Thursday Night Football Preview
Spread: Ravens -3.5 Over/Under 46.5
Cincinnati travels to Baltimore in an AFC North battle between two teams coming off disappointing losses. The Bengals, at 5-4, are in last place in the division and need a win to keep pace in the playoff hunt. The Ravens are in the driver’s seat, and a win would solidify their hopes of a division title.
Despite the losses last week, both teams have been playing well as of late, each winning four games in a row prior to Week 10. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have been lighting it up and looking like the top QB/WR duo in the league again. The Ravens’ old-school combination of elite defense and a strong run game has them sitting atop many expert power ratings.
Vegas favors Baltimore by 3.5 points with a total of 46.5. I think that total might be a tad high for this game. With games going “under” the total 60% of the time this year, I’m adjusting my strategy for a lower-scoring game, which means running backs and defenses are more valuable to me this week. In fact, I’m all-in on the Ravens' run game this week. The only problem is figuring out which running back to use.
I’m definitely on Lamar Jackson in this game. This is one of the few games where I have a team (Ravens) projected for more rushing yards than passing yards, so using a dual-threat QB is a lock. For the Bengals, how do you not use Ja’Marr Chase? Cincinnati is not a big threat to score rushing touchdowns, so their touchdowns will most likely come through the air. Outside of Lamar Jackson, Chase has the biggest upside on the slate, so I’m willing to pay up to get him.
I think Baltimore will control this game and emerge victorious. I’m leaning towards a 4-2 or 5-1 build in their favor. Hopefully, that will also provide some unique builds in a large-field tournament.
Captain Choices (1.5x salary, 1.5x points)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens ($16,200)
Jackson is my favorite play this week. He has the potential to take over this game through the air and on the ground. His combination of a high ceiling and a safe floor makes him a lock in my lineup. I like him in the Captain spot because of his running ability and potential to have a hand in all of the Ravens' touchdowns.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals ($16,500)
Almost 60% of Cincinnati’s touchdowns come through the air, and I expect the Bengals to be throwing a lot this game. With Tee Higgins out, Chase doesn't have much competition for targets. I don’t love Cincy’s offense this week, and I do believe Chase is a bit of a boom-or-bust candidate, but his upside is huge and potentially a slate-breaker.
Keaton Mitchell, RB, Ravens ($8,400)
Mitchell has done a lot with few opportunities. He has touchdowns in his last two games, despite limited playing time. He just missed a receiving touchdown last week, as well. Mitchell was dealing with an injury last week, which is why his snap share decreased from the previous game, but he should be good to go for this game. His range of outcomes is very wide, but the potential for a blowup is there. You could build a strong lineup with the salary you save at Captain and get some differential from the masses, but it is definitely a risk. Because I think the Ravens will push the run extra hard this week, I’m willing to take a chance that Mitchell is the main beneficiary of it.
Top Flex Options
Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals ($10,000)
Burrow has been on fire lately, throwing for 300+ yards in his last two games and seven touchdowns in his last three games. However, he also had three turnovers last week. Burrow definitely has the ability to beat the Ravens with his arm talent, but I think he will have a tough time reaching his ceiling. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-200 yard passing game from him this week. He’s a fine flex play because I do think any touchdowns the Bengals score will be through the air, but I’m not against fading him, either.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals ($9,600)
Mixon has scored a touchdown in the last three weeks, so you have to believe that he will score one this week if you want to use him. He’s probably not going to rush for more than 50 yards, but his usage makes him a safe play. He has a low ceiling this week, but might have the safest floor of any player on the slate.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens ($8,800)
Andrews is one of the most reliable tight ends in the NFL, and he will be a tough matchup for the Bengals' secondary, which has been inconsistent this season. He is a solid floor play in this matchup, and he has the potential to break a big play.
Secondary Flex Options
Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens ($7,600)
Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens ($7,000)
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals ($6,800)
Trenton Irwin, WR, Bengals ($4,400)
Justin Tucker, K, Raves ($5,400)
Ravens Defense ($4,600)
Lamar Jackson (Captain)
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