The 2-1 Baltimore Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh for Sunday Night Football to take on the 1-1-1 Steelers for a crucial Week 4 matchup. As the first quarter of the season rounds out, the contest will be a barometer type game for the division and will set the narrative for who will be favored to take the AFC North.
Both teams are coming off of big offensive performances, with the Steelers winning a shoot out in Tampa Bay, and Baltimore taking care of business at home against the Broncos. With Pittsburgh’s defense getting off to a rough start, and Baltimore’s offensive attack looking better to start the season than they have in recent years, there is reason to believe this will be an offensive type game with good fantasy plays across the board.
Start: QB Joe Flacco
There are several factors contributing to what is looking like a mid-career renaissance for the 33-year-old veteran and Super Bowl MVP. Chief among them are his improved health, motivation in the face of his first ever position competition, and maybe most of all, his new collection of surrounding skill talent.
Individually, the Ravens receivers, running backs and tight ends would not scare many NFL defenses. As a unit though, they mesh pretty well and are a perfect fit for what Flacco wants to be as a quarterback.
Given that the offensive game plan is centered on spreading it around and Flacco is off to a hot start, look for him to put up some points for you as a QB1 this week.
Sit: Ravens skill positions
The reason Flacco is having a rebound year (and is this week’s start) is also the same reason you should avoid Baltimore’s skill guys. It is not that any of them are off to a bad start, but the opposite.
All of them, including the backs and tight ends, have proven to be complementary pieces that Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Morninwheg are comfortable targeting. That unpredictability in utilization is what makes any of them (including guys like John Brown and Michael Crabtree) avoidable plays as the offense continues to mesh.
Start: WR’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington
Antonio Brown is an obvious WR1 and a good bet to continue to haunt the Ravens, especially with Jimmy Smith out of the lineup. The flip side of that is Baltimore’s coaching staff may be determined to keep Brown under wraps and bracket him with double and triple coverages.
Unfortunately, there are only so many defensive resources to go around, and with a lot of them committed to Brown, other players will have room to break out. Smith-Schuster is a known quantity who is bound to be owned in a decent percentage of leagues, while Washington is more likely to be available. Either receiver is a solid play against the softer spots in the Ravens D.
Sit: Pittsburgh’s defense
After a big time first-half performance last Monday, the Steelers defense is expected to continue to take the ball away. As opportunistic as they were though, they were still gashed as they have been all season, and this could very well happen again Sunday night.
Baltimore’s revamped O represents a bit of a bigger test than the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buccaneers. They are a big time sit this week, especially if you need a plus performance out of them.