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Ravens vs. 49ers: Fantasy Football Preview

In-depth breakdown of all the viable fantasy football options for this week’s matchup

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off their most convincing win of the season, the Ravens will play host to the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers in the marquee matchup of the week. On Monday Night Football in Week 12, the Ravens were flat out dominant as they completely outmatched the Rams on every level of the field.

Players such as Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown lived up to the primetime hype and delivered one of the most electrifying performances in recent Monday Night Football history. The Ravens are a freight train and will look to keep rolling against the top defense in the NFL led by a nasty front seven which has made the 49ers a true Super Bowl contender.

Below is a breakdown of every fantasy football viable option for this potential Super bowl preview.


Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson

What more can you say about the 22-year old MVP frontrunner? Jackson has been the best player on the field no matter who lines up opposite of him and has ignited an entire organizational with belief that a Super Bowl is in the very near future. The Ravens offense is a buzz-saw and Jackson is the catalyst with his impressive ability to guide the offense down the field with ease.

Over the past three weeks, the offense has totaled a staggering 450 yards per game and now sit atop the league in total offense with 433.3 yards per game, surpassing the Dallas Cowboys. Oh yeah, that’s with the starters resting the entire fourth quarter in each of the games. The rushing attack, led by Jackson and Ingram, has been matchup proof averaging over 210 yards per game heading into the game against the 49ers top ranked defense. While San Francisco is allowing only a measly 248 yards per game, they have been susceptible to allowing big games on the ground to opponents.

This has been the case recently with dual-threat quarterbacks such as Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson who have both found success running the football against the 49ers defense. Murray has posted 67 yards and one touchdown while Wilson was able to go for 53 yards respectfully. This bodes well for Jackson's fantasy outlook as neither of these players posses the threat that Lamar Jackson does with his legs. With the forecast calling for rain throughout the game,

The Ravens will need to lean on the run game with Jackson setting the tempo. He is on pace to shatter the highest point total in fantasy football history and you should be playing him as the elite QB1 option he’s been all season.

Jimmy Garoppolo

While many point to the 49ers success as a reflection of their defense, Garoppolo has quietly been playing at a pro bowl level. He has been red-hot the last two weeks, averaging 338.5 passing yards per game while throwing six touchdowns in convincing victories. He outplayed Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night Football and is beginning to make a statement that he is more than just the game-manager many have labeled him as.

However, in fantasy terms he remains limited in upside as he will need to throw for touchdowns to reach his ceiling, a daunting task when going up against the Ravens. In 11 games this season, the Ravens defense has allowed only nine touchdown passes with three of them coming against Patrick Mahomes all the way back in Week 3. In fact, no other quarterback has thrown for more than one touchdown all season while four have thrown exactly zero touchdowns, including Jared Goff and Deshaun Watson. In rainy conditions, Garoppolo will be a must-sit for this week against the scary Ravens secondary.


Running Backs

Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards

Over the past two games, Ingram has posted top-five fantasy weeks at the running back position and has been the driving force in the Ravens physical run game. Although he doesn’t see a big volume of carries, running lanes have been plentiful and he is averaging 5.2 yards a clip, including 7.4 yards per carry against the Rams. While teams have figured out you don’t want to throw the ball against the 49ers, they have been rather weak against the run, allowing a top-20 running back in five straight games.

Losing LB Kwon Alexander was a big blow to San Francisco run defense and with less than ideal weather in the forecast, the Ravens will be looking to exploit this weakness. Ingram has been trending up recently and is now flirting with RB1 territory, but his usage will remain a question mark as we head into the home-stretch of the season. As the weather begins to turn, will he be relied upon more heavily to carry the load and wear down defenses? He has been successful at that while on a pitch count so there’s no reason not to trust him moving forward as a high end RB2 with rest of season RB1 potential.

Gus Edwards should be owned in all leagues as one of the most valuable handcuffs at the running back position. He has looked phenomenal with limited work, bursting through holes and flashing the physicality that earned him the nickname “Gus Bus”. This is the time of year where defenses tend to wear down and having two physical backs is invaluable to imposing your will on the opposing team. Edwards has fresh legs and could very soon become a more consistent contributor to the offense. If Ingram happens to go down with injury, he possesses league winning upside in the best rushing attack in football.

Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida

Coming off an injury back in Week 8, Coleman destroyed the Panthers totaling four touchdowns while looking like a potential RB1 for rest of season. Since then, he has been pedestrian and hasn’t eclipsed 50 yards rushing in any game. In those games, he hasn’t seen more than 12 carries while splitting time with the other talented backs on the 49ers roster. The Ravens run defense has been stout all season and the Rams surrendered early on the ground with the game getting out of hand, totaling only 22 yards all game.

