Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Players To Target Include Zay Flowers, Justin Herbert, Isaiah Likely, and Others

Who are some of the fantasy-relevant players you should be looking to start in the Ravens vs. Chargers matchup in Week 12?

The Baltimore Ravens’ fantasy preview looks at life without Mark Andrews while the fantasy football outlook of the Los Angeles Chargers lends insight into the value of Justin Herbert.

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Spread: Ravens -3.5
  • Total: 47
  • Ravens implied points: 25.3
  • Chargers implied points: 21.8

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson: There are two sides to every coin, and Jackson’s performance against the Cincinnati Bengals was a prime example.

Did Jackson average over 9.5 yards per pass for the third time in five games? Did he record his second-highest passing total of the season? Did he fail to record a 10-yard rush for the second consecutive game after going 9-of-9 to open the season? And did he fail to throw 30 passes for a fifth straight game?

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Yes. All of those questions have the same answer, and depending on what side of the Jackson coin you want to argue, all are valid points for either great concern or supreme optimism.

I tend to fall on the side of the latter, understanding that the volume on the ground (101 carries) is stable and that he continues to grow in Todd Monken’s system.

Obviously, the loss of Mark Andrews hurts in a significant way, but Jackson was productive through the air last week, and that was while adjusting on the fly in a more difficult matchup.

Jackson may only have four multi-TD pass games this season, but three came in games started by QBs capable of putting up points in bunches (Joe Burrow twice and Jared Goff). Jackson’s opposing number in his remaining games this fantasy season:

  • Justin Herbert
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Trevor Lawrence
  • Brock Purdy
  • Tua Tagovailoa

I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Jackson yet — a late-season peak could very well start on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Justin Herbert: No one could have seen Herbert rushing for 73 yards last week in Lambeau — the first 10 weeks, he totaled just 113 rushing yards — and the threat of him doing that simply adds to an already attractive fantasy profile.

Do I have concerns about the lack of a WR2 in this offense or the fact that Herbert hasn’t completed even 60% of his passes in five of his past seven games? I do, especially in a matchup like this. The ROS outlook is an optimistic one for Herbert, but in the scope of Week 12, he’s outside of my top 10 for the first time this season.

It’s been a few minutes since you’ve had a quirky Kyle stat — time to change that!

Herbert this season has averaged a QB4 rating against the NFC North and a QB13 rating against the rest of the NFL. I’ve confirmed with sources that the Ravens do not play in the NFC North.

Running Backs

Gus Edwards: Generally speaking, I tend to fade running backs who have more rushing scores (10) than receptions (nine) at this point in the season, but Edwards’ role near the goal line is clear. And with Andrews out of the picture, there really is no secondary skill player when it comes to who Baltimore trusts in close.

Of course, I’m worried about what Edwards’ profile looks like if/when the volume scoring ends (nine in his past five games, including three multi-score efforts). He has cleared 14 carries just once over the past month, lacks versatility, and has two other backs vying for work in addition to a unique weapon under center.

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If you can sell Edwards as a top-15 option for the position, I would. That said, I wouldn’t go out of my way to force a deal.

His path to fantasy production isn’t the most sustainable, but a matchup on extended rest against an iffy defense on all three levels isn’t exactly a prime regression spot. Edwards is a locked-in RB2 for me this week (lower than that in my rest-of-season rankings).

Keaton Mitchell: The talent certainly leaps off the screen — the back has recorded a carry of 20+ yards in each of his past three games — and this offense is constantly in scoring position. But until Baltimore shows a real willingness to allocate 12-15 touches his way, you can’t justify playing him.

He remains worthy of a roster spot due to the one-play upside and any potential changes that occur as Monken looks to adjust to life without Andrews. That said, as long as Edwards is running hard, there’s not really a path to Mitchell sneaking onto my Flex radar.

Justice Hill: You can safely move on from Hill at this point. He has a total of four touches over the past two weeks, as Mitchell has been involved. Hill only has two touches of 20+ yards this season.

In theory, there might be a path to an increased involvement in the pass game, due to the Andrews injury, but I don’t anticipate that potential bump being anywhere near large enough to land Hill close to starting lineups. His profile doesn’t fit the mold of how winning teams build out their bench.

Austin Ekeler: For the third time in five games, Ekeler failed to surpass two receptions — a minor concern, given that it is rare for him to handle more than 15 carries. He’s only done this once since returning to action in Week 6.

Ekeler has been shaky of late with three drops in Week 9 and a lost fumble last week, and a matchup against an elite defense on extended rest isn’t optimal, but benching Ekeler — or even thinking about it — is getting too cute.

Lower him in your rankings if you’d like, but there’s nothing actionable to do when setting your lineup.

Wide Receivers

Zay Flowers: The rookie leads the Ravens with a 23.9% target share this season, and with Andrews being second on that list at 22.9%, the time is now or never for Flowers.

