It has been a roller-coaster week for Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson — he’s been on the Ravens’ injury report with an illness. Let’s look at whether Jackson is expected to be playing today and who might step up in his place in fantasy football if he is out.
Update: Stacy Dales reported on NFL Network that Tyler Huntley will start for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11.
Is Lamar Jackson playing today against the Bears?
When Jackson returned to practice Friday, it appeared as though he was on track to play. However, the Ravens’ QB was then listed as questionable by the Ravens Saturday due to illness. As of Saturday evening, Adam Schefter reported Jackson was said to be 50-50 for Sunday. He will be tested when he arrives at the stadium to see whether can suit up.
The good news is that this is not a COVID situation for Jackson. If it were, he would be automatically ruled out. But instead, he is “just” sick. That makes it hard to know whether Jackson will suit up and how long he will be able to play. If he begins to struggle during the game, the Ravens may have to turn to their alternative options mid-game.
Who could the Ravens turn to in Week 11?
The Ravens only have one other QB on their 53-man roster, Tyler Huntley. Huntley has taken 16 snaps for the Ravens this season. He had 3 carries in the Ravens’ 34-6 demolition of the Chargers in Week 6. Huntley then spelled Jackson in the Ravens’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Huntley completed 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards on 12 snaps. He also took 28 snaps last year, throwing the ball just 5 times for 15 yards, and adding 23 yards on 10 carries.
The Ravens also elevated QB Trace McSorley from the practice squad ahead of Week 11. McSorley has not played since 2020 and has limited NFL experience. He is 3-of-10 for 30 yards and a touchdown throwing the ball, with 6 carries for 18 yards. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, McSorley would backup Huntley if Jackson cannot go.
What should Jackson’s fantasy managers do?
The decision for Jackson’s fantasy managers is a tough one. Even if Jackson is active, he could just be active as the emergency QB if he is struggling with an illness. The likelihood is that if he is active, he will start. The problem is what happens if he is limited or has to leave the game. Unless we hear such from the Ravens, that is impossible to know in advance.
Jackson is such a vital fantasy contributor when playing at his best that it is hard to sit him if he is active. Fantasy managers will likely have to take the plunge and start him if the Ravens announce him as active.
Beyond Jackson, his status has an impact on other fantasy options. The running game will still have potency with Huntley or McSorley under center, but not to the same level. The bigger concerns come with the pass-catching options. If Jackson is inactive, his managers may want to turn to Huntley in a deep superflex format, but it would be risky given the limited play we have seen from him.
Neither Huntley nor McSorley has fantastic numbers in their NFL career. Trusting them to distribute the ball consistently to the likes of Mark Andrews, Sammy Watkins, and Rashod Bateman is less than ideal. Ultimately, fantasy managers still have to trust Andrews even if Jackson cannot go. Still, with questions over the backfield (Devonta Freeman/Latavius Murray) and the receivers — they could all be tough calls to make.