Nobody saw it coming in August, but the NFL game of the year is this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently, nobody at the NFL offices noticed as two week ago either as they kept it on the noon slate. We have detailed these teams throughout the season and touched on the Ravens now elite defense in last week’s article.

This game will feature the #2 (San Francisco) and #4 (Baltimore Ravens) defenses by DVOA. Both teams are built around running the football in schematically dynamic ways and setting up play action off it. This leads me to the edge I’m using in this game. The Baltimore Ravens have the 3rd highest difference between yards allowed per play against play action (8.9) and all other plays (6.0). They are bottom 10 in the NFL against play action defensively. The 49ers are 6th in play action play percentage (29%), and 5th in play action yards per play (9.3) offensively per sports info solutions. This is despite their top play action receiving option missing multiple contests. Conversely, the 49ers are #1 in the NFL in play action yards per play allowed (5.6). This line opened correctly with the Ravens as a field goal favorite but quickly balloon to the Ravens being six-point favorites. The line has been pushed up too much. The line swelled based on the Ravens destruction of the Rams on national television, but everyone forgot the 49ers did the same thing to a better team the night before, without Joe Staley. In fact, the 49ers have been quite injured for an elite team and have the possibility of getting both Dee Ford and Joe Staley back for this contest. The 49ers also have the unique ability with their secondary talent to be extremely multiple by using Jimmy Ward as either a safety, or corner, and the ability take more risks with run blitz/extra players in the box. In my view, this is as bad of a matchup that exists for a scorching hot Ravens team. In terms of fantasy football, I would avoid Ravens pass game options in this one if possible. Obviously, don’t sit Lamar.

Seahawks Pass Protection (Source: Sports Info Solutions)

The Seattle Seahawks are an average team sneaking by despite serious flaws based on the incredible Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are horrid up front. They are bottom ten in adjusted line yards, and 31st in offensive pressure rate allowed. In fact, both of the team’s losses have come to teams in the top 10 in pressure rate defensively. The Vikings are currently #7 in the NFL in pressure rate, with Mike Zimmer coming off a bye week to prepare for a team that had to travel back across country. I like the Vikings to win this game and limit the scoring output of the Seahawks. Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett are likely still a locks in your season long fantasy leagues, but D.K. Metcalf and a split carry Chris Carson are fringier than people believe.

Need A Stream? Nick Foles is Here (Source: Next Gen Stats and Football Outsiders)

The Jaguars have gone 0-2 since Nick Foles has returned from injury. He is incorrectly taking the brunt of the blame. Their defense has been atrocious in the second half of the season and is currently #23 in DVOA. The Jaguars are 6th worst in opponent yards per play and the worst in the NFL over the last 3 games without playing against a single top 10 offense. Doug Marrone is well on his way to getting fired. Nick Foles has been quite effective with a completion percentage 3.1% over expected. He has had poor touchdown per attempt numbers this season and this should get corrected against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. This game has sneaky shootout potential unless the Jaguars run Leonard Fournette 30 times into a top 3 run defense. Either way Nick Foles is a quality streamer in week 13.

Tennessee Titans Perfectly Constructed to Win AFC South (Source: Football Outsiders)

Another blurb I didn’t think I would be writing this year. I’m not sure how they have done it in Tennessee. The team isn’t very good, but somehow is built to beat all the teams in their division. They control the line of scrimmage on both sides (#13 in offensive adjusted line yards, #6 in defensive adjusted line yards). They don’t get much pressure, but the only team in the division who doesn’t primarily look to run the football has a bottom 5 offensive line (Houston). They effectively protect the quarterback themselves (#12 in pressure rate), and have a quarterback playing the best football of his life in Ryan Tannehill, who leads the NFL in completion percentage over expected. The team is built to compete with their two non-divisional opponents in the Saints at home and Oakland on the road as well. For this week, I like their ability to limit the beat-up Colts, and for Derrick Henry to continue to roll. There isn’t a lot of fantasy goodness in Nashville, but it is a team that I came around far too late on in 2019.

  1. Stupid Sexy Glanders says:
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    well TEN themselves almost came around on themselves too late, leaving mariota in there as long as they did. they wouldn’t be in any division winning convos with him still in there.

    • Pat

      Pat says:
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      Certainly true. Mariota will be one of those interesting case studies of if it was injury deterioration or all mental. He went from making reads and getting the ball out quick and appropriately almost every drop back as a rookie to a guy who couldn’t read any coverages in year two. For that reason I assume this is a mental block. Will be interesting to see if sitting on a bench for a year to clear his head will help or if the career is lost.

      • Stupid Sexy Glanders says:
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        true, he did look good back then, not since almost all games, outside of constant injuries (supposedly none this year, it’s possible he just lied his way through some though of course) he could be like what usually happens with a lot of TOP WR/TE’s they all of a sudden come on in like year 5 or 6.

  2. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    daily FAAB so i can drop for week 14 now (had BUF last few weeks, still have their stats from week 13). better add:
    PHI @ MIA (5th best DVOA going into today)
    NYJ @ CIN (6th)

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      it’s yahoo daily tomorrow so i can obtain for next week now (and some in league aren’t even aware of this, you see few adds the night after a game, which technically i could’ve added a new week 14 D the night after BUF’s game locked so friday 3 AM eastern. people get used to only putting in claims wed 3 AM i guess).

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        oops, these matchups listed are for THIS week, they have these actually for week 14:
        PHI vs NYG
        NYJ vs MIA

        both still great though

        • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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          with MIA moving the ball at will vs PHI this became easier.

          • Pat

            Pat says:
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            I think I might rather have the Bills against the Steelers over both. I might still prefer Philly second. I like the Jets, but with Brian Poole out possibly (injured during game today) that secondary outside of Jamal Adams is atrocious.

  3. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    now we might be able to start guice, his 3rd super long (or is it 4th) play of the year, 2 in this game. hell if we take super long gains for RB’s PER play he’s probably near top of the entire league now, he’s had so few carries/catches. i almost put him in over m-will in one spot where i don’t need to win this week, will from now on though.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      well m-will was fine, should’ve put him over t-will then. played aj brown/t-will at the WR spots and m-will at the flex (over guice). could’ve been better.

    • Pat

      Pat says:
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      They will certainly give him the rock. It’s really all about if you think they will be able to stay in games.

  4. Better Call Limehouse says:
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    holy crap CAR’s D is bad. like real bad. WAS’s D meanwhile has shown up today for what like the 3rd time or something all year.

    • Pat

      Pat says:
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      I think the Panthers defense is one of those cases in which the high level players aren’t elite enough to prop up the below average ones surrounding them. The offense puts them in a lot of bad spots as well. All in all the teams simply isn’t that good.

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