He hasn’t been a top-30 receiver in four straight games after posting three straight weeks as such, leaving fantasy managers no choice but to bench him.

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Scared money doesn’t make money. I have Flowers returning to top-30 form this weekend against the second-worst per-attempt pass defense in the NFL and rewarding the managers who have stayed with the kid through a rough stretch.

I have him ranked over WRs Christian Kirk, Ja’Marr Chase, and the touchdown machine that is Courtland Sutton this week.

Giddy up!

Odell Beckham Jr.: The veteran isn’t yet winning my Flex decisions, but it’s getting close. His 16.6% target share this season figures to rise with Andrews lost for the season, and we’ve seen some positive returns of late. Beckham has caught a reception of 40+ yards in consecutive games and at least seven targets in three of his past five.

I’d be surprised if he jumped ahead of Flowers in the target hierarchy of this offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a talented QB like Jackson elevated OBJ ahead of receivers like Tee Higgins, Diontae Johnson, and Drake London who come with serious question marks under center.

Beckham is my WR39 for Week 12 as he continues to battle through a shoulder injury, but a fully healthy version of him could crack my ROS top 35 with a strong showing in the first full game following the Andrews injury.

Keenan Allen: He posted another massive stat line last week (10-116-1), and it should have been even better if not for some weird shadows that forced him to completely miss on an end-zone target that hit him square in the chest.

Allen continues to put together a case for fantasy MVP among players drafted inside the top 75 overall — he has turned the clock back and looks the part every single week.

Quentin Johnston: He dropped his chance. Literally. With the game on the line, Johnston couldn’t make a play down the sideline in a game where the Chargers were without all of their secondary options behind Allen. He has shown no signs of being ready to perform at the NFL level, yet the Bolts had no choice but to run him out there on 90.9% of Herbert’s dropbacks.

For the season, the rookie is averaging just 0.81 yards per route run, a level of inefficiency that is difficult to fully grasp. He has one more week to show us something before Joshua Palmer is eligible to return from IR.

MORE: Fantasy Football Cut List Week 12

Even if he does, what will the target count look like as the WR3 in this offense that has an elite pass-catching RB alongside a pair of viable TEs?

If you need to make space for a player that will help you this week, Johnston is certainly a cut candidate. As crazy as it may sound, I don’t mind the idea of buying low in Dynasty, but that’s a different conversation (we will be having Dynasty talk on the podcast starting in December on our Tuesday shows).

Tight Ends

Isaiah Likely: Following Thursday night, I discussed Likely’s rest-of-season value and ranked the tight ends I’d trade for if I were an Andrews manager.

This is a good spot for the 23-year-old to come through on the promise he has shown in the past when given the opportunity against one of the worst per-pass defenses in the league. All the metrics like Likely for the same reasons mentioned in the rest-of-season article I mentioned, but there’s also a team component to consider here.

With the Ravens pushing for the top seed in the AFC and a deep playoff run, they’re very motivated to see just how much of the Andrews’ role Likely can handle. You added him during waivers this week, and you should be comfortable plugging him in right away to your starting lineup.

Gerald Everett and Donald Parham Jr.: When both of these tight ends are healthy, it’s difficult to trust either one. Everett is the superior target earner, while Parham owns the work inside of the 10-yard line — a TE committee that is at the peak of frustrating for anyone trying to get a piece of this offense.

Everett sat last week, and that led all of us (myself included) to flee to Parham in the DFS streets. I’m not going to say an involuntary yelp escaped when I saw a big tight end rumbling for a 51-yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, but I’m not denying it.

Two seconds later, when I realized I had yet again rostered the wrong Chargers tight end, “Yelp” wasn’t on the long list of four-letter words that came to mind.

It was Stone Smartt because of course it was. Kids, don’t forget the first rule of fantasy — we don’t know anything.

Speaking of Smartt, he ran a route on 63.6% of his snaps against the Packers. He’s not meaningful in our game other than the fact that the team is comfortable with him running routes and serves as a wet blanket if Everett misses more time.

Should You Start Justin Fields or Justin Herbert?

The upside of Justin Fields is enough of a carrot for me to chase over Herbert in a brutal spot. We know what the Fields profile is, and that inspires more confidence than a player like Herbert who is also without a reliable secondary pass catcher (at WR/TE) and has completed just 60.4% of his passes this month.

Both of these QBs offer significant upside, but the matchups this week dictate that Fields has a greater chance at accessing that best-case scenario.

Should You Start DJ Moore or Zay Flowers?

Flowers is banged up, but even if he plays, I prefer DJ Moore and his consistently impressive target share under Fields. Do I think the rookie is a future star? I do, but we haven’t seen enough of a ceiling to justify playing a compromised version of him over a clear-cut WR1 in Moore.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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