Tabor’s Take- Contrarian Showdown- Bengals @ Ravens

What’s up RPS, I was out for a few weeks, but I’m back and ready to give out some winners tonight! We’ve got a really good primetime game and I feel like that hasn’t been the case lately in the NFL. Last week was a game between the Justin Fields less Bears and the Carolina Panthers. FRICKEN UGLY.  Tonight we get a division battle between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow VS Lamar Jackson. It’s going to be a great game and should make for a fun DFS showdown.

Now, a little about me and this article. I’m a single entry DFS player who enjoys building and rooting for my one team that I spent hours to construct. The difference between myself and other single entry players, is that I prefer to build in a very contrarian way. You’ll rarely see a Patrick Mahomes captain when you see Tabor5 at the top of a showdown leaderboard and that’s what this article will do for you. I try to focus on the not so popular builds and players that give us the edge we need to take down some big time cash! Let’s take a look at todays game.

Game Notes: Following Vegas and these lines can be important to your builds. Game flow, outcomes, and the line changes can all make a difference. Today we have the Ravens favored at home by -3.5. I personally love the line because it’s division football, it’s Joe Burrow off a bad loss and I just think there’s no way this is more than a 3 point game. Bengals with the points and honestly Bengals money line are my picks here. Lamar is 7-2 against the Bengals in his career and gets to play at home, Burrow is just 3-3 against the Ravens. Both the spread and the over/under (46) have basically stayed the same since these lines opened. 51% of money is on the Ravens here, which I kind of find bizarre being a division game and that half point being a big one. Nothing in the betting lines and their movement are giving us much of an edge today. Seems pretty clear cut that this should be a close division game and I doubt that changes.


Injuries: There’s really only one injury worth mentioning for us. The Bengals are without Tee Higgins today. This will open up more opportunity for guys like Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin. We also saw Burrow target his tight ends 12 times last week without Higgins in the lineup. That’s the most we’ve seen all year and I expect them to use these guys again today. 


Captain Plays 

Lamar Jackson- I’m not typically a QB at captain guy, I think there’s an advantage to being different and playing the guys that can take advantage of the PPR scoring. Lamar is different though. You have to factor in the rushing upside and the touchdowns he can get on the ground and I think that makes him the best captain play. I have a big fade in my fade section that will make us different, so I’m not worried about eating chalk here. The thing with Lamar is that you can play him without a receiver since he can create on his own. I think my build today is likely 3-3 since I’m projecting a close game. Lamar with at least one pass catcher and possibly two. Burrow with two is a lock for me with the Higgins injury. I still prefer Lamar in my captain.

Tyler Boyd- $6,800 is a great price for a guy that I think could lead the team in targets today. Higgins has missed two games this season and in those games Boyd has seen 19 targets. That’s 9.5 per game and a great spot for Boyd out of the slot where he should see a lot of man coverage. I like Lamar, but I’m not at all hesitating to save captain salary with Boyd tonight if my build requires it.

Joe Mixon- I think the Bengals win this game so i want their running back. A couple things stick out to me though. The Ravens lead the league in sacks and that’s not good for Joe Burrow and this offensive line who tends to give up a lot of sacks. This pressure should boost a guy like Mixon in the short passing game. He should see his 15-20 carries, but I think we see 5 plus targets as well here. These are the only 3 I’m considering at captain today.


Flex Plays

Joe Burrow- Thus guy is averaging 39 pass attempts a game. He’s been over 40 the last two games and they held leads for a lot of it. 20+ fantasy points is hard not to achieve when he’s dropping back at this rate.

Mark Andrews- Tight ends against man heavy schemes are always a good idea. Certainly when they are named Mark Andrews and when they are the quarterbacks favorite weapon.

Isaiah Likely- I like these tight ends today. Likely only saw 4 snaps last week which is a tad concerning, but he’s been pretty regularly in the 20-25% snap share range and I expect that number today. When he’s in he can definitely draw some targets. I think the Ravens utilize the tight ends today, that makes $600 a price I’m certainly willing to pay.

Kickers- I’m not really on board with the defenses today, but kickers are fair game. I think the $1,200 savings for McPherson is appealing when Burrow and the Bengals could easily stall out with so many pass attempts.



Ja’Marr Chase- More so fading at captain, but I’m actually ok with the complete fade. Chase comes in as the highest priced option on this slate and he’s also got the toughest matchup. Chase and Higgins are actually one of the easier duos in the NFL to project based on matchups. Ja’Marr excels in zone coverage. His first look rate from Burrow in zone is nearly 40%, and while he still gets first looks in man coverage, it drops significantly to 26%. I mention this because the Ravens are a top 10 team in man to man coverage rate. This will likely mean that Chase sees a lot of Marlon Humphrey and I think Burrow ends up targeting some of these value guys with no Higgins, even more so than he did last week. Bumps to Boyd, Irwin and the tight ends for me and this also makes us different as I’m sure Chase is the first person in for a lot of people today.

Zay Flowers- Flowers also struggles in man coverage which the Bengals also run at an above average rate. Flowers actually has the lowest fantasy points per route run (0.24) against man coverage on the entire team. Easy fade for us today.


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