Is There Any Hope For The Ravens in 2018?
The Baltimore Ravens rank 27th in available salary cap space but desperately need to find clever ways to add talent to the offense.
Everything will depend on the moves that GM Ozzie Newsome makes this offseason, especially at the skill positions. Quarterback Joe Flacco needs play-makers to have any type of fantasy relevance. Last season he threw for 3141 yards, 18 touchdowns, and completed 64.1% of his passes. Flacco had 5 games with 20 or more fantasy points in 2017. He can still be a productive QB if given the right pieces, but it will be difficult for him to crack the top 15. He will be a late-round draft pick at best but probably will be found on your waiver wire to serve as your backup/emergency fill-in.
It’s no secret that Ravens must bring in a young, talented wide receiver. They thought that former 1st round pick Breshad Perriman would be that guy. Although he showed some flashes in 2016, he couldn’t get it together last season and was a healthy scratch for 4 games.
The Ravens could draft yet another wide receiver this offseason such as Alabama’s Calvin Ridley if he’s still available when they’re on the clock or they could swing a trade for Jarvis Landry. Ridley and/or Landry would immediately upgrade Baltimore’s receiving corps. Ridley would give Joe Flacco another speedster on the outside to play alongside Mike Wallace. Landry runs most of his routes from the slot anyway.
In this scenario, Landry would be a 4th-5th round target as a WR2 while Wallace would be a late round WR3. Ridley can be a high upside flex option at least until he establishes himself as a legitimate wide receiver in the NFL. As mentioned above Jeremy Maclin could be released this offseason and that would become a certainty should Baltimore acquire Landry. If not, Maclin won’t have much fantasy appeal unless he can show that he still has some gas left in the tank.
Alex Collins, an ERFA (Exclusive Rights Free Agent) figures to return as the lead back for Baltimore next season. The problem is with 4 RBs currently on the roster in Collins, Buck Allen, Danny Woodhead, and the team waiting for Kenneth Dixon to finally show his potential, this is shaping up to be a running back by committee. It should be noted that Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has mentioned Woodhead as a potential cap casualty since Dixon should be able to fill his role at a cheaper price. The potential loss of Center Ryan Jensen should also not be discounted as this could ultimately hurt the run game for the Ravens.
If I had to choose one back to draft I would try to get Collins starting in Round 5 as an RB2, but he will probably be drafted before then. I’d look to stay away from this backfield in 2018 unless somebody clearly establishes themselves as the true workhorse.
It remains to be seen if TE Benjamin Watson will return for his 14th NFL season but if so you will probably find him on your waiver wire come mid-season anyway. Like Flacco, he’s best served as a backup or bye week replacement on your fantasy roster. However, it’s possible that Watson calls it a career at age 38. Either way, the Ravens should look to upgrade their tight end situation. A free-agent like Trey Burton would be a good fit and a legitimate fantasy option to target as he could flourish given Flacco’s track record with his tight ends. If they stick with their current personnel or draft a rookie this would be another position to avoid until proven otherwise.
The Ravens obviously need a lot of help on the offensive side of the ball to return to any real fantasy significance in 2018. Most of these players can have some type of impact for your team, but the real question should be their ADP (Average Draft Position). I would not suggest reaching for any of the players mentioned in this article. However, you should be willing to take a flier by letting them fall to you at your price. Round out your roster and hope that somebody steps up to help lead your team to a fantasy championship.
How Bad Was It? Ravens 2017 Recap
Joe Flacco (QB 24) did not have a great season and tends to be a yearly waiver pickup/bye week replacement unless you play in a 2 Quarterback league. Mike Wallace and fellow receiver Jeremy Maclin were mid-to-late round picks that didn’t offer much in terms of fantasy value, and TE Ben Watson was not consistent enough to have a spot in your lineup.
However, Alex Collins became relevant around week 3 but did not take over as the full-time starter until week 6 when RB Terrance West injured his calf. Collins first double-digit game in fantasy football didn’t come until week 8 against Miami where he ran for over 100 yards. Collins ended up being a waiver wire stud compiling 973 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns despite only starting 12 games. He was by far the Ravens best offensive skill player in terms of fantasy production.
Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin finished as the 38th and 62nd Wide Receivers in standard scoring leagues last season while Benjamin Watson finished as the TE16. Wallace, Watson, and WR Michael Campanaro are all impending free-agents, but Baltimore should look to re-sign their best home-run threat in Wallace and Flacco’s security blanket in Watson, should he not retire. Campanaro has no fantasy value at all as he has struggled as a receiver in the NFL. Maclin had a very disappointing season and it’s unclear if he will be back with the team in 2018.
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