baltimore and returns to find a Baltimore D dealing with injuries at every level. There’s upside here.
Chubb only got 10 carries in the Week 1 blowout loss but rebounded for a 17-82-2 rushing line in the 2nd (plus 2 catches for 21 more yards). Baltimore’s run D this season has been up and down.
The Ravens have proved friendly to TE scoring, allowing the 4th most PPR points per game to the position. The notably held Dolphins “TE” Mike Gesicki without a catch on 7 targets in the Week 11 Thursday-night clash, but Gesicki faced CB coverage on most of his routes.
Browns TE Austin Hooper should see more traditional TE coverage and thus finds a favorable setting for fantasy upside -- especially with Baltimore missing starting safety DeShon Elliott (IR).
Even if Marquise Brown is good to go, it’s tough to say he’s a better play than Rashod Bateman here, at $4000 more in salary. Bateman has yet to see fewer than 6 targets in a game. His target share had been even stronger before last week’s Tyler Huntley game.