NFL Grind Down Week 1: Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins

Vegas Overview

BAL @ MIA Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
MIA 6.5 37.5 15.5 260
BAL -6.5 37.5 22 -310

Spread Quick Take: I don’t like betting road TD favorites to cover the spread, so there is way more traditional betting value in taking the points and the Dolphins at home in the ever unpredictable Week 1. With that said, I wouldn’t bet that in a million years on this specific occasion. I’d lean the Ravens -6 if I can get that someplace, and they’ll win by a TD with a 7 out of 10 confidence level in my book.

Over/Under: A total of 37.5 is brutally low, but perhaps merited here. The Dolphins are liable to get shut out. However, their defense is so bad that my ever so slight lean is toward the over. All they have to do is accidentally score 13 points, and I think the Ravens can probably get to 25 and nudge this over the line. It’s just a 5.5 confidence level for me. I don’t have a strong take on that front.

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Kenyan Drake MIA RB Q Foot 8
Albert Wilson MIA WR Q Hip 7
DeVante Parker MIA WR Q Undisclosed 7
Seth Roberts BAL WR Q Undisclosed 4

Injuries to Monitor: We’re mostly not sweating any of these reports. Drake is the name to watch, as an absence from him would open the door for a cheap Dolphins RB that we probably don’t need. Still, Ballage is an emerging talent and even a bad matchup at this price is worth noting.

Other News and Notes: The Dolphins have been cleaning house. They have made a lot of roster moves and the most reasonable expectation is that there will be a youth movement here sooner than later. Be wary of the situation. 22 Dolphins currently remain from last seasons 53, and that number is at perpetual risk of getting smaller every minute.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: For whatever you think about the Ravens, I bet one of those things wasn’t that they ran the most plays in the league last season. Their strong defense gives their offense plenty of opportunity, and it would be mortifying if that wasn’t the case this week against the Dolphins. Expect a heavily skewed volume of plays in favor of the Ravens.

Miami Dolphins Offense vs. Baltimore Ravens Defense: The Ravens defense will feature some new names and faces but the story is likely going to be the same. Better coached football is hard to find on earth, and schematically they just find a way to make it tough no matter who is on the field. Their biggest challenge will be manufacturing a pass rush, as they lost both their starting edges from a season ago. This is where scheme is so important, because you can find ways to manufacture pass rush when your secondary is strong. The Ravens have the best secondary in the league in my opinion, even with the loss of Tavon Young due to injury. Their run stopping ability up front remains strong. Metrically speaking, this was the best defense a season ago from a Yards per Play standpoint (4.54) and facing an offense that was already just 25th best in the same category. It gets even worse for Miami when you layer on the fact that they have a horrible QB situation, just traded their top offensive lineman, and decided their big WR contract money was best allocated to Jakeem Grant. This is a dreadful spot for the Dolphins.

Baltimore Ravens Offense vs. Miami Dolphins Defense: The Dolphins project to have issues stopping the run and rushing the passer, and that’s a terrible combination against theRavens. The strength of their defense comes from their secondary, but even those guys won’t be able to survive a front that allows early down success. They just traded Kiko Alonso and are down to just 22 players from a season ago. It’s not even remotely worthwhile to look at who they were last year, and more than fair to expect them to struggle sight unseen. The Ravens will absolutely show up to this game ready to play innovative yet hard nosed physical football against a team of this makeup. That does not necessarily mean 70% run plays, though. We should still see the offense looking to involve their play makers at TE, and leverage the duality of Lamar Jackson and his offensive threat as a passer. I believe the Ravens will possess the ball a LOT in this game, and kill a substantial amount of clock late. The only reason to think otherwise is that the opponent simply gives way too easily, and the drives are less sustained/more explosive. The Ravens are primed to cruise on offense, and at least one them is bound for a big day.

Miami Dolphins Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Rank Proj ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA QB32 14.24 35.15 229.72 Rank 26 Rank 27 Rank 14 Rank 28

BAL Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #32

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 30.8 (Rank 31)
RuAtt/Gm: 4.5 (Rank #9)
DeepBall/Gm: 4.1 (Rank #17)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.9 (Rank #16)
Air Yards/Att: 10.6 (Rank #3)
Adjusted YPA: 8.3 (Rank #3)

This is a strict fade for me. Fitzpatrick is one of the lowest projected QBs on this slate who should have limited time of possession and total plays with which to work. His mediocre accuracy and weak receiving weapons bode poorly against a defense with cover skills bursting out their posteriors. Only 4 teams had a passing EPA lower than Baltimore in 2018, and the Miami Dolphins offense is not the kind of fire power you want to be using to defeat this worthy adversary.

