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Dynasty

32 Teams In 32 Days: Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens are one of the more difficult teams to pin down when ranking dynasty assets. For starters they play a brand of offensive football that has not been prevalent in the NFL since the days of Vince Lombardi and George Halas. Following the injury last season to Joe Flacco and the insertion of 1st round pick Lamar Jackson into the starting lineup the Baltimore Ravens became the most run heavy team in the entire NFL. Strangely enough the archaic system they employed helped propel them into the playoffs as they surged over the second half of the season. Heading into the 2019 NFL season the Ravens front office under new GM Eric Decosta have sought to surround their franchise QB with some dynamic new weapons through both free agency and the draft. Without further ado let us delve into the Ravens lineup from a dynasty fantasy football perspective.

Studs:

Mark Ingram – Mark Ingram was one of the biggest fantasy winners of the 2019 NFL free agency. The former Heisman Trophy winner and the 1st round pick of the New Orleans Saints spent his first 8 seasons in the Bayou. After a slow start to his career, Ingram has actually bucked the trend for RBs and gotten better with age. Over the last three seasons while splitting reps with Alvin Kamara the former Alabama RB has enjoyed the best years of his professional career as you can see below.

As I stated in the introduction the Baltimore Ravens are one of the most run heavy teams in the NFL. I do not expect this to change for the upcoming season. Mobility is the greatest strength of the Ravens young signal caller and the team will seek to maximize this strength by running the football and utilizing the read option and play action. As both a capable runner and receiver Mark Ingram stands to benefit from this philosophy. Ingram will be asked to essentially play the same role as he did a couple years ago in New Orleans being paired with incoming rookie Justice Hill. Barring injury I fully expect Mark Ingram to be a mid to high end RB 1 for the next two years in the Charm City.

Lamar Jackson – This designation as a dynasty stud largely pertains to super-flex leagues. At this stage of his career, Lamar Jackson is still a work in progress. However, as we have seen in the past, rushing QBs provide a safe weekly floor combined with a pantheon style ceiling. If Jackson can bring up his numbers in the passing game and maintain both his health and rushing ability he could be a league winner at the QB position. We all saw last year how Josh Allen was the top scoring QB over the last 4 games of the season largely based on his rushing totals. You can see from Jackson’s numbers below that he is truly a unique style of QB.

You can see from the numbers above that Lamar Jackson is a dangerous weapon on the football field. In just 7 starts and spotty play across the rest of the season, Jackson put up nearly 700 rushing yards! Expect Jackson to flirt with Michael Vick’s 1,039 record for rushing yards in a season by a QB. He certainly has the potential to become only the second QB in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. It will be extremely important to handcuff the dynamic former Louisville signal-caller due to the high injury risk of rushing QBs. The Baltimore Ravens will go as far as Lamar Jackson can take them. We will see how much he has developed.

Duds:

Marquise Brown – Hollywood Brown may well turn into a thing down the road but I do not believe he will live up to his lofty draft status early in his career. As I have said over and over the Ravens are a run first team. Under their young signal caller Lamar Jackson I expect Baltimore to challenge for the league lead in rushing attempts. I am simply not sure if Brown will pair well with the less than accurate Jackson. Coupled with the cold weather games he will play in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Cleveland I’m simply not sure of his fit in Baltimore. You can see from his chart below that Brown is big on speed but the smallest of small players.

I realize that size is not as critical as it once was in the league, especially with the new rules regarding defensive back play. However, I am struggling to find a major difference between Marquise Brown and Tavon Austin. Much like Brown, Austin was an undersized 1st round NFL pick who possessed blazing speed. Both players were drafted into situations that sought to feature the run game and control the clock. I have a suspicion that Brown will prove to be a much more valuable NFL player than a fantasy player. He will draw safety coverage away from underneath routes being run by other players including Baltimore’s fleet of athletic TEs. Draft Marquise Brown at your own risk.      

Breakouts:

Mark Andrews – Of all the weapons at his disposal Lamar Jackson targeted the TE position the most. Mark Andrews may have been the second TE taken in the 2018 draft by the Ravens but he seems to be the most dangerous of the group from a fantasy perspective. The early reports from Ravens OTA’s are that Andrews has picked up right where he left off in his successful rookie campaign. His play has also coincided with injury woes by fellow 2nd year TE Hayden Hurst. Andrews will look to take full advantage of the situation and build on the numbers you see below.

