Jesse Pantuosco

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Ravens Roll on MNF

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Monday night’s game wasn’t the finest display of football you’ll see this year. In fact, Jon Gruden had trouble choosing a player of the game, so he went with the Ravens’ special teams coordinator. But aesthetically pleasing or not, Baltimore took care of business, defeating Houston by a final count of 23-16 while moving ahead of Buffalo for the sixth and final playoff position in the AFC.

 

The Ravens were led by Alex Collins, who notched 60 yards on 16 carries while adding his second touchdown of the year on an eight-yard scamper with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter. That touchdown was preceded by his longest run of the night, a 29-yard gallop on fourth-and-one to extend the drive.

 

Collins has taken an unconventional path to fantasy relevance. He began the year with Seattle but was let go at final cuts (oh the irony), only to resurface a few days later as a member of the Ravens’ practice squad. He was soon promoted to active duty following an injury to Danny Woodhead in Week 1 and it didn’t take long for the former Arkansas Razorback to assert himself as Baltimore’s lead ball-carrier. As it stands now, Collins ranks 13th in the league in rushing yards per game (63) and fifth in yards per carry (5.0). Volume is the straw that stirs the drink in fantasy and Collins has gotten plenty of that. He’s averaged a healthy 19 touches over his last four games while cementing his status as a weekly RB2 in fantasy.

Baltimore’s other touchdown came on a 10-yard dash by Buck Allen early in the second quarter. Allen got the glory, but it was really his blockers who did most of the work, catapulting him ahead for his fourth touchdown of the year. He’s been a viable flex play throughout the year, particularly in PPR leagues, though Allen’s window of fantasy productivity appears to be closing with Woodhead back from a two-month hamstring injury. Woodhead was eased back last week by logging just 13 snaps against the Packers, but saw close to his usual workload Monday by gobbling up eight touches on 22 snaps.

 

It was a good thing the Ravens’ backfield showed up because Joe Flacco had a night to forget, completing 20-of-32 passes for 141 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Houston’s injury-depleted defense has been a punching bag this year, allowing huge games to Jared Goff, Jacoby Brissett, Russell Wilson and Alex Smith among others. But Flacco couldn’t take advantage of the pristine matchup, squandering his opportunity with countless misfires downfield.

 

Jeremy Maclin, who entered Week 12 with a team-leading 341 receiving yards, was invisible, managing just one catch for six yards on five targets. Flacco faced plenty of pressure from edge-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who registered a sack for the fifth straight game. That’s the longest active streak in the NFL.

 

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If it’s any consolation, Flacco was still better than his Houston counterpart, Tom Savage, who committed three turnovers in Monday’s defeat. Savage’s first pick came on a second-quarter pass he carelessly forced into double coverage while the second, a desperation heave intended for tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, sealed the game for Baltimore with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Savage also coughed up a fumble on a strip-sack courtesy of Terrell Suggs. The fumble was Savage’s eighth of the year, an astounding number considering he’s only appeared in six games. At least reporters spared Savage the pain of reliving it by not showing up to his post-game press conference, which lasted all of four seconds.

 

Despite his usual array of head-scratching mistakes, Savage compiled a season-high 252 passing yards, the most the Ravens have yielded in a game this year. DeAndre Hopkins accounted for nearly half that output, coming down with seven catches for 125 yards on 10 targets. Houston’s offense has stagnated in Deshaun Watson’s absence, but that hasn’t stopped Hopkins from putting up monster numbers on a weekly basis. He’s been dominant as ever, averaging an absurd 124.4 yards with three touchdowns over his last five appearances.

 

Lamar Miller was responsible for Houston’s lone touchdown, scoring from four yards out to cap a nine-play, 90-yard opening drive. Miller’s contributions have been underwhelming—he’s only topped 70 yards rushing on two occasions in 2017 and has yet to reach 80—but should see more carries with impressive rookie D’Onta Foreman (torn Achilles) out for the year. He out-touched Alfred Blue 17-8 on Monday night while also holding a decisive edge in yards from scrimmage (58-26).

