NFL Grind Down Week 15 - NFL DFS Breakdown

Written by STLCards

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the statistics, insights and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.

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NOTE: Games will be published as they are completed. Primetime matchups are free for all users. Main slate breakdowns can only be accessed by Premium subscribers.

Every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts. NFL betting odds are broken down to show projected team totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow.

Vegas Overview

NYJ @ BAL Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
BAL -16 45.5 30.5 -950
NYJ 16 45.5 15 690

Betting Quick Take: As a Baltimore supporter, this game scares me. The Jets have won four of their last five games, though none of those wins have come against particularly good teams. They do not have a single win against a team that currently owns a winning record. However, they are playing better football right now, and their rush defense remains one of the best in the NFL. That at least gives them some hope at slowing down the league’s best rushing offense. Baltimore is due for a letdown after a bunch of big wins over the last six weeks, and this feels like a game that could be closer than Vegas thinks. A sixteen point spread seems a bit heavy in my opinion. That’s a big number.

NYJ +16
Confidence Level: 7 out 10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Mark Andrews BAL TE Q Leg 8
Le’Veon Bell NYJ RB P Illness 10
Demaryius Thomas NYJ WR D Knee 8
Bilal Powell NYJ RB O Ankle 7

Injuries to Monitor:

New York JetsBilal Powell is out with the ankle injury that he suffered a week ago, while Ty Montgomery is also questionable. Le’Veon Bell is back from his illness. It remains to be seen if he will face any discipline for going bowling after being ruled out of last week’s game with the flu. (Insert This Is Fine Dot Gif). Demaryius Thomas is doubtful with a knee injury, which should funnel more looks to Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. The defense also remains banged up, as Jamal Adams is unlikely to return for this game. Both of their starting cornerbacks are also out. Baltimore should be able to pass more effectively this week.

Baltimore RavensLamar Jackson was reportedly dealing with a mild quad injury earlier in the week, but he has pronounced himself good to go for this game. Top tight end Mark Andrews is a true game-time decision with a leg injury that he suffered a week ago, and it would surprise me if the Ravens pushed him for full snaps even if he is active in a game where they are favored by a ton. The defense is fully healthy and has turned into one of the league’s top units.

Other News and Notes: It will be a chilly night in Baltimore with temperatures in the low 30’s, but clear skies are expected with little to no wind. That’s about as good as you can hope for with December weather in the northeast. The Ravens are currently riding a league best nine game winning streak, while the Jets have won four of five. Baltimore can clinch the AFC North with a home win tonight.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: Current pace stats through Week 14: NYJ 28.38 seconds per play (21st) / BAL 30.51 seconds per play (32nd). Neither of these teams looks to push the pace often, and Baltimore’s 32nd rank in tempo is no surprise given their desire to run the ball and control the clock. We should expect a below average play volume in this game.

Baltimore Ravens Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Rank Proj ProjAtt ProjYds
Lamar Jackson BAL 24.28 QB2 36.98 271.37
RB Team Rank Proj ProjRu% ProjTar%
Mark Ingram BAL 13.5 RB18 49% 7%
Gus Edwards BAL 4.08 RB66 18% 2%
Justice Hill BAL 2.14 RB73 2% 3%
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Marquise Brown BAL 11.24 WR49 19% 7.03
Willie Snead BAL 8.94 WR68 15% 5.55
Seth Roberts BAL 5.43 WR92 9% 3.33
Miles Boykin BAL 4.25 WR102 8% 2.96
De’Anthony Thomas BAL 0.64 WR147 1% 0.37
Mark Andrews BAL 13.41 TE7 21% 7.58
Nick Boyle BAL 4.85 TE33 8% 2.96

NYJ Adj. Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 11/ RB Rank 19/ WR Rank 8/ TE Rank 30

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:

BAL Team Rush Play Percentage = 51.4% (1st)

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:

BAL Team Rushing EPA = 28.3 (1st)
Lamar Jackson YPC = 6.7
Mark Ingram YPC = 4.9
Gus Edwards YPC = 5.1

Well, this will be the most interesting chess match to monitor during this football game.

The Ravens lead the league with 201 team rushing yards per game, and that is over 50 yards per game ahead of the next highest team (San Francisco at 149). They also lead the league in rush success percentage and explosive rush percentage.

The Jets rank 2nd in the league with 79 rushing yards allowed per game.