Mark Andrews is an elite level athlete among NFL TEs. He is big, fast, and has soft hands. He has developed a nice chemistry with his QB. Lamar Jackson has accuracy issues at this stage of his career and there is no better safety blanket for a young QB than his TE. I expect Andrews to build on his TE2 rookie campaign and put up low-end to mid TE1 numbers in his sophomore season.

Stashes:

Chris Moore – Many in the dynasty community may not be overly familiar with the 4th year WR out of Cincinnati. At this stage of his career, Moore is the senior statesman in the Baltimore receiver room. He has been getting good publicity all off-season. Beat writers have talked up his OTA performance, team owner Steve Bisciotti said he expects a nice year, and former teammate John Brown said Moore was the best WR on the team and he hoped they would give him more opportunities going forward. You can see from his numbers below that Moore has nowhere to go but up.

The best part about Chris Moore is that he can literally be had for free. Go and check your waiver wire, I would not be surprised if you find him there. Unlike Baltimore’s diminutive 1st round pick, Moore has nice size at 6’1 200 lbs. All the good talk about Moore from ownership on down could be just hot air. However, where there is this amount of smoke there is generally at least an ember. Stash Moore on the end of your bench and see how things play out.

Justice Hill – The Baltimore Ravens selected Justice Hill in the 4th round of the NFL draft with the pick they acquired in the Joe Flacco trade. Hill was selected to pair with prized free agent acquisition Mark Ingram. Justice Hill was an explosive athlete in college at Oklahoma State rushing for at least 900 yards in every season at Stillwater. The former Cowboy followed up a successful college career with an impressive showing at the NFL combine. You can see his numbers and charts below.

For as good a rusher as he was in college Justice Hill was somewhat spotty as a receiver. He certainly has the ability to snatch the ball but was rarely called on in that area. His best season in college saw him corral 31/190/1. Justice Hill has a chance to form a similar duo with Mark Ingram to the one that Ingram had with Alvin Kamara in New Orleans. He is my 4th ranked rookie RB and will have a chance to flash his dynamic speed early in his career and potentially develop in Baltimore’s run-heavy scheme.

Miles Boykin – Boykins was the second WR drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2019 NFL draft. The former Notre Dame Golden Domer is truly an elite level athlete. He possesses everything from size to speed. He will face the exact same difficulties as Marquise Brown but with half the pressure due to being drafted in the 3rd round as opposed to the 1st. We could certainly see a similar situation to last year’s TE class develop. You can see from his chart below just how athletic Boykin is.

Boykin’s size could be an asset as Lamar Jackson develops better touch and accuracy. Another advantage to his size is his ability as a blocker. This could lead to additional time on the field early in his career. You can’t get targets and fantasy points unless you are on the field. The WR position in Baltimore is a work in progress. Will Chris Moore and Willie Snead hold down the fort or will the young rookies force their way onto the field? Do yourself a favor, and as the Ravens did, grab Miles Boykin later in your rookie drafts and stash his immense potential.

Conclusion:

The Baltimore Ravens will be a team in transition for the 2019 NFL season. Newly cemented franchise QB Lamar Jackson will have an entire offseason and preseason to work as the number one QB. Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco has been shipped off to Denver to clear the way for last year’s 1st round pick. The team will largely go as far as Jackson can take them both from an NFL perspective and fantasy perspective. Can Jackson develop his passing game to harness the new weapons the front office has sought to surround him with? Can the young signal caller continue to use his legs in a way that advances the team yet protects him from taking unnecessary punishment at the hands of NFL defenders? Will Jackson’s new teammates such as Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown, and Miles Boykin be able to help the former Louisville signal-caller lead the Ravens back to the playoffs? Or will teams be able to dissect the weaknesses of Jackson’s game as the Charger’s seemed to do in their second encounter with the dynamic athlete last season in the playoffs? Only time will tell how these questions are answered on the field. One thing that I do know is that the Ravens will be a unique team to watch on the Offensive side of the football this year and I for one am curious how this scheme will develop and play out over the course of the season. Stay tuned as we return tomorrow with another edition of our ’32 Teams in 32 Days’ series. Until then happy drafting and don’t make any trades I wouldn’t.


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