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Football Daily Dose

Game of the Year: Jackson beats Browns on MNF

by Kyle Dvorchak
Updated On: December 15, 2020, 9:44 am ET

In what will likely go down as the game of the year, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens knocked off the Cleveland Browns in a 47-42 victory. Justin Tucker nailed a 55-yard field goal to seal the game after Jackson and Baker Mayfield went back and forth in the final frame. The game is tied for the highest-scoring match through 14 weeks of the 2020 season and has major playoff implications. Five AFC teams currently sit between eight and nine wins including the Browns and Ravens. Baltimore is still on the outside looking in but gets a slew of easy matchups to close out the year. It's possible that three teams from the AFC North make the playoffs because of the Ravens' incredible Week 14 win.

The Browns Run Wild

This game goes down as a loss for the Browns but anytime a team hangs 42 points on one of the league's best defenses, it's hard not to see it as a positive indicator for them. Entering Week 14, the Ravens were allowing 19.2 points and 337.7 yards per game. Both marks were top-10 in the league. The Browns dropped 493 yards and more than doubled the average points allowed by Baltimore. Unsurprisingly, Cleveland's running game was effective and efficient. They ran for 138 yards at nearly five yards per carry. Nick Chubb led the way with 17 carries for 82 yards and two scores. Even Mayfield got in on the action with a five-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter.

However, it was the passing game that really lit the Ravens up. Mayfield threw for 343 yards and two scores. Most importantly, Mayfield led Cleveland on what could have been a game-winning drive if it hadn't been for Jackson's heroics in the final seconds of the night. Mayfield went 4-of-4 for 65 yards and a touchdown on a drive that started with less than two minutes remaining. He dueled with the reigning MVP and held his own. With the Browns facing both New York teams in the next two weeks, they are all but assured a playoff spot despite this loss. If their offense plays this well when it counts most, they could be in line for a playoff run.

Fantasy Slant: The most notable takeaway from the Browns side is the target total of Rashard Higgins. Without Odell Beckham available, Higgins has taken on the role of No. 1 outside receiver in Cleveland. That paid dividends in Week 14 with six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Jarvis Landry saw nine targets but the Cleveland tight ends also combined for 10 looks. Landry managed to bring in six receptions for 52 yards. He remains a middling WR3 while Higgins could push for similar numbers versus the Giants next week.

Jackson Looks Like the 2019 MVP

It hasn't been the best year for the 2019 MVP but Jackson looked as good as he ever has on Monday night. Jackson started the night off shaky. He literally couldn't keep his feet under him as the turf in Cleveland continually brought him to the ground unassisted. He slipped multiple times, a few of which resulted in sacks. After the slow opening, Jackson went to work, rushing for 124 yards on just nine carries and scoring twice. Because he was so efficient as a runner, Baltimore rarely needed to take to the air. When they did, the Ravens were just as successful. Jackson averaged 9.6 yards per attempt on 17 passes despite briefly leaving the game with cramps. He was electric as a runner and deadly accurate as a passer. He may not be as dialed in every week as he was versus Cleveland but that upside makes him one of the best fantasy quarterbacks and NFL passers.

Second-round rookie J.K. Dobbins led the Ravens with 13 carries but Gus Edwards was the back making the most of his opportunities. He scored twice on seven carries and added one catch which was on the only target a Baltimore running back saw in Week 14. The two runners project to split the backfield going forward with Dobbins leading the way. Mark Ingram played on one offensive snap. Ingram scored 15 times last year but has been placed behind multiple backs on the Baltimore depth chart.

Fantasy Slant: Even in a game that saw the Ravens give up over 40 points, no Baltimore pass-catcher topped six targets. Mark Andrews led the team with five catches for 78 yards. Because Andrews plays at the weakest position in fantasy football, there's no way any fantasy manager can afford to sit him. Marquise Brown saved a lackluster day with a 44-yard score with two minutes to go. He only brought in two of his six targets. Unlike Andrews, there are viable alternatives to Brown on most fantasy rosters. He is nothing more than boom-bust WR3. 

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Daily Slants

Gardner Minshew was announced as the Jaguars' starter for Week 15. D.J. Chark's only 100-yard game this year came with Minshew under center. He presents a slight upgrade over Glennon but no Jacksonville receiver can be started with any confidence.

Jalen Hurts will make his second start for the Eagles in Week 15. Hurts rushed 18 times for 106 yards last week. His rushing volume makes him a fringe-QB1 but also limits the receiving upside of his pass-catchers.

Denzel Mims stepped away from the Jets for personal reasons last week but returned to the team's practice facility on Monday. He is averaging six targets per game through his first six contests as a rookie but all of his volume comes from Sam Darnold. That severely caps his upside on any given week and keeps him in WR4 territory.