The 5-2 Ravens will host the 8-0 Patriots tonight in the week’s showcase matchup for real football.
Taking it off the fake football slate means we don’t need to assess Lamar Jackson’s chances for our GPP lineups or ponder whether Baltimore’s improving -- and healthier -- pass defense damages the outlook for Julian Edelman.
But the 2 teams present an interesting showdown slate. Does Jackson combine with the still-climbing salary to take the Patriots defense out of range? Is predicting the New England backfield too difficult? And how does the matchup affect Baltimore’s non-QB skill guys?
Let’s check the value charts ...
Justice Hill and Hayden Hurst stand out because they are tiny-salary guys who actually got projections this week. Patriots RB Brandon Bolden sits near Hurst in salary ($1,800) but didn’t get numbers from us this week. That’s because Rex Burkhead’s return last Sunday from a 3-week absence produced just 1 target and 0 touches for Bolden. You can still consider the #4 RB if you get to your last showdown roster spot with $1800 left. One touch that gets Bolden into the end zone would turn him into gold at that salary.
Beyond the cheapies, Benjamin Watson looks intriguing. Football Outsiders rates Baltimore 2nd, 19th and 8th in coverage vs. the 3 classes of WRs they track -- 26th in TE coverage. The Ravens also check in just 20th in RB coverage by those ratings, which helps the outlook for James White. We’ll need to confirm White’s status tonight before the game, which he enters questionable because of a toe injury in practice. White drew 8+ targets in 4 straight outings before last week’s win over the Browns.
Playing a defense against Lamar Jackson feels scary. But it’s worth noting that only Jackson has averaged more DK points per game than the Patriots’ D among all “players” in this game.
It’s tough to build a lineup for this one without including both QBs. White turns up as an even better value on FanDuel than DraftKings. Watson -- at $1000 less in salary -- looks like a higher-ceiling target than Mohamed Sanu. The former Falcon played just 54% of the snaps in his first Pats game last week. We’d bet on that growing, but who knows for sure?
The smaller range of salaries on FD makes the lowest-priced guys far less relevant. Rex Burkhead is the cheapest player who looks at all interesting. He touched the ball just 4 times against Cleveland in his Week 8 return from injury and remained limited in practice this week. So he’s a risk/reward play.