*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Ravens led 13-7 at the half…Lamar Jackson hitting with a whirlwind on his first drive and then he went kinda quiet for a bit. What I forgot, until re-watching, was that the Bengals took a 21-13 lead in the 3rd quarter. LJax got tamed, to a degree, and the Bengals seized control. Jackson then rallied the troops back into the lead…and the win. A solid debut for Jackson + the win.
The Bengals blow a chance to stay strong in the wild card…losers of four of their last 5 games, now 5-5 and fading fast. 8-8 is now their projection for us to the finish. I don’t really care about the Bengals at this point…I just need 7 wins to payoff all my win total ‘over’ bets on them -- and that’s in peril now. OAK-DEN-CLE 2x to come gives me hope that there is two wins in there somewhere.
The Ravens hit 5-5 and stop their 3-game skid. We see the Ravens finishing 8-8 as well. Both CIN and BAL…not in the playoffs in the end.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Lamar Jackson (26-119-0, 13-19 for 150, 0 TD/1 INT) came out running, exactly as he should have. 45 yards rushing the first series and it looked like he might run for 200+ yards. The Bengals started playing LJax tighter and that pushed rookie UDFA RB Gus Edwards to a 100+ yard game.
Jackson was forced to throw more when the Bengals grabbed the lead in the 2nd-half, and LJax did what you’d think…play actions and roll-outs from the spread and the risk of him running kept Cincy at bay enough. He just dinked and dunked, as he does…and it worked. It’s his gift – fear of him running allows him to fake runs and drop quick passes on defenders worried about the run.
The fact that he ran 26 times…it means the will run 10-15-20+ times, easily, every game he starts this season. He’s a strong QB1 in 4pts per pass TD and QB1 in 6pts per pass TD the ROS…IF he plays. As soon as Harbaugh can – Flacco is going in. BUT Flacco may not be back…
Ride LJax while it lasts!!!
-- Speaking of Gus Edwards (17-115-1)…he did fine. No issues. Ran up the middle straight ahead in the college-spread offense like you’re supposed to. Don’t get cute, just run up the middle and go as far as the space takes you. He’s totally OK-ish. Nothing special. A million RBs could do the same.
Alex Collins (7-18-1) is a weak RB, as I’ve said since he was anointed as a star last year from a few decent games. Edwards could take out Collins, but not to a full degree…and maybe not at all once Flacco returns.
The one to watch – Ty Montgomery (5-0-0). He could do the same thing Edwards is, only better, if given a push. AND when Flacco returns, Montgomery is more suited at all aspects than Edwards…and Ty might takeout Collins. It’s likely too much of a mess and too deep a hole to climb for Montgomery…but he’s not dead yet.
-- All the TEs are dead with LJax, as are the WRs… Low odds at a pass TD, likely under 200 yards passing available most games…likely 10-15 completions only as well.
Nick Boyle (4-36-0/4) led the TEs in snaps and targets…Hurst-Andrews go into a deep freeze until Flacco returns. Boyle will play more with Jackson to be an extra blocker…and slip-surprise receiver.
John Brown (1-23-0/1) and Michael Crabtree (1-7-0/3) each had just 1 catch. Willie Snead (5-51-0/8) was the group leader, but yikes…
-- Joe Mixon (12-14-1, 3-38-0/3) really looks great but man is the blocking weak and the Ravens played a solid game on defense against him. It’s not Mixon…it’s the offense.
-- On the Video Q&A today, I talked about A.J. Green – I think when he comes back, he’s fine. Not hurt/lingering/limited. He hurt his toe a few weeks ago, saw a specialist, everything checked out…he just needed to rest it – like a sprain…a sprain where once healed, you’re good.
I’d be a buyer of AJG on the cheap because it feels like, to most, that this might hold AJG out for more time and be lingering/an issue. I think once he’s back…he’s back fully – and that may be back starting this week.
Which helps Tyler Boyd jump back into his normal role, and shifts John Ross’s role as ‘weapon’ again. Everyone is helped with AJG back.
-- Fantasy Player Notes for these two teams…
Baltimore has at KC, TB, at LAC in Weeks 14-16…good for the offense moving the ball, not so good for the DST. Who the QB is changes everything.
Cincy has @LAC-OAK-CLE – That Week 15 game could be a key opportunity for Mixon-AJG-Boyd-Dalton coming up big in a critical spot.
Snap Counts of Interest:
53 = Boyle
35 = Hurst
25 = Andrews
49 = Edwards
17 = Collins
09 = Montgomery
05 = Allen
55 = Uzomah
06 = Lengel
03 = Franks