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The Ravens made the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Their success in points scored (389 – 13th) and points allowed (287 – 1st) almost matched 2017 (395-303). Baltimore finished with a 10-6 record, which was a step up from 2015 (5-11), 2016 (8-8), and 2017 (9-7).
John Harbaugh returns for his 11th season as head coach for the Ravens. He has a 104-72 record with seven playoff berths and one Super Bowl title.
Greg Roman takes over the offensive coordinator after spending the last two seasons as the offensive assistant and assistant head coach. Roman led the offense of San Fran and Buffalo over six seasons. His strength is running the ball based on two top finishes in rushing yards for the Bills in 2015 and 2016 while ranking highly as well in his last three seasons with the 49ers (4, 3, and 4). Ramon has never finished higher than 23rd in passing yards while delivering about league average passing TDs.
The Ravens brought back Don Martindale for a second year after spending the last five seasons in Baltimore as the linebacker’s coach. His defense finished second in points allowed and first in yards allowed. Martindale has 14 years of NFL coaching experience highlighted by his 2010 season when he had his first shot at being a defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. The Ravens ranked in the top 12 in defensive yards allowed over the last six seasons.
Last season’s stats for the Ravens were somewhat skewed by playing to different style QBs. Baltimore has a top defense, and they want to run the ball as much as possible. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them run the ball over 55 percent of the time and Lamar Jackson had 119 rushes over his seven starts in the regular season.
After sitting on the bench for most of the first nine games for the Ravens, Baltimore inserted Jackson the starting lineup in Week 11 after a 4-5 start to the season with Joe Flacco at QB. Lamar led the team to six wins in seven games and a playoff berth. He completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,114 yards (159 per game) with five TDs and three Ints. His edge came from his legs and Baltimore road him hard in the run game (119/556/4). Jackson only had a season-high of 204 passes yards and averaged 17 rushes per game.
Over three seasons as a starter for Louisville, Jackson passed for 9,043 yards with 69 TDs and 27 Ints. He finished with a low completion rate (57.0) and displayed growth in each year. Lamar is a dynamic runner who has a high volume of chances in 2016 (260/1571/21) and 2017 (232/1601/18). Jackson finished his college career with 4,132 yards rushing with an astonishing 50 rushing TDs. Lamar has a quick release with exceptional velocity for his minimal movement and he will redefine the running game from the QB positions.
Jackson will struggle to make plays in a tight pocket but destroy teams when he breaks into the second level of the defense. When the pocket breaks down, his first thought is to run. Jackson has a shot at breaking Michael Vick’s single-season record in rushing yards (1,039) yards for a QB in his career.
His next step in his development is better vision and movements when the pocket breaks down. Last year he lacked fluid motions in the passing game when breaking free from the pass rush. Lamar has to look no further than Russell Wilson to see where his shortfalls come in his feel for the passing game. Baltimore has a strong defense, and they will rely on the run game.
The Ravens don’t have the right structure at wide receiver to see a big jump in passing yards in 2019, so look for about 175 passing yards per game plus another 60 to 75 yards per week on the ground. The Ravens would be happy with one pass TD per game plus a rushing TD every other game. This projects to about 362 Fantasy points in 4-point passing TD leagues or the seventh-place ranking at QB based on the finish stats in 2018 which makes Jackson a viable QB2 that will outperform many QBs drafted ahead of him thanks to his running ability.
Other Options: Robert Griffin, Trace McSorley
A four-game suspension last year put Ingram behind Alvin Kamara in the RB rotation. In his 12 games (six starts), he averaged 13.25 touches and about 68 yards per game. His best play came in 2016 and 2017 when Mark scored 244.2 (8th) and 281.0 (6th) Fantasy points in PPR leagues. Over the last three seasons over 44 games, Ingram averaged 4.9 yards with 3,707 combined yards, 29 TDs, and 125 catches. In 2018, the Ravens averaged 34.2 rushes per game (45 per game over the last seven contests).
