Welcome to Stealing Signals, your look at snaps, touches, game flow, efficiency and everything in between. Stealing Signals is a game-by-game breakdown of everything you saw in your Fantasy box score, identifying what is signal and what is noise to help you make decisions for future weeks.
Ravens 42 - Jets 21
Key Stat: Lamar Jackson — 5 pass TD on 23 attempts
- There's not much to say about the Ravens that we didn't already know, but one thing we can do is marvel at the extent of Lamar Jackson's greatness. Much has been made about Jackson setting the quarterback rushing record, but his passing efficiency hasn't just been adequate, or good, or even great. He's having an all-time season. Jackson's 8.9% touchdown rate is now higher than Patrick Mahomes' in 2018, and with it he's thrown 33 touchdowns on just 370 attempts. No one in the history of the NFL has ever thrown more than 36 touchdowns on fewer than 497 attempts, the number Peyton Manning threw in his record-breaking 2004 season. Jackson setting the rushing record certainly appeared plausible coming into the year, but that he appears poised to set a new passing touchdown standard for lower-volume quarterbacks — with just six interceptions to date — has to have surpassed even the most optimistic passing projections for his first full season under center, and it's created an absolutely lethal Fantasy combination.
- Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown were his preferred targets, as they have been throughout the year. Each scored, as did Seth Roberts on an efficient 3-3-66-1 line. Rushing production from a quarterback often eats up a lot of the Fantasy potential for an offense, but Jackson's high touchdown rate has allowed for multiple productive seasons from his receiving corps on lower volume.
- Mark Ingram had his fifth multi-touchdown game of the season. In PPR formats, he's gone over 20 in each of those five games, while otherwise topping out at 16.4 and settling for single digits five times. He's been great as a rusher, but doesn't catch a ton of passes, and has thus been the 2019 poster boy for the value of being the lead back in an elite offense.
- Le'Veon Bell caught multiple passes for his seventh straight game, bringing his total to 57 for the season. But Bell is the anti-Ingram, having scored just four touchdowns all year for a Jets team with just 23 offensive touchdowns for the season. The Ravens, by comparison, have 53. Bell's lack of scoring and rushing inefficiency (3.3 yards per carry) have led to a disappointing season, despite him maintaining a high share of touches when active (played 86% of the snaps in Week 15).
- With Ryan Griffin and Demaryius Thomas inactive, the Jets passing game centered on Jamison Crowder (11-6-90-2) and Robby Anderson (6-4-66). Small-school speed demon Vyncint Smith got extended run, and hauled in three of five targets for 40 yards, while the tight end reps were split between Daniel Brown and Trevon Wesco.
Signal: Jets — more concentrated target tree without much of a tight end presence; Vyncint Smith — filled Demaryius Thomas role
Noise: Ravens — any receiving option outside Andrews or Brown is touchdown chasing, as they are the only two with more than 350 receiving yards for the season
Friday news and notes
- Kyle Shanahan noted Raheem Mostert "has given us no choice" regarding his leading role in the 49ers' running back committee. That's a positive note that we should expect Mostert to again lead the backfield in Week 15, but it's entirely possible some combination of Tevin Coleman and the now-healthy Matt Breida mix in more than they did the past two weeks.
- Reports indicate there has been no change in Jordan Howard's status. That should mean plenty of Miles Sanders as the lead back again in Week 15, but Boston Scott likely earned a larger role after performing well starting when Sanders left the game for cramps in the third quarter. Scott finished with 128 total yards on 16 touches in the overtime win.
- Evan Engram is not expected to play in Week 15, which should mean a full role for Kaden Smith again and plenty of available targets for the wide receiver trio. Eli Manning will start for the second straight week.
- After some early-week optimism JuJu Smith-Schuster is not expected to play in Week 15. If you're still rostering him, it's safe to cut him, as there would be little reason to trust him in his first game back, assuming he gets back for Week 16. The Steelers will continue to roll with Diontae Johnson and James Washington as the lead receivers in a low-volume passing offense.
- Gerald Everett is trending toward missing another game, which should mean plenty of Tyler Higbee for the third straight week. Higbee has flourished over the past two as a big beneficiary of the Rams' adjusting their offensive looks. Given the success Los Angeles has found, it's hard to imagine they will go away from what has been working, which gives Higbee a strong outlook again for Week 15.
- Will Fuller is trending toward playing, as he is reportedly feeling good while practicing in a limited capacity this week. We'll need to confirm his status Sunday, but Fuller has shown off his trademark huge upside already this season and is a high-ceiling playoff option for those willing to take on the risk.
- Josh Jacobs has been officially limited but "looking great," per offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Jacobs appears ready to return after a one-week absence, which will mean DeAndre Washington being relegated to a backup role. It's possible Oakland will use more of a rotation in Week 15, though, and Jacobs carries a little more risk than usual.
- Damien Williams has been practicing in a limited capacity and could be a Sunday morning decision. Recently added Spencer Ware led the Chiefs backfield in snaps in Week 14, and it seems likely Williams will again be the lead back when healthy. But his health is the key, and for Week 15 we're likely looking at a rotation even if he does suit up.
- Adam Thielen is tentatively expected to make his return from a multi-game absence for the Vikings. Thielen would be tough to trust in a matchup with the Chargers, who have allowed the third-fewest Fantasy points to WRs. Of course, the Vikings have played it safe with Thielen, so if they do activate him, we should probably expect that he's back at 100%.
- Scotty Miller is expected to return from a two-game absence for the Bucs, which complicates how they will replace Mike Evans. Last week, Justin Watson saw an uptick in snaps in Evans' place, but Miller had previously played ahead of Watson. Both could see partial playing time, while Breshad Perriman would be expected to play a full-time role.
- Bo Scarbrough missed Thursday's practice after getting in a limited session Wednesday, and the mid-week downgrade could mean he's in danger of missing Week 15. Scarbrough isn't a high-upside Fantasy option, but if you were considering him as a high-floor RB2, you'll likely want to consider alternatives this week. Meanwhile, Kerryon Johnson reportedly got in a good practice this week and activating him from IR for Week 16, when he's first eligible, sounds like a possibility for the Lions.