So how did we do for our Week 1 predictions at RSR?
Admittedly terrible. But let’s be honest, who saw that low scoring, no offense type of game coming?
The most productive player on our Start ‘Em list was Emmanuel Sanders, finishing with 8 receptions for 68 yards. Otherwise, we saw some weak fantasy performances by the likes of Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, CJ Anderson, Steve Smith Sr., and Justin Forsett.
Meanwhile, our Sit ‘Em list featured the Baltimore defense which, much to my chagrin and delight, produced! Both teams held the opposition in check, with a pick 6 for both teams as well, so at least we got the Denver D right!
The unpredictability didn’t stop at this matchup either. From the hot starts for Marcus Mariota and Tyler Eifert, to the absolute duds by Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson, it was an overall unusual week in the NFL.
So we’ll chalk it up to an anomaly, and move forward into the Ravens Week 2 match-up against the Oakland Raiders!
Match-Up: Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders
Setting the Scene
The Ravens look to rebound after a heartbreaker in the Mile High City that featured about as much offense as, well, the Raiders on any given Sunday. The Raiders come limping in to this matchup after giving up 33 to the Bengals, and showing no signs of life on offense until the fat lady had sung, left, went to another stadium, and sang once more.
Quick question- with the T-Sizzle Achilles injury front & center, how many of you completely forgot about Breshad Perriman? Yea, me too.
With Perriman, it’s still status quo – riding pine until we’re told otherwise. Raiders QB Derek Carr is back to full practice, and Raiders coach Jack Del Rio expects to start him Sunday. Defensively, both teams face significant injuries, with the Ravens down a premier OLB in Suggs, while the Raiders will be without both starting safeties.
I’m going to stick to my guns with the Ravens here, while throwing in a no-brainer on Oakland.
Steve Smith Sr.: This call is twofold- Smith Sr. not only should get back to his expected level of production as Joe Flacco’s top target (against a bottom 3rd secondary missing both starting safeties), but he’s also angry after last week. Like, really angry. Give that firecracker some added motivation and I have zero concern about his production this week. Smith Sr. should be a high end WR2 this week.
Ravens Defense: Yes, I do realize they are missing Suggs; however, I am on the ‘cup half full’ side of this argument, and believe they will do just fine with a revamped secondary this season. The Raiders offense struggled to get anything going last week, and I expect the same this week. A few turnovers should be in favor of Baltimore as well.
Amari Cooper: I mean somebody has to catch passes, right? Cooper led the Raiders with 5 receptions for 47 yards last week. Not exactly eye-popping numbers, but the top wide receiver from the ’15 draft should continue to improve his production over time. Right now, look for Cooper as a WR3 or Flex option.
Justin Forsett: I’m a little more reserved on this one, but I’m going to stick to my guns after only one week in the books. Forsett barely showed up on the stat sheets last week, rushing for 43 yards on 14 carries. Excluding the 20-yard pitch play on the final drive, he had 13 carries for 23 yards, which… OUCH. It could have been the result of a high-powered Denver Front-7 absolutely owning the Ravens O-Line. My hope is that the Oakland Front-7 won’t be as successful this week (although you need to watch out for Khalil Mack!). Despite what I’ll call an anomaly last week, Forsett should be a RB2 this week.
Latavius Murray: Another player I’m hesitant to start, but unlikely to bench unless I have other options that are a sure shot. Murray rushed for only 44 yards on 11 carries last week, while catching 7 passes for 36 yards. In PPR, that’s serviceable in the flex, but in standard scoring leagues, you can do better than 7 points. Many questions loom with Murray in this matchup – will Carr start or McGloin, who favored Murray in the passing game? How will Murray fare against a stingy Ravens defense? How big can the Ravens stretch a lead and force Murray out of the run game and into the check-down, junk time passing game? I’d say start Murray in the Flex for PPR leagues but standard scoring leagues BEWARE!
Not really any typical fantasy starters worth benching in this game so let’s have fun with this shall we?
Raiders Quarterbacks: If you don’t sit them down, the Ravens front 7 will do it for you.
Pete Morelli: Who is Pete you ask? He’s the head official for this week’s matchup. Much like the fate of Line Judge Gary Arthur last week, take caution when starting Morelli, as he may not survive the Ravens Special Teams unit this week.
Sleepers: 2 names worth mentioning, but both pose sizable high risk/high reward propositions. Essentially, you need to half both a need to fill a void, and some serious cajones. Pull it off? And you (we) look like geniuses!
Crockett Gillmore: While Gillmore hasn’t given us much reason to trust him in fantasy, he has 2 things in his favor this week- the trust of Joe Flacco, and a great match up. After Flacco came out this week and supported his tight end/defended the throw, it’s easy to assume Joe won’t shy away from Crockett as the season moves on. The match up however is the big advantage here. Last week, the Raiders watched Tyler Eifert dismantle them to the tune of 9 receptions for 104 yards and 2 scores. Even if Crockett Gillmore gets HALF of that production, he’s well worth the start. (Personally, I am starting him in a 2 TE league. Putting my money where my mouth is with this pick)
Michael Crabtree: Assuming Webb will be covering Crabtree this week, the matchup should be in favor of Crabtree. He’s a big, strong physical wideout, going up against Webb who was graded by PFF as the worst CB for the Ravens last week, and 75th overall. If Jimmy can stick with Cooper and keep Raiders’ QB’s looking at Crabtree, it could lead to some decent production on the field and your lineup from a Flex spot.
Final Thoughts: It’s a Ravens heavy week in this fantasy matchup, with a few Raiders sprinkled in. Expect a nice rebound game from Baltimore on both sides of the ball, and hopefully we’ll avenge our Week 1 fantasy forecast!
For more fantasy advice about this matchup or any others around the league, feel free to contact your local fantasy consultant on the Twitterverse @abonaccorsi.