Daily Dr. Roto — July 18, 2018
Baltimore Ravens Team Preview
Outlook: I’ve got a bad feeling about the Baltimore Ravens. With Joe Flacco in the last year of his contract, I can easily see the entire franchise heading towards a facelift at some point during the season. You heard it here first—if the Ravens start out 1-5 or 2-6 Head Coach John Harbaugh will be the first coach fired in 2018!
QB: The only way I am drafting Joe Flacco this season is if I am in a Best Ball Draft and I am in desperate need of a QB3 somewhere around Rounds 16-18. The writing is on the wall in Baltimore for Flacco. He is in the last year of his contract, the team just drafted its QB of the future in Lamar Jackson, and eighty percent of his receiving corps is brand new. How does this bode well for his Fantasy success? Add to it that he is playing for a head coach who likes to run the football and you can easily see why Flacco is one of my least favorite QBs this season. That said, I am completely all-in on rookie QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson may lack finesse as a passer, but he is a supreme athlete whose production at the college level was legendary. The NFL is turning to mobile QBs to run spread offenses, and no QB will fit that scheme better than Jackson. When he eventually gets to start, Jackson will dominate the Fantasy landscape, and I highly recommend him to all owners in dynasty formats.
RB: I am torn on Alex Collins. On the one hand, I am a big fan and feel that his game is perfectly suited for the NFL. He runs through tackles, yet has an exceptional burst that allows him to get to the edge. Additionally, his Irish dancing background has helped his footwork which has allowed him to be patient enough to find the available running lanes as they arise. This makes him an extraordinary player. That said, I am not in love with the fact that the Ravens limited passing game means that opposing defenses will most likely stack the box to stop Collins. Collins is going in the 3rd round of most FFWC Drafts which seems about correct; however, he could end up being undervalued or overvalued depending on how well the rest of the offense performs. On obvious passing downs, the Ravens will bring in Javorius (Buck) Allen. Allen has shown glimpses as both a runner and receiver in the past but lacks the elusive speed needed to become a next level talent. Also returning this season after dealing with injuries in 2017 is Kenneth Dixon. I was a big fan of Dixon’s coming out of Louisiana Tech, but with Collins asserting himself so well last season and Allen having a firm grasp of the passing down reps, Dixon will need an injury to have any significant value.
WR: When Jon Gruden decided to sign Jordy Nelson, the only way he was able to do so was to release Michael Crabtree. Thus, Crabtree was sent packing from Oakland and needed a new home to find targets. The Ravens smartly scooped him up as he is talented, but I see his overall target numbers decreasing significantly this season. Crabtree normally goes in the 5th round of most drafts, but there is no way that I will take him unless his falls farther than that. The Ravens also signed castoffs from other teams. John Brown comes over from Arizona, and Willie Snead IV comes over from New Orleans. Both players have had success at their previous homes, but it remains to be seen if they will connect with Flacco. Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore round out the rest of Flacco’s receivers, but I can’t imagine that they will be selected in any format.
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TE: The Ravens are exceptionally deep at tight end but lack experience. Nick Boyle is most likely going to be named the starter, but he lacks the hands to be a reliable pass-catching threat. Boyle is a reasonably decent blocker, so expect him to play on obvious running downs. The team also drafted two rookies in 2018. The first, Hayden Hurst, is a very well-rounded player who will push for playing time immediately. The other, Mark Andrews, is a very talented pass catcher who needs to work on his upfront blocking. If Hurst shows well in training camp, expect him to lead the team in receptions at the position. For dynasty purposes, Andrews might have the most upside, but it could take him three years to develop.
K: Justin Tucker is one of the top kickers in Fantasy Football. He has a leg that can boom 60+ yard FGs, but he occasionally loses attempts due to game flow when the Ravens are behind.
D: For some reason Fantasy owners still draft the Ravens defense thinking that they are getting Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. That is the farthest thing from the truth. While the Ravens still wear purple and put up the occasional good defensive game, I much prefer them as a streaming defense on a given week.
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