The Ravens’ RB last year gained 1,690 yards rushing on 381 carries with 14 TDs plus 70 catches for 454 yards and three TDs on 91 targets.
Ingram will be the lead back, but he’ll be in a timeshare for touches. I expect the Ravens’ RBs to get between 28 and 30 touches per game. Mark should receive 60 percent of the RB opportunity in this offense. I’ll set his bar at 1,100+ combined yards with a chance at 50 catches and double-digit TDs. The fear of Jackson running the ball may depress his draft value leading to a buying opportunity. The downside here is that Ingram will start the year at age 29.
After riding the bench for the first five games and getting minimal chances in the next four games (15/64 and one catch for seven yards), the Ravens turned to Edwards as the top runner over the last seven games when Lamar Jackson was inserted into the starting lineup.
Over this span, Gus gained 667 combined yards with two TDs and one catch on 123 touches. He came into the league with minimal experience running the ball (350/1690/19) over four years as college due to his full back frame (6’1” and 235 lbs.). As well as he played, Edwards may have a tough time getting double-digit touches in 2019. He’s a power runner with minimal value in the passing game. The signing of Mark Ingram pushes him to a limited role.
As a starting RB for three seasons at Oklahoma State, Hill rushed for 3,539 yards and 30 TDs with some value in the passing game (49/30/1). He ran a 4.4 40 at the NFL combine while showing plenty of strength (21 bench press reps). Justice runs with a quick tempo and a sense of the big play on many carries. His vision, power, and shake help him make defenders miss in the open field. Hill wants to run outside, which may hurt his value in some game vs. a top run defense. He should emerge as the change of pace back for the Ravens. His next step is improving in pass protection to help earn more snaps on passing downs. Possible eight to touches per game while being the top handcuff to Mark Ingram.
Over his two seasons playing in the NFL, Dixon gained 928 combined yards with four TDs and 36 catches over 18 games. In 2018, he ran the ball better than expected (60/333/2 – 5.6 yards per rush), but failed to live up to his previous resume and skill set in the passing game (6/51). In Week 1, the Ravens gave him 13 rushes for 44 yards and one TD. He missed the next ten games with a knee injury. Over the final five games of the season, Kenneth had 47 carries for 289 yards with one TD and six catches. Even with success last year, his lack of health in his career may lead to a midsummer cut. Dixon offers enough the passing game to earn another job if he fails to make the Ravens after the preseason.
Other Options: De’Lance Turner, Tyler Ervin, L.J. Scott
In his first season with the Ravens, Snead caught 62 of his 95 passes for 651 yards and one TD while starting ten games. Willie had five to seven catches in nine games, but he failed to gain over 61 yards receiving in any game. His lone TD came in Week 1. Over his six games as a starter with Lamar Jackson behind center, Snead only had 12 catches for 152 yards on 18 targets. Last year the Ravens’ WRs caught 178 passes for 2,183 yards and ten TDs on 313 targets. A real tough start in any Fantasy format due to his low scoring ability and his small piece of a low-volume passing pie. Possible 60/700/5 season, which gives him a chance at being a WR4 in PPR leagues. His lack of explosiveness would push me elsewhere on draft day unless Snead slides to a WR5.
Brown comes to the NFL with two nice seasons (57/1095/7 and 75/1318/10) at Oklahoma. He lacks size (5’9” and 166 lbs.). His combination of speed and quickness makes him tough to defend in the deep passing game while owning the talent to win battles over the short areas of the field. Brown’s vision grades well with the wiggle and fight to turn quick passes into long TDs. Marquise should get stronger adding more value to his all-around game.
His route running needs more work over the mid-range parts of the field. His cousin is Antonio Brown, which gives him the pedigree to have success at the next level. A more explosive version of Tavon Austin with a chance to reach WR1 level if he gets stronger and proves he can handle the physical play at the next level. In his rookie season with the Ravens, Brown will add value in the deep passing game plus be a threat to do damage on short passes if he can make the defender miss. A good starting point with his Fantasy value would be a 50/750/5 season while waiting to here the training camp reports out of Baltimore.