Quick Summary: We’re not playing Ryan Fitzpatrick on a loaded slate.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Kenyan Drake MIA 11.99 RB26 44% 11% Rank 19 Rank 7 Rank 16 Rank 1
Kalen Ballage MIA 9.55 RB32 38% 8% Rank 29 Rank 32 Rank 35 Rank 2
Myles Gaskin MIA 0.75 RB95 6% Rank 89 Rank 89 Rank 87 Rank 89

BAL Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #31

2018 Kenyan Drake Opportunity Metrics:
Opportunity Share: 45.7% (Rank #34)
RZ Opportunity Share: 46.3% (Rank #26)

2018 Kenyan Drake Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Created: 263 (Rank #24)
YPC: 4.5 (Rank #34)
Yards Per Route: 2.79 (Rank #4)

Kenyan Drake is hardly a good play, especially since he’s been on the injury report for a while. He is priced affordably though, and the 44% marketshare of carries and high target projection would normally be appealing in a game where they’ll be playing from behind. However, the matchup is exceptionally brutal and the Dolphins just have too many checks against them to get invested heavily here. The Ravens defense was suffocating on early downs, and talented at preventing production from opposing RBs. They were the second worst schedule adjusted matchup for the position. Drake is a volume based dart throw only. The same could be said for Kalen Ballage if Drake doesn’t play, but they have warm bodies behind him that would prevent a full backfield takeover. This is a full scale tank, and we proceed carefully with tanking teams.

Quick Summary: Dolphins RBs are low expectation dart throws in a brutal matchup.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
DeVante Parker MIA 8.81 WR65 18% 6.33 Rank 65 Rank 46 Rank 84 Rank 12
Albert Wilson MIA 10.64 WR42 20% 6.85 Rank 12 Rank 5 Rank 26 Rank 11
Jakeem Grant MIA 7.92 WR76 17% 5.80 Rank 59 Rank 10 Rank 76 Rank 35
Preston Williams MIA 5.20 WR112 10% 3.52 Rank 100 Rank 98 Rank 96 Rank 98
Allen Hurns MIA 2.06 WR154 4% Rank 145 Rank 151 Rank 141 Rank 146

BAL Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #32

2018 DeVante Parker Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 0.159 (Rank #62)
RZ Target Share: 0.172 (Rank #45)
Route Participation: 0.613 (Rank #84)

2018 DeVante Parker Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 1.61 (Rank #69)
ADOT: 12.8 (Rank #34)
YAC per Reception: 2.2 (Rank #94)

You can’t play Devante Parker against these defensive backs. Marlon Humphrey allowed just a 68.6 QB rating when targeted a season ago, and Parker himself barely ranked in the top 70 in yards per route run. It’s a mismatch that only the annoyingly contrarian can stomach.

Rather than go Parker, Albert Wilson projects for a greater target share (assumption: he is healthy and plays) and is affordably priced industry wide. On PPR sites, he has the best chance of success among the pathetic Dolphins WR corps. In tournaments, he could be the glue that holds together a high expectation lineup.

Quick Summary: It’s Albert Wilson in huge field GPPs, but otherwise it’s not a situation to love here in Miami.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj ProjTar Rank ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Mike Gesicki MIA 5.14 TE33 10% 3.52 Rank 34 Rank 33 Rank 33 Rank 22
Nick O’Leary MIA 0.87 TE66 2% 0.70 Rank 62 Rank 62 Rank 62 Rank 62

BAL Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #14

2018 Mike Gesicki Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 8.2% (Rank #45)
RZ Target Share: 18.2% (DNQ)
Route Participation: 40.7% (DNQ)

2018 Mike Gesicki Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 1.22 (Rank #96)
ADOT: 9.1 (DNQ)
YAC per Reception: 3.2 (Rank #40)

It’s very difficult to imagine playing a Dolphins TE, and especially challenging to envision the efficiency woes of Mike Gesicki correcting here. He’s ranked as TE33 and carries a modest 10% share of targets on a low play volume offense. We can move on and focus elsewhere.

