Baltimore Ravens: Fantasy Football Special


It’s that time of the year again as fantasy football drafts are right around the corner. We are 62 days away from the Thursday night opener when the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New England Patriots on Sept. 10. As for that game, I will be happy because that means one of those two teams have to lose. I thought I might take an approach that we haven’t done on this website and talk about the Ravens in the aspect of fantasy football.

The Baltimore Ravens for many years have been known as a defensive juggernaut, but last season they had a very formidable offense. They ranked eighth in total points scored, 12th in total yards and eighth in total rushing yards. Offensive guru Gary Kubiak clearly lifted the Ravens offense and we are not sure how that will affect the Ravens this year. I’m going to break down position by position of when and who to draft from the Ravens offense this upcoming season.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco had his best year of his career statistic wise with Kubiak last season. He posted 3,986 yards, 27 touchdowns and only twelve interceptions. Marc Trestman is now the offensive coordinator in as Kubiak left to be the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Joe Flacco will post around the same numbers, if not even a little better under Trestman. Kubiak employed a run first idea, then going to play-action. Trestman prefers a more pass-happy offense which will definitely increase Flacco’s yards a little bit. Trestman won’t change too much from Kubiak’s offense because of how successful it was, but every coordinator has their wrinkles and quirks. There is the forever on-going “elite” conversation that follows Joe Flacco, but I don’t believe being elite has anything to do with fantasy football.

On ESPN, Flacco has an average draft position of 123.0 which is good for the 17th best Quarterback behind Philip Rivers and in front of Teddy Bridgewater. On Yahoo Fantasy Football, he has an average draft position of 127.2 and on, he is ranked as the 14th best quarterback. I think the 14-15th area is about right for Flacco and he could leap up to 12 if he has a very good year. He will be a good bye week fill in, but you most likely won’t be drafting him as a starter unless you are in a two quarterback league. I will always be a guy in Joe Flacco’s corner, but as a fantasy quarterback he isn’t a top 10-12 option.

Running Backs: Justin Forsett was probably the most surprising fantasy player out of anyone last season. Forsett ended as the eighth best running back in standard scoring. Forsett will likely dip down in production, as we saw a bit of decline towards the end of season due to wear and tear. I don’t think he will rush for quite as many yards as he did last season, but his receptions will go up. Marc Trestman loves throwing to the running back as we saw with Matt Forte these past few years. I think Forsett will have a much higher value in a points per reception league.

Forsett is ranked as the 14th best running back on ESPN and 13th on respectively. ESPN has Alfred Morris ranked one ahead of Forsett and has Morris one behind Forsett. Personally, in a standard scoring league, I would take Morris ahead of Forsett just because I don’t see anyone eating into Morris’ carries since Roy Helu is now on the Raiders. In a PPR league, I would definitely prefer Forsett because I believe he will catch 70-75 balls this year.

Handcuffing Forsett is tough because it seems Lorenzo Taliaferro is the obvious backup, which might be the national consensus, but I am not so sure. The Ravens selected Javarious “Buck” Allen in the fourth round, a guy who the Ravens really like. In all honesty, I see no difference between Allen and Taliaferro fantasy wise. Taliaferro is not ranked in the top 50 running backs on, but on ESPN is ranked 99 overall with his average draft position is 122. So it seems drafters believe Taliaferro is way overrated and I would agree with them. I think the carries in the backfield will be 85 percent for Forsett, eight percent Taliaferro and seven percent Allen. If Forsett went down with any kind of injury, I believe Taliaferro and Allen would equally split time.

Wide Receivers: I believe that this Ravens’ receiving core has some solid depth, but it does not have an appealing fantasy outlook. On, Steve Smith Sr. is the first Ravens receiver ranked at 33, and on Breshad Perriman is ranked ahead of Smith with an average draft position of 108.3, while Smith Sr. has an average draft position of 126.2. I am not sure why ESPN is so high on Breshad Perriman because if you follow the Ravens closely, you know he may not even be the second wide receiver on the depth chart. I don’t mind Smith where he is being drafted because he still has a lot left in the tank and is coming off a very impressive year. I am not touching Breshad Perriman until training camp tells me more about his status. If I am drafting a Ravens receiver, I’m looking at Marlon Brown, who is actually going undrafted on and I think Brown will have a good enough year to be drafted in the late rounds in a 12-14 team league. Personally, I’m staying away from Ravens receivers unless Smith drops very far past his average draft position. Flacco spreads around the ball enough to where it is tough to pin point one receiver. The Ravens offense is also run-first and that won’t change.

Tight Ends: This is another tough position to dissect. Dennis Pitta is still ailing from his hip injury and it is uncertain if he will be able to come back. Crockett Gillmore had a strong OTA’s and has beefed up to 275 pounds, which can create match-up problems with his size and speed. Maxx Williams is the new kid in town after being selected in this years draft in the second round. Williams is a fantastic pass catcher and Trestman has had success with tight ends like Martellus Bennett in Chicago. I would wait till training camp is over to decide on a Ravens tight end. While I think Ravens tight end depth is a strength and will produce, I believe it will come from two or three players (if Pitta comes back) and not just one star tight end.

Defense/Special Teams: has the Ravens rated as their 11th defense and likes them a little bit more at 8th. I believe the Ravens defense will be very good this season and will be anywhere between a top 5-10 defense. It is a very young defense with players like Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan. However, it also has it’s veterans like Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Daryl Smith. Obviously, this team’s strength is racking up sacks which in most leagues is one point per sack, giving the Ravens some very nice value as a fantasy defense. The Ravens struggled with getting turnovers this past season, but with a revamped secondary led by Will Hill and Jimmy Smith, I believe they will be a better fantasy defense than last season.

To be short and sweet, Justin Tucker is one of the best kickers in the NFL and is statistically the most clutch kicker in the NFL. He missed a few kicks last year which pushed him down to the eleventh best kicker in fantasy last year. However, if I have the first pick in the sixteenth round I’m taking Tucker.

Next: Sam Koch, Ravens Agree to Five-Year Extension