In a dream world, Boykin would make a helpful step forward to give the Ravens the desperately needed big WR on the outside. Unfortunately, his college resume (77/1026/11) leads to plenty of question marks about his playability at the next level. Miles has size (6’4” and 220 lbs.), speed (4.42 40 yard dash at the NFL combine), and surprising quickness for his build, but he needs to get stronger and improve his route running.
Boykin will struggle vs. press coverage while lacking changing of direction quickness to create space when slowing down on his breaks. His long strikes have a chance to work well on the outside where jumping ability and hands help secure tightly contested balls. This season Miles will get his chances on fades at the goal line plus work a home run threat for Lamar Jackson. Tough to see more than 40 catches while being erratic from game to game.
Baltimore added Roberts to give them another possession type WR to help move the chains. Seth Improved his catch total in each of the last three seasons (32, 38, 43, and 45), but he’s never been a viable starting Fantasy option. Last year he set career highs in catches (45) and receiving yards (494).
Over two seasons at New Mexico State, Scott caught 99 passes for 1,362 yards and 14 TDs in 23 games. His best value came in his senior year when he caught 76 balls for 1,079 yards and nine TDs. Jaleel is a big WR with a short resume and questionable with his route running while needing to improve his technique. A possible scoring threat in the red zone, but he’ll need some time to develop.
Just like Jaleel Scott, Lasley made a definite step forward in his last season in college. As a junior, Jordan caught 69 passes for 1,264 yards and nine TDs. He’ll offer quickness over the short areas of the field with open field running ability. Lasley needs to get stronger with a huge improvement needed in his hands.
Other Options: Chris Moore, Jaleel Scott, Quincy Adeboyejo, Jaylen Smith, Antoine Wesley
In his rookie season, Hurst never found his rhythm in the Ravens’ offense. He caught 13 of his 23 targets for 163 yards and one TD in 12 games. His season started with four missed games due to a broken left foot that required minor surgery. Over the last two seasons at South Carolina, Hurst caught 92 passes for 1,175 yards and three TDs. Many of his highlights in college show him with easy releases and wide-open catches behind the second level of the defense.
Hurst needs to prove he can handle press coverage in the NFL and a tighter catch window. His hands grade well while having the speed to test a defense in the deep passing. The Ravens completed 86 passes to the TE in 2018 for 1,071 yards and five TDs on 127 targets. Hurst has a lot to prove in his second season in the NFL. Baltimore will rotate players at TE, which makes him a tougher buy on draft day. I’d draft him as an upside TE2 in PPR leagues with a chance to become 50/500/5 type player. His weakness in blocking will keep him off the field on many downs when the Ravens want to run the ball.
In his junior season at Oklahoma, Andrews caught 62 passes for 958 yards and eight TDs. He scored 22 TDs over 35 games in college while splitting time at WR and TE. He’s a pass catching TE with questions with his fight in the trenches in the blocking game. His WR history suggests Andrews will struggle with the dirty work needed to play on early downs. Possible mismatch problem again in two TE sets, which gives him some TD value and upside in the right matchup. Last year he led the Ravens in TE catches (34), TE receiving yards (552), and TE TDs (3). Attractive TE option due to his big-play ability especially if Hayden Hurst doesn’t make a step forward in training camp.
Other Options: Nick Boyle, Nick Keizer, Cole Herdman, Charles Scarff
Tucker remains one of the best kickers in the game. Since the NFL moved the line for extra points, he’s 131-for-132 in extra point tries. Justin made 35 of 39 field goals in 2018 while averaging 35 made field goals over the last four seasons.
He made all ten of his 50-yard or longer FGs in 2016 and 5-for-7 in each of the previous two seasons to improve his career success in this area to 38-for-54. Tucker has made 90.1 percent of his field goal chances in his career. Justin finished 2nd in kicker scoring last year, which came after a fourth place and first place ranking in 2017 and 2016. He should be the first kicker drafted in every Fantasy league again in 2019.
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