Quick Summary: We don’t need to play a Dolphins TE, so we won’t.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
Miami Dolphins MIA 7.09 DST10 2.95 0.75 27.52 Y N

The Ravens will run a lot of plays, but a huge percentage of them will be runs. When they do drop back, Lamar Jackson will be laser focused on avoiding mistakes. This will be especially true if they operate with the lead, and the Dolphins defense isn’t generating any pressure. Three of their four projected pass rush starters don’t have regular season experience. Something called Van Ginkel is among the players trying to beat Ronnie Stanley and/or Orlando Brown on the edge, and I favor the veteran tackles in that matchup. The Dolphins are inexperienced and carry low expectations. It’s not an ideal situation for DFS.

Quick Summary: No. You can’t play the Dolphins D at any price.

Baltimore Ravens Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Lamar Jackson BAL 19.76 QB3 35.09 247.72 Rank 2 Rank 5 Rank 6 Rank 13

MIA Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #2

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 10.6 (Rank 54)
RuAtt/Gm: 9.2 (Rank #1)
DeepBall/Gm: 1.1 (DNQ)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.8 (DNQ)
Air Yards/Att: 8.7 (DNQ)
Adjusted YPA: 6.4 (DNQ)

The issue with Lamar Jackson in this game is the potential game script. He certainly won’t be tasked with doing it all via the pass if they have a lead, and his rushing attempts should decline from their stratospheric level from a season ago. This leaves us wanting for high efficiency and the passing game weapons do not scream high efficiency to me. They scream he’ll have to lead two early TD drives in which he is the dominant producer, or else he’s at risk of handing the ball off a TON in the second half. On the positive side, Miami has no threats on defense to speak of and this should be a relatively effortless day avoiding the rush. He has improved as a passer and will absolutely attempt more than he did a season ago. We’re quite generously affording him 35 passing attempts in projections, which I will easily take the under on. That being said, he’s one of the highest floor QBs on the slate and comes with highly affordable price tags. He’s borderline cash game viable, though in GPPs I’ll be seeking other game environments more often.

Quick Summary: Jackson is one of the best high floor values on the slate, but game flow concerns leave him lower on my GPP list.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Mark Ingram BAL 12.25 RB23 41% 6% Rank 20 Rank 14 Rank 14 Rank 9
Gus Edwards BAL 5.41 RB62 22% 1% Rank 49 Rank 45 Rank 56 Rank 67
Justice Hill BAL 4.18 RB71 15% 4% Rank 67 Rank 70 Rank 64 Rank 63

MIA Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #4

2018 Mark Ingram Opportunity Metrics:
Opportunity Share: 41.4% (Rank #43)
RZ Opportunity Share: 25.7% (Rank #50)

2018 Mark Ingram Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Created: 257 (Rank #25)
YPC: 4.7 (Rank #22)
Yards Per Route: 1.67 (DNQ)

We’ve allocated 44% of carries to Ingram this week, but I have a feeling he’s a better play than the numbers will say. The primary reason to suspect this is TD equity. I am expecting him to be near the goal line as much as any back on this slate. His 25.7% red zone opportunity share from 2018 has a chance to increase on his new team. The Dolphins defense has 3 rookie lineman and just traded Kiko Alonso in the linebacking corps. They don’t figure to be exceptionally stout slowing down the run, and that’s especially true near the goal. Ingram could easily score twice in this game. The negatives against him include a crowded backfield, and a QB who can vulture his rushing TD opportunities. There is also a lower expectation of work in the passing game if this team is playing with the lead. The summary of this spot is that Ingram should be considered an early down grinder and goal line back with split duty on a team that will carry the lead for most of this game. That makes him a respectable GPP play at his price points, and particularly viable on sites with just .5 points per reception in their scoring system.

