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Thursday Night Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Ravens vs Dolphins

Lamar Jackson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

If you like drama, then you must be loving this NFL season. It seems that this is the third week in a row where I have started my article with “what the heck is going on?” Seriously, someone should call George R. R. Martin, as this season is a storyline no one can predict. Despite living in a soap opera, as fantasy managers, we have to roll with the punches. 

In a week where we saw Buffalo get held to fewer than 10 points by the formidable, shut-down, elite Jacksonville defense, we need to try to navigate this new NFL. On Sunday, underdogs were 8-4 in the most upside-down week to date. Lots of these games will be viewed as one-offs, however, we have two teams who won in Week Nine going head to head this Thursday.

The Baltimore Ravens are taking a vacation and heading down to Miami to take on the Dolphins this Thursday. After we continue to see Lamar Jackson single-handedly carry the Ravens to miraculous victories, the Ravens have officially entered the best team in the AFC conversation. Miami on the other hand is not as pretty. The Dolphins are playing a lost season and appear to be set on the offseason to address their situation. We have a very interesting matchup this Thursday, and I thank you for starting your week with my analysis. My name is Ellis Johnson, and here is your RotoBaller Thursday Night Preview.

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Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins

8:20 pm EST 

Notable Injuries


Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL): Jackson is not fair to the rest of the NFL. In what has been his best season since winning MVP in 2019, Jackson has been carrying the team to victories in tight games. Last week, Jackson rushed for 120 yards on 21 attempts and led the comeback for an overtime victory. Currently, Jackson is tied with Mathew Stafford for the QB3 on the season and is also sixth in the league in rushing yards. His dual-threat ability is undeniable, and this week he takes on a Miami team that is allowing the eighth-most points to the position. Lamar Jackson is a great play and can make a case to be the QB-one on the week this Thursday night.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL): It’s time to acknowledge that this is officially a fantasy breakout season for Brown. After beginning his career as an inconsistent big-play threat, Hollywood has been incredible this season. Without J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, Jackson has been showing off his passing skills, and Brown is all for it. Currently the WR6 on the season, Brown only has two games below 10 fantasy points and six games over 15 fantasy points. The best part for a big play threat like Brown is that he has double-digit targets in four games and no games with fewer than five targets. You get a play-maker like Brown with those kinds of targets and he is bound to have some nice plays. This week is no different as Miami is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers. Believe it or not, it’s time we put Brown into the WR1 conversation for fantasy. I’m calling the Pie Shop* to be open for the young player, and he should be started with confidence everywhere. 

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL): What a bounce-back season this has been for Andrews. So far he is top-five at the position in yards (second), receptions (fourth), and targets (fifth). Plus, he is a game back of some of the other players, as the Ravens already had their bye week. Much like his teammate Brown, Andrews has yet to have a game with fewer than five targets and has six targets or more for six weeks straight. Andrews is a sure-fire, top-tier TE this week. Just like the QB and WR positions, Miami has been very generous for fantasy this season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to the TE position. Although it may be improbable, there is a world where we see the QB1, WR1, and TE1 on the week this Thursday night. 

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA): Much like his teammate Waddle, Gesicki has made his relevance off of sheer volume and athleticism. After years of waiting for one of the best athletes in the NFL to become fantasy-relevant, managers finally have their wish. Gesicki is the TE3 on the year and is third at the position in receptions. He has had six or more targets all but three times this season and has not had less than 40 yards in a game (outside of Week One). Regardless of Jacoby Brissett or Tua Tagovailoa under center, Gesicki has managed to get it done. If you didn’t think it could get much better, the icing on the cake is that Baltimore is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the TE position.


Solid Options for Fantasy Football Lineups

Jaylen Waddle (WR, MIA): Often overshadowed by the record-breaking season of Ja’Marr Chase, Waddle is having himself a fantastic rookie campaign. The sixth overall pick has shown up for the Dolphins and maybe their lone bright spot this season. What makes Waddle great for fantasy is his involvement in every game. Over the last four games, Waddle has at least eight targets, with three games hitting double-digit targets. Although he has yet to crack 100 yards in a game, in any form of PPR the targets make him a fringe WR2.


Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Rashod Bateman (WR, BAL): The second rookie WR in this Thursday night preview has also had a very solid year. Since coming back from injury, Bateman has received at least six targets in each of his three games. Usually, you would not want to start the third receiving option on the Ravens, however, this year is different. With Lamar Jackson averaging 276 passing yards per game, there is finally enough volume to go around. This offense should have no issue dominating a poor Dolphins team, and six targets from Lamar Jackson could easily go a long way. I would start Bateman as a high-upside flex option/fringe WR3 this week. 


Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Ravens Running Backs: The combination of Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell, and Ty'Son Williams, is not just a blast from the 2015 season, it’s also the current Ravens backfield. Although this team always has value on the ground, it is truly touchdown or bust if you choose to start any of these players. Murray is listed as doubtful, so the next man up is Freeman. However, I would avoid the backfield altogether if possible. 

Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA): Although he is a better option than the Ravens backfield, I do not trust Gaskin this week. Last week his fantasy day was saved by a rushing touchdown, however he only managed 1.7 yards per carry on 20 attempts. To make things worse, his 1.7 yards rushing average came against a Houston team that is allowing the second-most rushing yards per game. Thankfully, he is involved in the passing game, catching all six targets last week for 23 yards. In a game script where they may need to check the ball down to the back, Gaskin may have RB3 appeal. However, as I always say, you can’t win your week on Thursday, but you can lose it. I urge you to be cautious if you choose to start Gaskin.

Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett (QB, MIA): Currently, Tagovailoa’s status for Thursday is up in the air, however, even if he plays, I am worried. Brissett had a miserable game against the aforementioned horrific Houston defense last week. If Brissett is the starter, I would do my best to find another option for fantasy. However, if Tagovailoa is cleared to play, there is some fantasy appeal. He is averaging 16 fantasy points a game and has been solid for fantasy. I am personally worried about starting a player returning from injury in a tough matchup, but he may have a QB2 Super Flex appeal if you are stuck. 


Last week’s game was one of the highest-scoring blowouts in a while. Although we missed the Over/Under pick, the Colts covered the spread. This week, we may see another lopsided matchup, however, Vegas has the spread closer than I expected. Although they are on the road, the Ravens have made a case to be the best team in the AFC. I expect this to continue against a flailing 2-7 Dolphins team. As a result, here are my picks:

Ellis’ Picks: Ravens -7.5 (6-3), Under 46.5 (7-2)

Career record: Spread (15-12), Over/Under (16-11)

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