 

Pass-catcher Andre Ellington, claimed off waivers from Arizona last week, was inactive for Monday’s game but should play a role at some point. His cousin and now teammate, Bruce Ellington, corralled three-of-eight targets for 29 yards in Week 12. Ellington (Bruce, not Andre) has drawn a combined 15 targets with Will Fuller (cracked ribs) absent the past two weeks, though he’s yet to become a factor in fantasy.

 

The Ravens treated fans to a little bit of trickery on Monday night by pulling off their second fake punt in three games. Just as he did two weeks ago at Tennessee, punter Sam Koch connected with Chris Moore for an easy first down. Flacco’s 42 rushing yards Monday were his most in a game since 2008 (his rookie year) while the quarterback’s 25-yard scramble was his longest run since Week 16 of 2011. Anthony Levine, a six-year vet who mostly plays on special teams, also hit a milestone by earning his first career interception.

 

Quick Hits: Martellus Bennett is done for the year after being placed on I.R. with hamstring and shoulder injuries. Bennett is under contract through 2018, though the 30-year-old has suggested this could be his last season … Rashaan Melvin is out indefinitely after injuring his hand in Sunday’s loss to Tennessee. Melvin holds PFF’s No. 14 grade out of 119 qualifiers at cornerback this season … C.J. Beathard suffered a bruised knee as well as a strained hip in Sunday’s loss to Seattle. Jimmy Garoppolo would start if Beathard can’t get the green light for Week 13 … Jordan Reed remained sidelined at Monday’s practice. He’s missed four straight games with a hamstring injury and is trending in the wrong direction for Thursday’s tilt with Dallas … Coby Fleener has been diagnosed with his fifth concussion, an injury that will likely keep him out against the Panthers in Week 13. Backup tight ends Josh Hill and Michael Hoomanawanui will fill in during his absence … The Chargers consider Nick Novak (back) and Mike Williams (knee) day-to-day. Both were injured in Thursday’s Thanksgiving win over Dallas … Paxton Lynch will miss 2-4 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. With Lynch unavailable, Trevor Siemian will start against the Dolphins in Week 13 … Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib have been suspended two games each for their fight Sunday at Oakland. Both players are appealing. With Amari Cooper in the concussion protocol and also dealing with a sprained ankle, the Raiders will be thin on pass-catchers in Week 13 … Browns coach Hue Jackson wants Josh Gordon to play “as much as possible” in his return Sunday against the Chargers. It will be Gordon’s first regular season game since Week 16 of 2014 … Devin Funchess suffered a minor toe injury in Week 12 but should be fine to play Sunday at New Orleans. Teammate Greg Olsen received good news from doctors after aggravating his foot in Sunday’s victory over the Jets (his X-rays were negative), though his status for Week 13 has yet to be determined … Kelvin Benjamin’s knee injury is a torn meniscus. The Bills are calling him day-to-day, leaving his status up in the air for Week 13 … Tyrod Taylor will again be the Bills’ starter for Week 13 against New England. Taylor was back under center Sunday at Kansas City after being benched for rookie Nathan Peterman a week earlier … Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed Kam Chancellor is out for the year with a neck injury. On a more positive note for the Seahawks, Shaq Griffin is set to return Sunday against the Eagles. He sat out Week 12 with a concussion … The Dolphins are likely to be without Damien Williams in Week 13. He went down with a left shoulder injury in Sunday’s loss to New England. Kenyan Drake will lead the backfield in Williams’ absence … William Hayes is headed for season-ending hamstring surgery. The ten-year vet holds PFF’s No. 10 grade out of 65 qualifiers at 4-3 defensive end this year … Jameis Winston is expected to resume throwing on Wednesday. Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue to fill in while Winston works back from a shoulder injury … Blaine Gabbert will maintain his starting job against the Rams in Week 13. Gabbert held his own in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, completing 22-of-38 passes for 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.



Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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