Coming off of their bye week, the Baltimore Ravens are set to take on the last undefeated team in the NFL and divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they might be doing so without starting running back Mark Ingram, leaving RB Gus Edwards to be the primary ball carrier in a difficult matchup. With several teams on a bye or out with injuries, does Gus Edwards become startable in fantasy football, or should managers steer clear of the matchup and look for a more favorable matchup? And in addition to Week 8, what is Gus Edwards’ fantasy outlook moving forward?
Update: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that the Ravens will be without Mark Ingram this week and there is a chance he could miss next week as well.
RB Mark Ingram’s Week 8 status in jeopardy after missing Wednesday’s practice
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, RB Mark Ingram was not a participant in the Ravens’ practice on Wednesday.
Ingram left Baltimore’s Week 6 win over the Eagles with an ankle injury, and he wasn’t able to heal up enough over the bye week to get on the practice field on Wednesday.
Ingram has been the leading rusher in the Baltimore three-headed approach at running back, leading the team in carries (50), yards (225), and is tied with touchdowns (2). However, Edwards has been right behind him all season with 48 rushes for 218 yards and one touchdown.
But while Ingram and Edwards have split the majority of rushes (79% of the RB carries), it has been Ohio State rookie J.K. Dobbins who has served as the team’s primary passing-down back. Dobbins has caught 11 of his 14 targets on the year for 74 yards to go with his 25 rushing attempts for 154 yards and two touchdowns this season.
The Ravens are on pace to have 482.6 rushing attempts split between four players. Jackson and Ingram are on pace for 133 carries each, Gus Edwards is on pace for 128 carries, and J.K. Dobbins is on pace for 62 carries.
If Ingram misses Week 8, we should expect Edwards and Dobbins to maintain similar roles in the offense, with Dobbins getting a slight boost to his ceiling thanks to his receiving upside.
Gus Edwards leads the Ravens running backs in one of the worst fantasy matchups possible in Week 8
First in fantasy points allowed to running backs per game (16.35), second in yards allowed per attempt (3.4), third in receiving yards allowed per game (25), and third in red zone touches on the season (16) – that is what is facing the Ravens as they match up against the Steelers in Week 8.
The Steelers held Saquon Barkley to six yards on 15 carries, Melvin Gordon below 70 yards, Kareem Hunt to 40 yards, and league-leading Derrick Henry to 75 yards. Outside of a long run to Miles Sanders, they held him to six yards on 10 carries.
Neither Edwards nor Dobbins is the caliber of any of the players I just mentioned. Outside of Lamar Jackson, I have a hard time seeing anyone getting much done on the ground in Week 8.
The one thing we have to consider is the bye week the Ravens are coming off of for this game. If you are ever going to need to play a game of this magnitude, having an extra week to prepare could be crucial. Apparently, the big wigs in Las Vegas agree as the Ravens enter this week as a four-point favorite. You rarely see a team that is 6-0 enter a week as an underdog. It has only happened five other times in NFL history.
Gus Edwards is not someone I would be looking to start in fantasy for Week 8
Even with Ingram’s 8.33 touches per game being redistributed, I don’t see Gus Edwards’ fantasy outlook as anything more than a mid-RB3 in fantasy. Edwards led Baltimore with 14 carries for 26 yards against the Eagles in Week 6, and I think it will be a very similar line for him. If he gets over 50 yards rushing, I think that would be overachieving as this matchup is much more difficult.
Due to his passing game ability, I could see Dobbins even outscoring Edwards in PPR this week as receptions far outweigh carries.
I have been of the mindset that none of the Ravens running backs are startable in fantasy due to their absurd timeshare. You can look at their current fantasy rankings to get another glimpse of why I feel this way. Dobbins is RB44 with 45.8 PPR points, Ingram is next at RB48 with 40 PPR points, and Edwards sits at RB60 with 27.8 PPR points.
Let’s take a closer look at Ingram. His rostership plummeted by 15.6 percent on ESPN leagues last week, and I don’t think this was only because of the injury. While the Ravens are one of the higher scoring teams in the NFL, the fact all of the touches and red zone opportunities are split make it impossible to know who is going to get the more valuable touches, assuming Lamar Jackson doesn’t keep them for himself.
Who are some streaming running back fantasy options in Week 8?
Even in a week where one of them is missing, I still would look for other fantasy options for Week 8 if you need a running back. And considering that the running game in Baltimore also has to play another top-five run defense next week against the Colts, you may want to find someone who can serve you for that time.
Players like San Francisco 49ers RB JaMycal Hasty, or Seattle Seahawks Carlos Hyde or DeeJay Dallas make sense. Even Joshua Kelly is available in most leagues and could be a better play in Week 8.
Outside of deeper leagues, I can make a case to drop someone like Mark Ingram at this point as he has the lowest upside of all the Ravens backfield. You could throw out a feeler to see if a contender would be interested in him, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than 30 cents on the dollar for the 30-year-old veteran.
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