With ESPN and Yahoo NFL Fantasy Football leagues starting shortly, and Best Ball leagues already going, our goal is to get you prepped early for your upcoming NFL fantasy drafts with our team previews that feature a look into key positional additions and departures, breakdowns, and possible sleepers.
We’ll be releasing four team previews per week, starting June 25 and going through August 16, beginning with the AFC East.
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Last day’s preview: The Cleveland Browns
- Key Fantasy Departures: Targets
- Offensive additions
- Best Ball ADP
- Positional breakdowns: QB, WR, RB, TE, O-line
- Preseason players to watch
- Betting guide
- NFL Fantasy players to target
- Biggest question mark
- Fantasy football sleepers
- Awesemo’s fantasy football rankings
- News and updates: check back throughout the next two months
- Final thoughts
It’s a new era in Baltimore, with the semi-retirement of long-time General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Gone as well, is offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, replaced by the historically mediocre Greg Roman, who has openly stated that the team is re-designing it’s entire offence around Lamar Jackson. That’s an interesting take, given that it seemed like the Ravens already did that last season.
The Ravens led the league last year in rushing offence and time of possession after Lamar Jackson took over as starter in Week 11. They ran an average of 14 more plays per game than their opponents. There’s no reason to expect anything different this year.
Key Fantasy Departures: Targets
There are a lot of targets up for grabs in this Ravens offence, with both their leading receivers leaving. The problem is, these targets are hard to quantify, given the team’s steep decline in passing attempts after Jackson took over. Marquise Brown will likely take over in the slot, leaving the RWR position open wide open in camp.
- Michael Crabtree: 98
- John Brown: 91
- Javorius Allen: 40
- Alex Collins: 17
- Maxx Williams: 16
- Ty Montgomery: 16
- Mark Ingram: The Saints veteran heads over to Baltimore, expected to take over lead back duties, though there’s some question of a time-share with Gus Edwards, who average 5.2 YPC last season and fourth round rookie Justice Hill.
- Marquise Brown: Brown is an interesting deep sleeper, solely because he’s expected to step into a starting role right away. But it’s hard to imagine there’s much upside with a non-existent passing game.
- Miles Boykin: Had a breakout year at Notre Dame with a 59-872-8 line. He ran a 4.40 and has a 6’4’’, 220 pound frame. Expect him to lock down WR3 and become an immediate red zone threat. Draftable only in dynasty leagues.
Best Ball ADP
Analysis: I worry too much about the threat of a time share to take Mark Ingram that early. Lamar Jackson is a great late round option to pair with another player in that range. His legs give him a safe floor every week. Mark Andrews is an excellent TE2.
- 49) Mark Ingram
- 136) Lamar Jackson
- 139) Mark Andrews
- 145) Justice Hill
- 181) Marquise Brown
- 196) Gus Edwards
Extrapolated over an entire season, Lamar Jackson would have rushed for over 1,200 yards and 11 TDs last season. He was the QB7 after taking over in Week 11, but is currently being drafted in the QB 17-20 range. There’s a lot of value to be had by waiting to draft a QB this year, and Jackson is a big reason why. There’s no reason he should be going this late, but he is, so take advantage.
John Brown is gone, as is NFL leading dropper-of-the-football Michael Crabtree. The Ravens sought to address their lack of depth at the WR position through the deep receiver crop in the 2019 NFL Draft class, by adding first round pick Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma and third round pick Miles Boykin out of Notre Dame. Brown didn’t run the 40 at the combine but insists he would have broken the record if had.
It’s tough to get excited about any of these options with a run-first, Lamar Jackson led offence. A brief look at the Ravens top receiving lines after Jackson took over: Mark Andrews 4-54; Andrews: 2-83; Willie Snead 5-58; Snead 5-68; Andrews 3-47; Andrews 1-74; Snead 5-54.
There were multiple games where no receiver had over three receptions, while no receiver caught more than five balls once, and the 80-yard mark was eclipsed just twice. So, many were disappointed when Marquise Brown went to Baltimore, and it’s easy to see why. Though he’s a fine dynasty pick, he won’t be able to produce high end fantasy results in the most run-heavy offence in the NFL.
