The Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars got the third Sunday of the year off to a very early and, frankly, very shocking start in London. The Jaguars pounded the Ravens on both sides of the ball en route to a 44-7 win. It was one of the most impressive wins in recent memory for the Jaguars and tied for the worst loss ever for the Ravens. In case you missed it, here’s what we learned fantasy-wise:
1. The Jaguars will run Fournette wherever and whenever
When Jacksonville turned to Doug Marrone as coach, brought in Tom Coughlin as an executive and drafted Leonard Fournette fourth overall, you knew this would be a no-nonsense, ground-and-pound offense. And through three weeks, all parties have delivered on that. Fournette ran it 17 more times on Sunday — 11 more attempts than anyone else on the Jaguars — for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also had three catches for 21 yards.
For the second-straight week, Fournette recorded a garbage time score to salvage what would have been a relatively average week otherwise. But this week it was different: The Jaguars were up by several scores late. And Fournette’s still getting that work, which is huge in fantasy, where opportunity rules all. Fournette’s averaging nearly 22 touches per game, and that’s with all three games being blowouts. Jacksonville will keep running him, regardless of score.
2. Ravens defense struggles with tight ends again
For the first two weeks, the Ravens defense looked like a fantasy dream: tons of turnovers and sacks and not a lot of points. And it may get back to being that. But now it’s also becoming a dream matchup for another reason: tight ends. If your tight end is hurt or you need to stream one, start looking for a matchup with Baltimore.
Yes, the Ravens shut down Tyler Eifert in Week 1, but Eifert is clearly not 100 percent and the Cincinnati Bengals have been simply awful.
In Week 2, though, David Njoku found the end zone for the Cleveland Browns, and this week Marcedes Lewis scored three times. He had scored three times in the previous three seasons combined! Zachary Orr, the Ravens’ best coverage linebacker from last year, retired, and there’s no replacement of his caliber to be found. Next week the Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jesse James is only owned in 41 percent of leagues. He could be an intriguing — and successful — play.
3. That Jaguars defense offseason hype? Believe it
The Jaguars have a ton of talent on defense. Dante Fowler Jr. can be wreak havoc off the edge. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye lead an outstanding secondary. The linebackers are solid. There’s athleticism everywhere. This is an aggressive defense with the ability to make plays, and you saw that again at Wembley Stadium.
The Ravens’ only touchdown came in garbage time and the Jaguars had three turnovers and two sacks. On the season, the unit now has 13 sacks, eight turnovers and a score through three weeks. Yes, the unit struggled in Week 2 against Tennessee, but with the offensive struggles across the board in the AFC South and the New York Jets on the horizon, this is a defense worth starting, and it’s only owned in 42 percent of leagues.
4. The Ravens still can’t get things going through the air
Joe Flacco isn’t fully healthy and the players around him are suffering for it. Jeremy Maclin was brought in this offseason to help assuage the offensive struggles, but what Flacco is missing most are his unsung heroes: tight end Dennis Pitta, who was his favorite target last year, and guard Marshall Yanda, who is among the best in football.Pitta was released after a season-ending injury and Yanda is also done for the year. Proceed with extreme caution regarding any Ravens’ wideouts, even after Baltimore called more passing plays than anyone last season.
5. Baltimore’s run game is impossible to decipher
Danny Woodhead was a hot commodity coming into the year for PPR leagues, but with him hurt, there’s been a logjam in the Ravens’ backfield. Javorius Allen is the better of the receiving backs, while Terrance West is viewed as a better runner. But so far it’s been Allen with more carries and neither player with a ton of success.
The Ravens check the ball down a ton, which would lead to believe that Allen would be in line for more action, as has been the case. But when the Ravens can control the game on the ground — which they didn’t do in London — West will be the guy, as he was in Week 1. And of course you still have the return of Woodhead coming down the line. Making things even more complicated, Alex Collins got into the mix on Sunday. Granted, it was when the game was decided but he did carry the ball nine times for 82 yards. Right now, it’s hard to trust anyone in this backfield.