NEW ENGLAND (vs. Baltimore)
This matchup has some potential for the Patriots offense. Baltimore contained the Jets for most of Week 1, but just made Tua Tagovailoa look like Dan Marino. Baltimore has ...
... coverage issues in the secondary, dating back to last season. New England might have to play out of character (it's a much better situation for the pass than the run), but some chance for above-average numbers. ... Mac Jones is nothing special, averaging 224 passing yards a year ago, with 22 TDs, and 233 so far this year, with 1 TD in each game. But he's facing a defense that ranked 1st against the run and last against the pass a year ago, and has started out similarly (8th against the run, last against the pass). Joe Flacco's production came in garbage-time and is less meaningful, but Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and 6 touchdowns, with numerous coverage breakdowns. ...
This report is taken from today's Week 3 edition of Fantasy Index Weekly. The newsletter includes our player rankings and 16 pages of matchup previews, plus stat projections and custom rankings for the games being played this weekend.
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... It's early, but Baltimore has some injury issues in the secondary; definitely the way to attack this defense. Jones is capable enough; as a rookie he faced three other defenses ranked at least a dozen spots higher against the run than the pass. The Patriots aired it out plenty in those matchups.
|Jones vs. top-10 run defenses|
Definitely a week to consider Jones ahead of some more accomplished quarterbacks with inferior matchups. Jones isn't a runner, rushing for more than 12 yards just three times in his career, with no touchdowns. But the passing production should be pretty good. ... Passing production should be up, and there are two favored targets right now. Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor are lightly regarded players, but they're the main options, with three to four times as many receptions as any other receiver. Meyers has been frustratingly unproductive as a scorer, with just 2 career touchdowns. But he's caught 13 passes for 150 yards, with more consistency than you might think. Since the start of last season he's caught at least 4 balls 17 times in 19 games, plus a pair of 2-point conversions to go with those touchdowns. Agholor was a disappointment last year, but he drew praise in the preseason and it's carried over through the first two games. He's caught 9 of the 11 passes thrown his way, for 138 yards and a score; an impressive touchdown grab against the Steelers. Other wideouts could still be factors, and it's a good week for that to happen. But thus far Kendrick Bourne has caught just 3 passes while hardly getting on the field. DeVante Parker has played over 75 percent of the snaps in both games (more than Agholor), but they don't seem to have any interest in throwing to him. He's seen 2 targets in each of the first two games, resulting in a single 9-yard catch. ... The tight ends haven't been factors yet. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are playing plenty, and each caught 2-3 passes at Miami. But neither caught a ball at Pittsburgh. Maybe one of these players emerges as a favored target, but a leap of faith is required before putting either one into a lineup. The Ravens have allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown each of the first two weeks, but both are reasonable possibilities for such a throw. ... The Ravens have had a top-10 run defense four years in a row, and look similar thus far (Jets and Dolphin ran for 83-86 yards without scoring the first two games). New England is a better rushing team, with a pair of quality backs in Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. But production will probably be below-average, and the first two games suggest a 60-40 (or 55-45) split of carries. Harris has 24 carries and 4 receptions, Stevenson 17 and 3. Harris banged a knee on his final carry at Pittsburgh and seemed to be in some pain, but said he was fine afterward and we're presuming as much for now. Stevenson (though he has one fewer catch) has looked like the preferred back in passing situations, with Ty Montgomery on IR, so he might finish with more total yards in this particular matchup. ... The offense has struggled to just 24 points in the first two weeks, keeping Nick Folk off the field. He's attempted just 2 field goals, missing from 52 last week. A year ago he averaged more than 2 field goals per week (36 on the season). There's still time to get things sorted out, but maybe not this week. The Ravens have allowed just 1 field goal their first two games, and just 21 (3rd-fewest) all of last season. ... The Patriots Defense has only 2 takeaways so far, but it does have 6 sacks. That lines up with Lamar Jackson's strengths and weaknesses; he's thrown 32 interceptions in his three-and-a-half seasons as a starter (just about 9 per year) but taken more sacks in each ensuing season, including 38 in 12 games a year ago. Call it a favorable situation for sacks, less so for takeaways. He's lost just 13 fumbles in his career.