The second round of the fantasy football playoffs opens with what figures to be a lopsided matchup between the Jets and Ravens. That doesn’t mean players from only one team figure into your Week 15 start ’em, sit ’em decisions, though. And with fantasy’s top player, Lamar Jackson, questionable because of a quad injury, you can bet there will be plenty of owners searching for lineup advice ahead of this week’s Thursday Night Football contest.
Fortunately, SN’s Vinnie Iyer is here with a breakdown of Week 15’s opener between the Jets and Ravens in Baltimore (8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video).
Jets: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Sam Darnold
He will be down wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee) and tight end Ryan Griffin (ankle), and the rest of his wideouts and replacement tight ends step into a atrocious matchup against the Ravens’ secondary, not to mention the pressure he’ll feel off the edge.
Start: RB Le’Veon Bell
The ace bowler will return to try to put up a good number for his fantasy football owners after missing Week 14 against the Dolphins with an illness. This is a pure volume play because the Ravens’ run defense is also nasty. If you have enough viable alternatives in a better matchup guaranteed heavy touches, you could sit Bell, but chances are you don’t. The good news here is that Bilal Powell (ankle) won’t play and Ty Montgomery (foot, hip) is hurting, so Bell should get the ball on near every play involving the backfield.
Sit: WR Robby Anderson
Anderson must have realized it’s December, his favorite month for receiving production, and that he needed to do something of note to help his chances of landing in a good situation with his pending free agency. He has crushed it the past two weeks, but reality sets in here against either Marcus Peters or Jimmy Smith outside in coverage.
Sit: WR Jamison Crowder
Crowder will be working the slot here with little avail given he will get the Ravens’ best defensive back, Marlon Humphrey. He also has faded hard in terms of targets from Darnold. No thanks.
Sit: Jets defense/special teams
They aren’t good and are facing the Ravens’ scoring juggernaut. Next.
Sit: K Sam Ficken
The Jets aren’t expected to score much here, so point your fickle finger and field-goal fate away from Ficken.
Ravens: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Lamar Jackson
Don’t worry about the quad injury, folks. He can do plenty of damage passing and will be fine running with the single-season QB rushing record in easy reach. You rode him to the fantasy football semifinals, so enjoy the great matchup and have fun watching him produce again.
Start: RB Mark Ingram
Ingram has been more boom-or-bust then we would like, but he usually rocks it in blowout situations where he’ll get the key early touches and be involved in the passing game. He should score at least once in this matchup, too. This could easily match the Rams’ dominance.
Start: TE Mark Andrews or TE Hayden Hurst
Andrews is listed as questionable because of a knee injury, which is considered to be a contusion. He is healthy enough to play, but with the Ravens’ tight end depth, they might choose to sit him and not risk something more serious. You can’t turn to the TD-dependent Nick Boyle should Andrews miss the game, but his fellow second-year tight end Hurst has plenty of fill-in appeal.
The Jets have been good against the tight end, but much of that is because of Jamal Adams (foot), and he’s out Thursday. Hurst inspired with a big scoring catch after Andrews exited against the Bills.
Start: Ravens defense/special teams
The Jets’ offense doesn’t match up well at all. The sacks, takeaways and low point total will all come through.
Start: K Justin Tucker
The Ravens will score plenty and there’s a great chance he’ll deliver a few tack-on field-goals in the second half. Plus, he’s good and makes everything.
Start (in deep standard leagues): WR Marquise Brown
Brown doesn’t see a lot of snaps, and they really spread the ball around to wideouts when their tight ends and Ingram aren’t seeing it from Jackson. That said, the Jets’ secondary is terrible and is vulnerable to both big plays downfield and short TDs in the red zone. We’ve seen Brown explode in both ways this season. The sporadic boom potential gives him both a high ceiling and a low floor at the same time. If you think you need to go for it as a projected underdog and don’t love your other WR3 or deep FLEX option, take a shot on Hollywood.
Start (in deep standard leagues): RB Gus Edwards
This is the old “start the backup runner for a good running team with a big lead” theory at work. Often, it doesn’t work, but when it has worked this season, it’s been working with Edwards. That’s because the Ravens like to cap Ingram’s touches to keep him fresh, and if at some point the Ravens, as somewhat expected, go up three possessions by the fourth quarter, they will feed Edwards the ball to whittle the clock.
Jets-Ravens DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($20,700)
FLEX: RB Mark Ingram, Ravens ($10,400)
FLEX: DST Ravens ($5,800)
FLEX: RB Gus Edwards ($4,800)
FLEX: TE Hayden Hurst ($4,200)
FLEX: K Sam Ficken ($3,800)
Jackson was the obvious choice to crown, but that doesn’t make him the wrong choice. Ingram, Edwards and the Ravens’ defense makes for the logical stack. If Andrews is out, then it would be easy to make the much cheaper pivot to Hurst. Because we’re forced to take a Jets’ player, we’ll go with Ficken, hoping he’ll knock home two treys to avoid the shut out.