That mark for the Jets defense is somewhat impressive given the fact that they have fallen behind in a lot of games, but they also have not faced a ton of elite rush offenses. No other team in the AFC East has a great running game. The Ravens will present a challenge that the Jets have rarely seen this season. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the only elite running backs they have faced, and he posted a 28/105/1 line in a game that Dallas trailed throughout. I say this certainly not to discredit what the Jets have done as a rush defense, but merely to provide some perspective.

Baltimore is a great rushing offense, but they don’t have a slam dunk running back DFS play on a weekly basis. That’s hard to fathom for a team that averages over 200 yards per game on the ground, but carries are split among Mark Ingram (33 snaps last week), Gus Edwards (20 snaps last week), and Justice Hill (six snaps last week). Lamar Jackson, of course, also takes his fair share of carries. Given the matchup, that renders the running backs as lower-end plays on this single game slate.

However, there is an argument to be made here for game theory. The Ravens should certainly score some points in this game, as they have an implied team total hovering around 30 points. If you are brave enough to fade Lamar Jackson, you better get some exposure to the running backs. Mark Ingram has 100+ yard, two touchdown upside in this offense. He has done that twice this year, and he has four 100+ yard games despite not having 20 carries in a single game all year. He’s an interesting leverage option if you are fading Jackson.

Gus Edwards has taken on more of a role lately, but he still only has double digit touches in one game all season. The only merit to playing him is if you are banking on a complete blowout and some fourth quarter work, but even that feels a bit too cute tonight. Given the matchup, Ingram is really the only play I am looking at, and that would be in GPP settings only.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:

BAL Team Pass Play Percentage = 48.6% (32nd)

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:

BAL Team Passing EPA = 112.5 (1st)
Lamar Jackson YPA = 7.7

Lamar Jackson is a polarizing figure, but it seems like even the detractors have started to come around this season. The passing numbers have been weak over the last two games, but those both came in very difficult matchups against the 49ers and Bills — one of which came in awful weather — and the Ravens won both games.

This profiles as a game where the Ravens could scheme to get Jackson back on track with his arm. The Jets are a defensive unit that is much, much weaker against the pass than the run. That is even more true given the loss of three starters in the secondary, particularly the loss of Jamal Adams. Throw in the fact that Lamar Jackson is at least somewhat banged up right now, and the Ravens might look to have him chuck it more in this game. Naturally, he still has upside with his legs, but I would just expect the team to be a little more cautious given Baltimore’s status as a massive favorite in this game. However you slice it, Jackson is the obvious top choice on the board for single game slates — and he’s going to be ridiculously popular. We have his ownership projections at 72% on DK (24% captain) and 88% on FD (33% MVP). Game theory leverage is the only merit to potentially fading him, and that takes a lot of intestinal fortitude.

Now, let’s move on to the pass catchers. There generally isn’t a lot of volume to go around with this group, as the Ravens run pass plays at the lowest percentage in the league. It’s not even particularly close. Again, though, we can potentially support the narrative that they might look to chuck it a little more in this matchup. We also have the wrinkle that Mark Andrews remains questionable with his injury, so that must be monitored. He leads the team in catches (54), targets (82), receiving yards (707), 20+ yard catches (13), and touchdowns (7). If he sits, Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle would split additional reps at tight end, with Hurst being the potential upside option. He did catch a long touchdown in last week’s win over the Bills.

The wide receivers are the hardest spots to peg, but Marquise Brown has the upside to break a single game slate with his big play ability. His snap share ticked upward yet again to 72% a week ago, and he seems as close to 100% healthy as he has been all season. He should have opportunities for big plays against an injury-riddled secondary, and he will be the most popular play of this group.

Willie Snead and Seth Roberts will likely be the next in line for snaps and targets, especially since Miles Boykin has been banged up of late. Neither are particularly high upside optpions in this offense, but Snead has gotten some red zone looks and has five touchdowns on the year. He’s a risk/reward, lower owned option to consider.

Team Quick Summary: Lamar Jackson will be immensely popular thanks to his dual threat ability combined with a good matchup for the passing game for the Ravens. The Jets are much stronger against the run than the pass, and Lamar could air it out more this week. That opens up opportunity for Marquise Brown and his big play ability. Jackson and Brown are the elite plays here. Mark Ingram and Willie Snead are leverage options, with Ingram particularly viable if you are looking to be frisky and fade Jackson. Monitor the injury status of Mark Andrews heading up to game time.

