FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm the furthest thing from a 'fantasy expert', just a Ravens fan. Last week's Kamar Aiken post would've done you terribly if you followed my advice. Since my only credibility is being a Ravens writer, I'm not giving Raiders advice.
So if you owned a Raiders or Ravens player on your fantasy team, their performance probably didn't bode well for you. The good news is that a rebound performance is almost guaranteed for your Baltimore players. The Ravens are facing an Oakland defense that allowed 33 points and let Andy Dalton toss two touchdowns and no picks for 269 yards. The Raiders are now without one starting safety, and could lose another if Charles Woodson is ruled out.
In simpler terms, this defense is a cake walk compared to Denver's. While the Raiders boast a nice pass rush in Justin Tuck, Khalil Mack, and Aldon Smith, it wasn't effective last week against a least superior Bengals O-Line. Although the Ravens are without tackle Eugene Monroe, my money is on the offensive line, and the offense as a whole improving this week.
Here's who could pay real dividends in your fantasy leagues this week.
QB: Joe Flacco
Okay, hear me out. I agree that Joe is the exact opposite of the ideal fantasy quarterback. He's far too inconsistent, and rarely posts big numbers. If you're starting him this week, it's only in the deepest of leagues, or 2QB leagues. But if you are in the situation where you've got to start Flacco, the matchup is fantastic. As I mentioned earlier, Oakland's starting safeties may both be out, and that's a dangerous matchup for the deep-ball-loving Flacco. While the Ravens only threw it futher than twenty yards once last week, that should change this week. Flacco himself has said he wants to air it out, and it's the only logical move. If this defense allowed Andy Dalton to be a productive fantasy QB, Flacco can be too.
Stat Prediction: 14-24, 190 Passing Yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
HB: Justin Forsett
The supposed PPR monster didn't look good in any facet of the game last week. Although the stats don't look pretty, I'm considering his 14-43-3.1 YPC stat line a miracle considering how bad the OL was last week. Forsett also hauled in 4 dump-off passes for 13 yards, a nice added bonus for PPR folks. I really think that this game was an outlier for Forsett, and stats like that shouldn't be expected this Sunday. However, if things do go south for Forsett, PPR owners can always rely on a handful of catches from him.
Stat Prediction: 18 ATT, 87 Rush Yds, 5.4 YPC, 1 Rush TD, 5 Rec., 30 Rec Yds
WR: Steve Smith, Sr.
I'm calling Steve a cautious WR3/FLEX play. He's really fantastic at disappearing for certain games, and then breaking out spontaneously. Call it the 'Vincent Jackson Phenomenon. Assuming Flacco has time, the ball is likely going to Smith. He's the only somewhat reliable receiver on the Ravens, even though a wide-open go-ahead TD pass hit him square in the facemask last week. For those of you in return yardage leagues, Smith is returning punts for now. With Smith lining up against a suspect Raiders secondary, a decent game could be in store for the veteran on his final ride.
Stat Prediction: 6 REC., 65 Rec Yds, 1 REC TD
D/ST: Baltimore Ravens
Fantasy idol 'quickonthedrawl', known for his excellent weekly D/ST rankings, doesn't even have the Ravens unit in his Top 16 this week. I'm not buying it. On the other hand, FantasyPros' ECR has the Ravens at #3 of all D/ST units this week. This defense actually shut down Peyton Manning, something the Chiefs couldn't do. The Ravens were the fifth-highest scoring defense in fantasy last week, posting 11 points, per Fftoday.com. While the Bengals were fantasy's 14th highest-scoring defense last week with 4 points, I'm attributing that to lots of garbage time, as the Raiders were held scoreless midway through the fourth quarter. If you've got the Ravens, or they are on your league's waiver wire, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better team to start.
In IDP leagues, I'd recommend C.J. Mosley or Daryl Smith as solid options.
Stat Prediction: 14-21 Points Allowed, 249-299 Yds. Allowed, 2 INT, 1 Fumble Rec.
There are a few other noteworthy Ravens, but I wouldn't insert them in your starting lineups. Forecasting Flacco's touchdowns are near impossible, as he loves to spread the ball. These scores could go to someone like Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, or the quiet sleeper, Crockett Gillmore. However, I wouldn't start any of these guys in practically any scenario.
Best of luck this week fantasy players. While the Ravens aren't known for churning out great fantasy players, this week's matchup could be fantasy gold for you.