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Baltimore Ravens fantasy football team preview

Who to target and avoid in fantasy football from the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

We all need to aggressively draft pieces of the Ravens offense in fantasy football. It would be tough to put together a better combination of exploitable pass and rush defenses than what Sharp Football projects the Ravens to face in 2020 (listed below). A year of chemistry built between QB Lamar Jackson and his top two pass catchers, TE Mark Andrews and WR Marquise Brown will pay intense dividends. Running backs Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins should make noise in the box score as well. It’s worth noting that this is not a traditional-minded rushing team. In his guest appearance on episode 233 of the Baltimore Ravens Podcast Network, Warren Sharp indicated that he does in fact consult with the Ravens analytics department. After expressing familiarity with the podcast hosts and recounting meeting with the head of the Ravens’ analytics department, the hosts asked Sharp if he’d contract with any of Baltimore’s opponents. Sharp initially danced around the question by saying that “[He] cannot comment on that”. Sharp continued his answer by then saying that if he were to consult for a team, he “would certainly not work against that team at any point in time — [he’s] not even gonna work for another team within that division. So… you can feel somewhat confident”. In short there’s an extremely high probability that perhaps the single greatest living analytical mind (in football) is advising the Baltimore Ravens on their offensive play calling on a weekly basis in 2020 (26:50 minute mark).

Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule:

  • 4th softest overall schedule
  • 3rd softest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
  • 6th softest blend of pass defenses
  • 5th softest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
  • 3rd softest blend of rush defenses
  • 9th softest in terms of the opponent’s rush defense efficiency
  • The softest in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
  • The softest in terms of the opponent’s offensive pass efficiency
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s offensive rush efficiency

Quarterback

Although Lamar Jackson may not score at as high of a rate as he did last season, coming close to his overall fantasy production (finishing as the QB1 overall in fantasy points), the combination of offensive personnel continuity, stellar play calling, and a season-long slate of defenses that show little promise of limiting him both on the ground and through the air, Jackson should have no problem staying in contention for rights to the overall QB1 spot in fantasy. Jackson massively improved his accuracy from 2018 to 2019. His 2018 Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE—a more accurate measurement of a quarterback’s accuracy than a raw completion percentage) of -5.3% was 4th worst in the NFL. In 2019, he upped it to a respectable 0.8%, good for 12th best in the NFL. Such a gargantuan leap bodes very well for his passing in 2020.

Were Jackson to miss time, backup Robert Griffin III would immediately become startable as a fantasy asset in Baltimore’s well crafted, high-scoring offense.

Running Back

Mark Ingram scored touchdowns at an unsustainable rate last year, making a repeat of his .5PPR RB8 finish unlikely. That said, the lead back in the NFL’s most dominant rushing team should absolutely be going ahead of players like Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and Leonard Fournette. Ingram is still a productive rusher and should at least start the season seeing 18 or more touches per game. Consider him a rock solid RB1 with backend RB1 upside. Ingram is a fine pick at his current .5PPR 4.11, RB22 ADP.

Baltimore’s No. 2 RB job held moderate weekly value from time to time last year with Gus Edwards frequently seeing clock-killing work. Enter rookie dual threat dynamo J.K. Dobbins via the 2nd Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dobbins’ receiving ability is far superior to any other back on the Ravens’ roster and according to reports, the promising rookie has already secured a role in the offense for Week 1. Rush-only back Gus Edwards will syphon carries from the two of them but it’s reasonable to expect Ingram and Dobbins significantly higher workloads than Edwards before long. Dobbins’ .5PPR 7.12, RB36 ADP is a good price to pay for him.

Wide Receiver

2019 rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown produced a handful of spiked weeks last year, despite playing the length of the season while recovering from a Lisfranc injury—a tough injury to come back from. Now fully healthy and bulked up to a more durable 180 pounds—after supposedly playing last season at an unthinkable 157 pounds—Brown is on the precipice of a massive season in the box score. Even at a moderate target volume of six or seven per week, he’s likely to produce as a WR2 at worst. With defenses so concerned over Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability, Brown will routinely face one-on-one coverage downfield. It’s likely that Brown’s future ADP is never again as low as his current .5PPR 7.06, WR32 ADP is. After 2020, he’s a good bet to be a 3rd round pick or better. Draft him aggressively in the 7th round and. Even in the 6th he’d be likely to return value.

OC Greg Roman has claimed a significant increase in workload is on tap for second-year receiver Miles Boykin. Built like an albatross (6’3”, 220lbs), Boykin soars like one too. His 43.5” vertical and 11’8” broad jump are historically noteworthy. Beastly marks in the 40-yard dash’s 10-yard split and cone drills suggest the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, Boykin is likely fighting for fourth on the passing tree pecking order so he’s no more than a final draft pick flyer option.

Unsexy slot receiver Willie Snead operates more as a safety valve than as a fantasy relevant asset. Rookie Devin Duvernay is reportedly being given the chance to challenge for the low-volume job.

Tight End

Third-year tight end Mark Andrews broke out in a big way last year, tying Cooper Kupp with the second-highest receiving touchdown total of 2019 (10). With Marquise Brown hampered in his Lisfranc recovery, Andrews led the Ravens in targets (98). Although Brown will likely challenge Andrews for the target lead this year, it’s worth noting that Andrews only played on 43.2% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps last year. With former teammate TE Hayden Hurst jettisoned to Atlanta this offseason, it’s probable that Andrews’ snap share jumps north of 70%. A move like that easily puts him in contention to finish as the highest scoring tight end in fantasy. Andrews finished as the TE4 last year, behind Travis Kelce (TE1), George Kittle (TE2), and Darren Waller (TE3). All three played at least 82% of their team’s offensive snaps.

TE Nick Boyle finished fourth on the team in targets. Although Boyle doesn’t carry reliable standalone value, Hurst’s departure could push him closer to that point. Should Andrews miss time, Boyle would become an automatic top 12 option at the position.

Kicker

Justin Tucker remains one of the strongest and most accurate kickers in the league. He’s a top tier set-it-and-forget it option.

Defense/Special Teams

Baltimore’s D/ST is loaded with talent. With the offense routinely routing opponent’s and pushing opposing offenses into keep-up mode, the Baltimore D/ST will feast via sacks and turnovers. They’re a great play on a weekly basis.