Ravens-Bengals DFS Showdown: Slate Strategy Analysis

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Joe Burrow is set for his second postseason as his Cincinnati Bengals open up their AFC-repeat bid in the Wild Card round against the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow will obviously be highly owned on this DFS showdown slate, and it’s wholly warranted, as he’ll be backed up by a bevy of stacking options. Burrow ranked fifth in the league in passing yards and tied for second in passing touchdowns, but we question his feasibility in this matchup. The Ravens have had his number this year, as he’s averaged just 216 yards and a single touchdown in their two matchups.

In the down Burrow games, Ja’Marr Chase has still shined, leading us to back him over his quarterback. Chase has been on a tear since returning from injury five weeks ago. He’s averaged nearly eight receptions and 90 yards per game, to go along with three touchdowns. The target volume has been extraordinary, so we’ll look to roster him here.

To put it nicely, it’s hard to see the light with the Ravens. Their quarterback spot is clearly a mess, their receivers offer barely anything, and the strong, tight end group can’t rely on their quarterback to get them the ball effectively.

JK Dobbins is where we’ll look to play a potential Raven at the multiplier. For Baltimore to have a shot in this game, they’ll need to establish the run early and keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands. They have zero shot of winning in a shootout. Despite our limited Dobbins’s sample size this year, he has 15+ carry upside and a high yardage ceiling to turn optimal. He’s affordable here, so if you expect a slugfest, we love Dobbins as a play here. 


We’re looking to stay away from the Ravens quarterback spot altogether. Tyler Huntley is priced too high for us to rely on his rushing upside as he offers very little with his arm, and now reports have surfaced of Anthony Brown rotating in for some snaps under center. The Ravens’ passing game is nowhere near elite, so they haven’t earned the right to be backed with the circling question marks. Allocate your funds elsewhere.

It’d be rather tricky to roster both Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon, so their viability goes one of two ways in our eyes. Higgins looks great in Burrow or even Chase stacks, as there is enough cheap value with the Ravens to make it work financially. We love pairing Mixon and Dobbins, though, as the “slugfest” narrative we’re trying to create with Dobbins feeds right into the Bengals’ back. Additionally, Mixon has the receiving upside to offer value regardless of Dobbins’s performance, seeing 20 targets over the past three weeks.

All signs point to this being Dobbins’s show, so while Gus Edwards certainly will rotate in for maybe even double-digit touches, he’s priced too high in our eyes to be a play tonight. Kenyan Drake also has too many bodies in front of him to be worthwhile. 

We’d much rather back Tyler Boyd over Hayden Hurst tonight. Baltimore defends the tight end spot very well, as Hurst only was able to create 14 yards off of four receptions against the Ravens last week. We view Boyd as having a safer role, and given the playoff setting, we don’t need to worry about Trenton Irwin eating away at a ton of his snaps. 

Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely ran right through the Ravens’ defense last week, each recording at least 100 yards and combining for 17 receptions. The formula clearly worked, but can we be confident in Tyler Huntley’s arm as he returns to the quarterback spot primarily tonight? No, but do the Ravens have an abundance of desirable options tonight? Also, no. Andrews is a worthwhile play, with Likely’s affordability being particularly enticing. 

We want to stay away from the mess of the receiving room that the Ravens have. DeMarcus Robinson is the safest option, but with a price close to Hayden Hurst, we play the Bengals’ tight end instead. The veteran presence of Sammy Watkins would be where we take a shot, as he turned two catches into 79 yards last week.

The Ravens’ defense is a play we love in Dobbins lineups, as since Roquan Smith’s insertion, the Ravens have only allowed 14.7 points per game. Again, the Ravens defense would correlate nicely with the “slugfest” mantra we’re trying to voice into action with Dobbins.