Week 14 Booms and Busts: Ravens, Rams show why they’ll have major say in fantasy football titles

Week 14 Booms and Busts: Ravens, Rams show why they’ll have major say in fantasy football titles

The Baltimore weather called for wind, and the Baltimore weather called for rain.

The Ravens and Rams said the heck with it, let’s have a track meet anyway.

Anything you needed from the Baltimore and Los Angeles passing games came through Sunday, as the teams combined for a delightful 68 points and 859 yards of offense. By way of record, note that Baltimore escaped with the 37-31 overtime win, as unknown backup Tylan Wallace raced 76 yards with a punt return touchdown. But the fantasy managers who spit into the Baltimore wind and started their guys anyway, wow, did you get rewarded.

Let’s start with the Rams, since they have the more narrow usage tree. Matthew Stafford (294 yards, three touchdowns) only targeted six players, and the majority of his looks went to the primary guys. I wasn’t sure how to handle Cooper Kupp before this game, but that feels horribly dated now — he had a monster 8-115-1 afternoon, on 10 targets (narrowly missing a second score). Puka Nacua posted a playable 5-84-0 on eight looks, and fill-in tight end Davis Allen (4-50-1) was also useful. Demarcus Robinson caught Stafford’s other touchdown pass.

The bell-cow back is supposed to be a dying breed, but Kyren Williams does not read such memos. Williams didn’t find the end zone, but he handled a whopping 28 touches for 113 total yards. This almost qualifies as a bad game for him, and still, look at that usage! Royce Freeman had just three carries, and a random rush went to Nacua.

The Rams’ three-game winning streak was broken, but these guys have piled up 104 points over three games, and Washington’s spotty defense comes to town for Week 15. The Saints and Giants are gettable after that. Williams, Nacua, Kupp, maybe even Stafford, they’ll be invited to a lot of fantasy parades come mid-January. Stafford is back in fine form, the same goes for Kupp and Sean McVay is dialing up big plays from the play sheet.

  Dixie Chicks

Baltimore’s fantasy solve, however, is always going to be a little trickier, because the Ravens have a mobile quarterback and two other backs who are worthy of work. Things are more splintered. You might have needed Keaton Mitchell (62 total yards) or Gus Edwards (15 total yards) and came away disappointed; neither scored a touchdown, and they combined for just 16 touches.

But at least Jackson steered the passing touchdowns where we wanted: the three most credible downfield options, Odell Beckham Jr. (4-97-1), Isaiah Likely (5-83-1) and Zay Flowers (6-60-1) caught the scores from Jackson. Flowers also had a two-point conversion catch. Jackson sailed to the top of the fantasy leaderboard by the end of the game, totaling 32.64 points in default Yahoo scoring. Jackson threw for 316 yards and ran for 70 more.

Fantasy managers probably aren’t thrilled to see the 49ers on the Ravens’ Week 16 calendar. But that’s a problem for Christmas Day. Baltimore should score liberally at Jacksonville next week, and a potential pinball match with the Dolphins is slotted for New Year’s Eve. Jackson and Co. are going to have their say in the fantasy playoffs.

Note: This story will continue to be updated with additional fantasy analysis from Week 14.