With the addition of free agent Saint’s bruiser Mark Ingram to the fold, as well as fourth round pick Justice Hill, the Ravens backfield is suddenly crowded. They also brought back the efficient Gus Edwards, who averaged 5.2 YPC last year and Javorius Allen, which is why it’s a little surprising that Ingram is going so early in drafts. With so much uncertainty and so many capable backs, I’d take a wait-and-see approach. Gus Edwards could be a bargain in a time share at the 196th overall pick (RB 65). He was the 11th overall RB in the NFL after Week 11 last year.
Pass blocking: 14th
Run blocking: 10th
It’s safe to say this unit under-performed last year, suffering through a number of injuries that hampered the interior. They’re returning all five starters and with the likes of Ronnie Staley and Marshall Yanda in the mix, and Orlando Brown Jr emerging as a key starter last season (zero sacks and one hit in 370 pass-blocking situations), on paper this unit is one of the best in the NFL in both the run and pass games.
Preseason Players to Watch
- Check in on the RB battle. If a time share looks likely, fade Ingram and pickup one of the other Ravens backs in the later rounds for a bargain.
Ben Rasa’s NFL Fantasy Football Preview and Betting Guide
Ravens 2019 O/U Win Total – 8.5 (Over +105 , Under -135)
The Ravens enter 2019 with more questions than answers , but one thing we do know is that the Lamar Jackson era is set to fully begin and that will make them one of the most unique teams in the league. Having a QB with that skillset really changes the entire offense and for Fantasy Football purposes it changes how we evaluate all the skill position players around Lamar. On the Vegas side of things they have the Ravens as a middle of the pack team who most likely will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Ben’s Favorite Player to Target
Lamar Jackson – QB
I want to state right up front there is not a single Raven that I would prioritize grabbing in a Best Ball or Season Long draft, but there has to be some interest in Lamar just due to his unique skill-set. Last year he was a runner who occasionally threw the ball , but it looks like this year the plan is to try and reign in some of the designed runs and increase the passing volume. That will be easier said then done and regardless of the plans I see no way that Jackson isn’t carrying the ball a ton once again this year.
If he stays healthy he’s still going to have 100 yard rushing upside in games and that is so valuable considering almost every other QB has ZERO chance to accomplish that on a given week. It will be interesting to see how he evolves in his first full year as a starter and how the Ravens can build an offense that utilizes and maximizes his skill-set.
Biggest Fantasy Question
What to do with the receiving options?
As we just talked about Lamar Jackson isn’t a prototypical QB and that makes all the receiving options that much riskier to draft. Last year we saw John Brown really struggle to find a connection with Lamar and it showed in his numbers late in the year. Smokey Brown is gone , but we now have Hollywood Brown coming in with the Ravens using their top draft pick on the Oklahoma WR who is also a burner and has mega home run upside. That combo may not fit with Lamar unless the passing game improves so I wouldn’t reach for a guy like Brown despite the abilities. On the TE side Mark Andrews is talented , but the Ravens have a bunch of Tight Ends that will see time and targets each week making it a tough situation to project.
Fantasy Football Sleeper
Justice Hill – RB
This is a true sleeper as the rookie out of Oklahoma State is working behind Mark Ingram and the volume and role isn’t exactly secure. However Hill is an electric player who has homerun abilities anytime the Ravens can get him the ball , which is going to give him a ceiling despite that shaky volume. Furthermore we’ve seen in the past how the Ravens aren’t afraid to incorporate a whole stable of RB’s into the game plan and I think Hill could make an impact on 3rd down and in passing situations immediately. Clearly he is a late round flyer, but he is someone who could make the difference late in the year after his role potentially grows.
Awesemo’s NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
Check back in mid-July for season-long projections and rankings from the #1 Fantasy Sports Player.
Updated throughout preseason and training camp because we all know things can change quickly in the NFL.
I agree with Vegas and think the Ravens are a middle of the pack team that probably falls short of the postseason, but still aren’t a pushover each week. Lamar Jackson is the franchise player and the Ravens must tailor their entire offensive scheme to highlight his unique skills and get the most of the weapons around him. That is easier said than done and I think we will see some struggles out of this offense throughout the year, making them a pretty unappealing Fantasy team on the whole.