The Line, Fantasy Plays: Ravens vs. Broncos
Never forget ^^^
Prior to week 1 I showed you one way that Vegas takes a look at a game and decides where to put the line. If you can estimate how many drives will take place in a game based on estimated pace of play, and if you can estimate home many points each team will score per drive, you can estimate a score. A score is exactly what Vegas estimates to get a line on the game, and an over/under.
I was on vacation for week 2 but I’m back this week to analyze the line and later look at fantasy plays in the Ravens matchup at home with the Broncos.
Also back in week 1 we looked at 2017 numbers having no 2018 sample to pick from. Entering week 3 we have a two week sample size. Still pretty small. Some teams haven’t played a home game yet. Teams may have a had a hot game then a cold game. Perhaps after this week we’ll have a clearer picture of what the teams are really made of.
Discuss your thoughts on this topic on our message board.
Week 1 vs. BUF: Ravens -7.5, O/U 40.
Prediction: BAL 31 – BUF 10. Ravens -7.5, Over.
Final: BAL 47 – BUF 3
Win, Win. 2-0 overall
Week 2: Vacation
Final: BAL 23 – CIN 34
Refer to my week 1 article for a breakdown of the math to follow.
2017 NFL average – 11.52 drives per team, per game.
2017 Broncos – 12.06 drives per game
2017 Ravens – 12 drives per game
2017 Broncos – 12.13 DPG
2017 Ravens – 12.19 DPG
2017 NFL average – 1.78 points per drive (PPD).
2017 Broncos – 1.4 PPD
2017 Ravens – 1.88 PPD
2017 Broncos – 1.82 PPD allowed
2017 Ravens – 1.56 PPD allowed
Predicting Drives per game
(Team offense DPG X Opposing team defense DPG) / League average DPG = Expected drives to occur in the game.
2017 Broncos: 12.06 X 12.19 / 11.52 = 12.76 drives in this game
2017 Ravens: 12 X 12.13 / 11.52 = 12.63 drives in this game
Predicting Points per drive
(Team offense PPD X Opposing Team defense PPD) / League average PPD = Expected PPD against that opponent.
2017 Broncos: 1.4 X 1.88 / 1.78 = 1.48 PPD
2017 Ravens: 1.88 X 1.82 / 1.78 = 1.92 PPD
Estimated 2017 game score based on NFL average drives in a game:
2017 Broncos: 1.48 X 11.52 = 17.1
2017 Ravens: 1.92 X 11.52 = 22.2
Predicted spread = Ravens (-5.1)
Predicted over/under = 39.2
Estimated score based on 12 to 13 drives predicted for this game:
12 drives: Broncos 17.8 – Ravens 23 (-5.2), 40.8
13 drives: Broncos 19.2 – Ravens 25 (-5.8), 44.2 (rounded up from 12.7 drives)
THE LINE IS:
This predicted line is based on 2017 until we get a better 2018 sample. What is different? The Ravens differences from last year to this year are well documented. Also check the weather. It’s going to be a rainy mess like the opener against Buffalo which didn’t effect Flacco at all. He slung the ball early and often throwing about times per one run before the score got out of hand.
On the Bronco’s side there is no Aquib Talib as he went to the LA Rams. So no heated penalty laden battle with Michael Crabtree unless Chris Harris Jr tries his best to knock Crabtree off his game. But Von Miller will look to build on his league leading four sacks through just two games and the Ravens offensive line has left a little to be desired.
Case Keenum is the Broncos quarterback this time around. He had a nice season game managing while the stingy Vikings defense carried them to the NFC title game a year ago. Keenum won’t have the benefit of being indoors, or playing at home for the first time the year, this being the Broncos first road trip of 2018. They historically struggle coming east for 1pm kickoffs as well.
It’s tough to call as one of the major players on the Ravens side, C.J. Mosley, is a game time decision. He left the Bengals game with a bone bruise and a minimum three week absence was suspected. Game time decision seems shocking and the sloppy conditions lead me to believe the Ravens should err on the side of caution with the Steelers looming next week.
The Broncos have won two close home games in come from behind fashion. I expect them to be in this game to the very end. I don’t expect the Ravens to explode like they did against the hapless Bills, but I don’t expect them to be out of the game by half time either. I think the Ravens pull this one out at home, but not by the 5.5 point spread. Ravens 23 – Broncos 20. Possibly Justin Tucker walks it off for the Ravens. That means I’m going Under the 46.5 as well.
Quarterback: Joe Flacco is probably a deep league own as a backup but with no one on bye weeks, you aren’t starting him expecting Von Miller in his face. Keenum isn’t fantasy relevant with four INTs and three TDs in two games. Oddly enough, Keenum is owned in 28 percet of leagues while Flacco is owned in only 14%. Looking ahead, Flacco is a great stash for Aaron Rodgers owners. As long as Rodgers is playing his bye week is week 7. Week 7 is when the Ravens host the New Orleans Saints. Flacco at home in what could be a shootout. Keep an eye out there.
Running back: The Broncos take a hot hand approach and Phillip Lindsay has been that guy as he’s third in the league in rushing yards through two weeks. He’s out snapping Royce Freeman and Devonte Booker. But the Ravens defense has been stuffing the run. For the Ravens, Alex Collins has problems holding onto the ball at times, the ball will be wet, proceed with caution. Buck Allen will share the load with Kenneth Dixon out and will get the lion’s share if Collins coughs up another one. Allen is available in 75% of leagues. Worth an add, hard to justify a start today though.
Wide receiver: The target share is really even among the Ravens big three. Crabtree (16), Willie Snead (14) and John Brown (14). Brown leads the way in fantasy points among the group with a score in each of the first two games. The Brown/Flacco connection has been lauded since training camp began. You can get Brown in 37% of leagues, maybe worth a flier flex play depending on your other matchups. On the Denver side Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are auto-starts every week. Rookie Courtland Sutton is the only other threat and only has been targeted 11 times with three catches so far.
Tight end: Jake Butt on the Broncos, nor Nick Boyle or Mark Andrews are on anyone’s radar. In the weather though, with some deep pass rush units on both sides, tight ends could be leaned on. Butt could be a play especially if C.J. Mosley is out and Marlon Humprhey, hopefully locking down a wideout. The Ravens spread it around too much to think Boyle or Andrews is worth owning, much less starting.
Kicker: Tucker is an auto start. Brandon McManus has made two 50+ yarders this season and is used to kicking outdoors. Roll with him if you got him.
Defense: Either play looks like a good one, Ravens or Broncos defense. I like a low scoring game. I like the risk of turnovers with the weather. I like the pass rush of both teams.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]