Quick Summary: Ingram is viable in GPPs, and can be paired with Ravens D for correlation. He’s not in the cash game conversation.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Miles Boykin BAL 8.65 WR68 16% 5.61 Rank 39 Rank 2 Rank 44 Rank 15
Willie Snead BAL 8.04 WR73 15% 5.09 Rank 64 Rank 76 Rank 122 Rank 27
Chris Moore BAL 6.45 WR98 11% 3.86 Rank 94 Rank 75 Rank 78 Rank 69
Seth Roberts BAL 5.04 WR114 9% 2.98 Rank 101 Rank 100 Rank 121 Rank 101
Marquise Brown BAL 6.49 WR97 10% 3.51 Rank 91 Rank 99 Rank 111 Rank 90

MIA Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #7

2018 Miles Boykin Opportunity Metrics: N/A

2018 Miles Boykin Efficiency Metrics: N/A

Miles Boykin has likely earned the right to see a lot of snaps with the Ravens starting offense from the get go. He’s still only projected for 16% of targets, and that is possibly leaving some room for upside. The conservative approach is fair considering we really don’t know for sure what level of participation he’ll actually have day one. One thing we do know is that he’s a 98th percentile speedster with elite burst and agility. He also possesses an elite catch radius. He looks like a potential star to me, and at just $3000 on DK and $4500 on FD I think he’s a worthy dart throw candidate when stacking with Lamar Jackson. He’s not a great play, but certainly not someone you can immediately cross off the list.

Quick Summary: Boykin is a cheap GPP pairing with Lamar Jackson only, and not one of the preferred options available.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Mark Andrews BAL 8.05 TE12 13% 4.56 Rank 14 Rank 4 Rank 13 Rank 14
Hayden Hurst BAL 5.48 TE30 10% 3.51 Rank 26 Rank 22 Rank 46 Rank 17

MIA Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #5

2018 Mark Andrews Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 9.3% (Rank #36)
RZ Target Share: 10.3% (Rank #27)
Route Participation: 37.2% (Rank #29)

2018 Mark Andrews Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 2.67 (Rank #24)
ADOT: 10.9 (Rank #3)
YAC per Reception: 3.8 (Rank #15)

The Ravens will deploy TEs early and often in this game, and I can see plenty of times when they decide to roll with 3. Mark Andrews is going to be the highest profile DFS option, and comes with a considerable volume of offseason fanfare. While it is fair to expect an increase from his 9% share of targets last season, even a 13% volume projection in this game doesn’t place him in the elite value conversation. He’s really more of an upside play, as he’s one of the rare TEs with big play capability and will certainly be leveraged heavily in the red zone. His 10.9 ADOT is from a year ago is very attractive for a TE. We’ve ranked him TE 12 in PPR, which is good enough to keep him in the multi-entry GPP player pool. We can’t trust the floor in more optimal builds.

Quick Summary: Andrews is an upside GPP TE that pairs well with Jackson, but can also be used alone. His floor is low.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
Baltimore Ravens BAL 7.77 DST3 2.73 1.01 19.66 N Y

The Ravens will be the highest owned defense facing Ryan Fitzpatrick and his career 3.5% INT rate. The Dolphins will likely be put into catch-up mode if game flow expectations hold true, forcing more drop backs than they would otherwise like. They’ll be doing that without the benefit of their starting left tackle, who they traded days before the season was set to start. The Ravens have question marks with their pass rush that could justify someone being slightly bearish, but that probably has more to do with their extremely high projected ownership than any actual fears that the Ravens with bust. I expect the Ravens to pin their ears back and manufacture pressure on Fitzpatrick. This will likely lead to sacks and turnovers, and make the Ravens the undoubted best defense and special teams option on the entire weekend.

Quick Summary: The Ravens defense is the top play on the board.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: Ravens DST

Leverage Plays: Mark Andrews, Albert Wilson, Mark Ingram

Secondary Plays: Miles Boykin, Lamar Jackson

About the Author

  • Chris Gimino (ChrisGimino)

  • Chris Gimino is a top mind in the DFS industry and one of the primary contributors at RotoGrinders including one of the most accurate ownership projection systems in the industry. A multiple time live-finalist, Chris delivers actionable tools and advice for RotoGrinders Premium subscribers that helps them make informed decisions for their lineup builds.


  • seano019

    New member here and I have to say that these breakdowns alone are worth it. Can’t imagine how much time was spent breaking down each game for the community. Thanks a lot!

  • saltysellen

    Does this mean the NFL GRIND is not free this year?

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