With the best secondary in football, the Ravens will surely be daring Garoppolo to beat them with his arm which has been a daunting task for recent opponents. Lately with the Ravens it’s been pick your poison as they’ve seemed to excel on every level of the field. Coleman should get some extra work in this one with the forecast calling for sloppy conditions, but running backs simply aren’t having good fantasy days going up against this defense. He will be a low-upside RB2 in a tough match up.

Breida has been banged up and drew the questionable tag heading into Sunday. If he can go, this backfield becomes even less attractive as it is impossible to guess the usage based on previous weeks. Breida is the most likely to rip off a big play with his impressive speed but has a low floor due to dependency of being a home run hitter. He also has not scored a rushing touchdown since week 5, his only on the season. Since that game he has only one week where he eclipsed 10 fantasy points, making him impossible to trust in lineups.


Wide Receivers

Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV

Although his fantasy numbers have been inconsistent his rookie year, the chemistry that is building between Marquise Brown and Jackson is undeniable. “Hollywood” wasted no time making his mark in Los Angeles, connecting with Jackson on two touchdowns in the first quarter, making it look all too easy. Many considered him just a deep threat coming out of college, but he has quickly proved to be more of a complete receiver, flashing impressive ability to gain separation on short and intermediate routes.

He will get a tough test this Sunday against a 49ers secondary that is allowing only 119.4 yards per game to receivers which leads the league. Veteran CB Richard Sherman is having a renaissance season, coupled with a front seven who has made life difficult on quarterbacks all year. He will need to find the end zone in order to reach his fantasy ceiling this week, making his floor a risky play this week. With wet conditions, it is possible if not likely he catches a corner slipping in route to a big play, but it is tough to bank on that for fantasy purposes. He will be a risky FLEX play against the 49ers, although his arrow is pointing up for rest of season.

Snead got in on the touchdown party in Los Angeles Monday night, finding the end zone twice and for the first time since Week 4. He is the perfect fit as a possession receiver in the Ravens offense but is hurt by the usage of all three tight ends in the passing game. He has potential to put up FLEX numbers any given game but is far too risky to trust in fantasy lineups on a week by week basis.

Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuels

Sanders has been playing through a rib injury which has clearly been affecting his production, only seeing five targets over the last three games. In those games he has failed to eclipse 35 yards and has been unable to find the end zone. Even without an injury, the matchup against the Ravens is brutal as they boast three cornerbacks with shut down ability. He likely won’t be shadowed as they allow Marcus Peters to play one side of the field with Humphrey seeing more time in the slot. Sanders moves all over the field in formations, so the 49ers will need to pick their poison on where he lines up. For all these reasons, it is safe to fade Sanders this week as he won’t be able to be trusted in lineups.

With Sanders banged up, Samuels has stepped up as the go-to receiver for Garoppolo, flashing big time potential as a rookie receiver. He plays a physical brand of football while possessing the traits to be a big play receiver. Over the past three weeks he has averaged 98.6 yards per games although he has only found the end zone once. With George Kittle back in the lineup and healthy, the fantasy ceiling for all 49ers receivers takes a hit. In order to reach his ceiling against the Ravens he will need to see volume and he is the best bet as of late to see the targets. Samuels is the better play this week over Sanders and can be entered in lineups as a WR3 although it comes with some risk.


Tight Ends

Mark Andrews

Andrews has been the most consistent pass-catcher on the Ravens offense all season despite coming off a game in which he only saw three targets. Jackson only had to throw the ball 20 times in order to embarrass the Rams and Andrews simply wasn’t needed to produce as much in previous weeks. He enters his toughest matchup of the season going against a 49ers defense who have been downright stingy against the tight end position.

There has only been one tight end to eclipse 32 yards receiving against them this season, coming from Jacob Hollister of the Seahawks - who needed 10 targets to reach that total. With Andrews target share being all over the place for most of the season, you will be banking on him to be a focal point of the offense this week with hopes he can find the end zone for the seventh time this season. With limited options around the league, you will be starting him as a TE1 no matter what but will need to fade expectations against a strong 49ers defense.

George Kittle

Kittle returned to the lineup last week after a two-game absence due to injury and made it quite clear that the 49ers offense is much more potent with him on the field. While embarrassing the Packers, Kittle posted ridiculous numbers, catching all six of his targets for 129 yards and a touchdown while playing through a broken ankle. The Ravens haven’t been exactly tight end friendly this season, but the competition hasn’t been stiff.

Travis Kelce was able to find success back in Week 3, posting seven catches for 89 yards. Kittle will easily be the toughest competition since seeing Kelce and with the brutal match up for the receivers, he figures to be heavily involved in the game plan. He is a top-two tight end in the league and should be entered into lineups as such.