New York Jets Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Sam Darnold NYJ 15.47 QB29 36.11 235.59
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Le’Veon Bell NYJ 14.97 RB14 64% 12%
Ty Montgomery NYJ 7.92 RB44 14% 13%
Josh Adams NYJ 1.37 RB77 10%
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Robby Anderson NYJ 10.73 WR55 19% 6.86
Jamison Crowder NYJ 12.81 WR36 23% 8.31
Vyncint Smith NYJ 3.56 WR111 7% 2.53
Braxton Berrios NYJ 3.34 WR112 6% 2.17
Jeff Smith NYJ 2.44 WR120 5% 1.81
Daniel Brown NYJ 2.89 TE48 6% 2.24
Trevon Wesco NYJ 4.63 TE35 9% 3.39

BAL Adj. Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 31/ RB Rank 25/ WR Rank 23/ TE Rank 28

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:

NYJ Team Rush Play Percentage = 37.6% (17th)

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:

NYJ Team Rushing EPA = -44.5 (28th)
Le’Veon Bell YPC = 3.2

Chaos reigns supreme in New York right now. Instead of headlines revolving around the fact that the team has won four of five, the headlines are revolving around Le’Veon Bell bowling a 251 after being ruled out of a football game with the flu. Life is good.

Le’Veon Bell has been nothing short of a disappointment in his first year for a new team. He is averaging a career worst 3.2 yards per carry and has not topped 60 receiving yards in a game since Week 2. The explosiveness is simply gone at this stage. Don’t expect a miracle turnaround with the Jets sitting as 16 point road underdogs against a good defense. While the Ravens are largely more beatable via the ground these days, that’s still a tall ask for Bell.

Perhaps you may go down the line of thinking of “Hey, the Jets are going to be way behind in this game, and Bell can catch six or eight passes out of the backfield.” That is a valid thought and keeps Bell on the radar in PPR formats, but it is also worth noting that the Ravens allow the lowest percentage of running back targets in the NFL at just 15.2%.

There is absolutely risk with Bell in this spot. The ceiling isn’t all that high, either. I’m likely going to be underweight with us having him as the highest owned skill player outside of the quarterbacks in this game. Can you play him? Sure. Do you have to play him? I don’t think so.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:

NYJ Team Pass Play Percentage = 62.4% (16th)

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:

NYJ Team Passing EPA = -79.4 (31st)
Sam Darnold YPA = 7.0

There could be some potential here. The Jets are large underdogs and are likely going to have to chuck it a lot more in this matchup.

That could also turn ugly. The passing game metrics for this offense are poor, and the Ravens have one of the best secondary groups in the league. Marcus Peters has added to the unit’s upside, and both Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith are healthy now. The unit ranks third in the league in pass defense DVOA, and the are allowing the fourth lowest passing EPA to opponents. The Baltimore defense is very much in play as an elite option on DraftKings tonight (and they make for an intriguing pairing in Mark Ingram lineups).

That is not to say that you cannot use a piece or two from this New York Jets passing game thanks to the likely volume. With Demaryius Thomas likely sidelined, the Ravens being good at defending pass catching backs, and the team lacking for tight end options, both Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder should comfortably sit with a target share in the 20-25% range. Pair one of them up with Sam Darnold in some GPP lineups and take a shot that they happen to hook up for a touchdown or two.

Team Quick Summary: In cash game formats, your exposure to this offense should be limited. I will be underweight on Le’Veon Bell given the matchup and the Jets’ status as huge underdogs. Crowder and Anderson are fine volume-based options along with Darnold, but it could get ugly against a good defense. The silver lining is that I do like the Jets to keep this game remotely competitive (as I mentioned in the betting section at the top).

DFS Recommendations (Single Game Slates)

Optimal DFS Plays: Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, Baltimore D/ST (DK)

Leverage Plays: Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews (if active without limitations), Robby Anderson

Secondary Plays: Gus Edwards, Willie Snead, Justin Tucker, Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, Sam Ficken

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  • Joe1Coal

    I have to disagree strongly as a Jets fan. They haven’t faced a team like this, they don’t have the athletes. They are going to get run off the field. But respectfully, I understand the allure of a 16 point spread. Bet the -22 imho.

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