What a mess this game was! With the way that these two teams had been playing of late, you had to believe it would either be a close shootout or a close slugfest. I would not have seen either of these teams jumping out to a 24–0 by halftime. It was 24–0 at the end of the third quarter as well. The Ravens just jumped on Miami right away and never let the Dolphins up off the mat. Rather surprising. It may speak to how good the Ravens really are and not as much a commentary on Miami?
We’re about to find out how good the Ravens are because it would not shock me to see them go to New England and straight-up knock off the Patriots. I don’t mean that in the easy ‘you never know with these two teams in the scenario’ way – I mean the Ravens may be a better team than the Patriots right now. They have a better defense, and arguably more weapons all around on offense (outside of QB) – if they’ll actually use them (Dixon, Perriman, Waller often go to waste). The X-factor is always Tom Brady finds a way to beat all, and Belichick always finds away. If the Ravens beat the Patriots, then all the Super Bowl talk is going to start. If the Ravens lose, and the Steelers win their game…then there’s a panic as to whether Baltimore even makes the playoffs. What a huge game this week for Baltimore.
It was also a big game for Baltimore just in case the Ravens finish strong, but if Pittsburgh gets hot too, then the Steelers could end up winning the division. This win gives the Ravens a tiebreaker over Miami for the final wild card spot – you never know. They’re both 7–5 right now. Miami could’ve made a huge statement about their team and their future with a win in this game, and maybe they did – a total ass-whipping playing up north in the cold. The Dolphins may have proved that they are not ready for primetime/just proved what we all already suspected.
I think the Ravens are going to finish 9–7, and just outside of the final wild card. Miami has a better chance of getting to 10 wins, based on the schedule, but because they’re Miami they’ll likely finish 9–7 as well, and just outside the playoffs.
There wasn’t a ton to take away from this game because it got out of hand so quickly, and then the normal flow of things got so warped.
— Jay Ajayi (12-61-0, 6-26-0/7 targets) is becoming an interesting fantasy story. The guy goes from absolutely nothing – so bad he was benched, so bad he couldn’t beat out old Arian Foster or terrible rookie Kenyon Drake. Then suddenly the Dolphins get their entire offensive line healthy and in sync, and Ajayi becomes the best running back to ever play in the NFL…for about three games. After his three-game amazement, the offensive line got hacked up again and Ajayi hasn’t rushed for 80+ yards in the last four games. He’s gone back to just ‘very average’/good.
Was the 204-214-111 yards rushing in a game stretch from several weeks ago something he’ll tell his grandkids about because it’s the only highlight of his career, and he never rushes 100+ yards in a game again?
I wish I knew the answer for sure.
I don’t think he’s a wonderful running back talent, to begin with, but he’s competent enough, obviously. To me, he’s just a giant version of Christine Michael or another version of Matt Jones – guys who run straight ahead and go as far as the hole will take them…only Ajayi had a stretch where his offensive line was as good as there was in the league, and they were opening giant holes for him. A bet on him is a bet on the offensive line staying healthy. It’s not a crazy bet. If someone wants to panic sell him to you for an RB2 or RB2.5 type exchange – I explore it. There aren’t many running backs where the coaching staff is totally sold out to that one guy – Ajayi is one of them. For now.
You don’t want to overpay for Ajayi long term because, don’t forget, he has a degenerative knee issue. Someday that thing is going to pop and his career will essentially be over. If the Dolphins have half a brain they’ll draft one or two big running backs like him for the future in 2017. Ajayi has a murky future.
— For the future, in PPR, I’d probably rather have Kenneth Dixon (6-56-0, 4-21-0/4 targets). For the rest of 2016, I’d rather have Jay Ajayi, but long-term PPR it’s definitely Kenneth Dixon.
The PPR side of the equation is beginning to rise up with him. The kind of guy that’s going to get 4–5+ catches per game depending upon the game flow. He’s going to take 5–12 carries depending on how well Terrance West is doing, but when it comes to the passing game – Dixon is the clear choice. The Ravens are finally exploring that more and more in games of late. In his last four games, Dixon has catch counts of 5-0-4-4 (3.3 per game).
It’s not so much that Dixon has growing targets/catches, but it’s the manner in which he is getting them. He’s seeing screens and flare passes, but he’s also being sent downfield on long wheel routes etc. Like a real pass-game weapon. He’s like a better running-of-the-ball version of Shane Vereen.
You can start Dixon as an RB3/Flex in PPR with some level of confidence week to week. He’s still behind the West for the goal line touches, so you’re dependent upon him getting those heavy targets in games.
— DeVante Parker (3-34-1/4 targets) still looks to be not 100%. He’s playing through pain and did get a TD in this game, but only four targets. Once it got out of hand it looked like Tannehill was just dumping passes to Jarvis Landry (11-87-0/14 targets) to get the hell out of there. Tannehill was throwing interceptions all over the place, so he dumped a bunch of passes to Landry and Ajayi to play it safe in my opinion. I don’t think this is any indicator that Parker has not achieved or has lost his sudden most favored WR status. However, Parker may not ‘be right’ again for the rest of the year.
— I’ve been sleeping on Miami safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (10 tackles, 1 PD) of late. He doesn’t totally catch my attention on tape, but his 10 tackles in this game did. He is starting and giving a good effort and racking IDP numbers. He’s averaging 7.5 tackles per game in his last four games. I don’t see any reason he’s going to slow down from here.