In a Thursday night affair that was ugly from start to finish, the Baltimore Ravens moved to 4-4 on the season with a 40-0 spanking of the Miami Dolphins. After stepping in for an injured Jay Cutler and leading Miami to a comeback win just days ago, Matt Moore came unhinged in this game and floundered with the rest of the Dolphins as the Baltimore defense allowed just 196 total yards. Baltimore was able to put the hammer on Miami despite losing quarterback Joe Flacco to a gruesome hit in the second quarter. Kiko Alonso delivered the shot on Flacco, who was immediately removed from the game with a concussion. The play sparked periodic skirmishes throughout the remainder of the game, which felt as if it should have been declared over via “mercy rule” before the fourth quarter began.
Prior to his departure, Flacco got back in touch with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin as the duo hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Maclin returned to the field for the first time since Week 5 after dealing with a shoulder injury and caught three passes for 53 yards in a quality effort that was squashed by game flow. Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett only attempted seven passes as the Ravens milked the clock for more than two quarters, which thwarted the fantasy efforts of all Baltimore pass catchers. The lone fantasy bright spot in the entire game was Ravens running back Alex Collins, who handled 20 touches and tallied 143 total yards on the night. Collins’ 18 carries were a season-high and two catches were his first of the 2017 campaign as he valiantly carried the Baltimore offense. The game script won’t always be this friendly for Collins and he still has yet to find the end zone this season, but the young back has looked quick and decisive in his opportunities while chipping off nearly six yards per carry. A combination of Collins and Danny Woodhead (hamstring) could be useful for the Ravens down the stretch once Woodhead is eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 11.
One look at the final score of this game tells you all there is to know about the fantasy contributions from the Miami sideline. Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry combined to see 22 targets but managed to haul in just five receptions each as Matt Moore was picked on by the Baltimore defense for four straight quarters. Moore ended the night with 176 yards on 25/44 passing to go with not one, but two pick-sixes in a truly miserable performance. Moore’s cruddy stat line had company, as running back Jay Ajayi ran 13 times for 23 yards. As if an average of 1.8 yards per carry wasn’t rough enough, consider the fact that Ajayi’s first carry of the game went for 21 yards. Yes, that does indeed mean that Ajayi’s final 12 carries of the game netted a total of six feet. Ajayi will remain an uninspiring low-end RB1 when the Dolphins return home in Week 9.
Dolphins at Ravens Quick Slants
Buck Allen’s contributions come mainly via the passing game, so a 40-0 game doesn’t fit his skillset well. Allen caught just one pass but did chip in with 55 yards on 17 carries and should return to delivering PPR contributions next week at Tennessee. … Kenyan Drake was the only Miami running back to handle rushing duties behind Ajayi. Drake turned six attempts into 22 yards and would likely get first crack at the starting gig if Ajayi were to miss time. … Ben Watson found the end zone to salvage his fantasy night, but the tight end caught just two passes for six yards before the Ravens went into slow down mode. … Leonte Carroo had just four career receptions prior to Thursday but pumped out 48 yards on six grabs as the Dolphins tried to chase down the Ravens. Carroo won’t be a fantasy option any time soon but it was an encouraging performance for those hanging on to the second-year receiver in dynasty leagues. … Kenny Stills caught five of 10 targets for 65 yards and has seen a healthy 19 targets in the last two weeks.
In Other News…
Any time a player who is relied upon as a weekly WR1 suddenly misses practice, the fantasy world is gripped by apprehension as details are slowly pieced together regarding the player’s status. That was the case on Wednesday when New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas was missing from Saints practice with a knee issue. Coming off a seven catch, 82-yard performance in Week 7, Thomas’ absence was a surprise to fantasy owners everywhere and sparked hand wringing and desperate Brandon Coleman waiver pickups. Thankfully, fantasy folks received good news on Thursday as Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters that Thomas’ injury was not significant or long-term. While Payton didn’t go into specifics regarding the health of Drew Brees’ top target, Thomas was back on the practice field on Thursday and will be safe to start in fantasy leagues when New Orleans hosts Chicago’s surprising 9th-ranked pass defense on Sunday.
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Injury News and Notes
Stefon Diggs (groin) practiced on Thursday and looks to be in line for a Week 8 return to game action as the Vikings play the Browns in London. Diggs can be started in fantasy lineups if he is active but the groin issue is still worrisome. … Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) missed practice on Thursday and a Week 8 return still seems like a longshot. … Golden Tate (shoulder) practiced in limited fashion on Thursday but should still be viewed as a dicey bet to play in Week 8. Theo Riddick and perhaps T.J. Jones will see extra slot action if Tate sits. … Tate’s teammate Kenny Golladay (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday after appearing to be heading for a Week 8 return. Friday should tell us more about the rookie’s condition. … Jameis Winston (shoulder) did not throw at Thursday’s practice but will be ready to roll on Sunday against Carolina. … Carson Palmer (arm) was officially placed on injured reserve on Thursday, meaning he won’t be able to return until Week 16 when Arizona will be well out of the playoff discussion. … Danny Amendola (knee) was limited at practice on Thursday but is considered questionable for Week 8 and should be monitored as Sunday approaches.