Baltimore Ravens News and Rumors
The latest Baltimore Ravens news. Stay up-to-date on Ravens rumors. breaking news, player reports and whispered gossip from around the league.
Peter King Says Flacco is Playing Excellent Football
Date: August 13th | 2018
Longtime NFL media-elite Peter King is reporting Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco has been “Superman” through the early portions of training camp. King said that a “longtime Ravens observer” told him that “this first week of camp for Flacco has been ‘far and away’ the best he’s looked in camp in his 11 years” as a pro. In fact, further reports out of Ravens camp suggest that John Brown and Hayden Hurst have been impressing as well, which is a direct result of Flacco’s resurgence.
And despite that fact that the Ravens selected Flacco’s heir-apparent, Lamar Jackson, with the 32nd pick in April’s draft, which instantly triggered “Flacco is done remarks” from the fantasy football world and the NFL fanbase alike, I am not one of them. Not only are the Ravens competitive in nearly every season since Flacco entered the league in 2008, but from a fantasy perspective, Flacco is vastly undervalued.
While he’s finished as the QB26, the QB20, and the QB24 consecutively in each of the past three seasons since 2015, Flacco finished as a Top 20 QB or better in the seven years prior dating back to his 2008 rookie campaign. Moreover, he is only three years removed from a QB13 mark in 2014.
However, since Flacco appeared to mightily regress last season, many of his woes could be attributed to a back injury which lingered well into the second half of the year. Finishing the 2017 season with a strong December, his uptick in production directly correlates with his health becoming intact. Entering his age-33 season, his 11th as a pro, I believe Flacco is primed to bounce back. Not only do the Ravens have a reliable running game led by Alex Collins, Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon — if he can get it together — but they are also improved at pass-cather — Ravens’ pass-catchers looked treacherous in 2017 and haven’t had quality receivers since Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta retired the last offseason. After a year in which Ben Watson, Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin were the headliners of his receiving corps, Flacco will open 2018 with Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, John Brown, Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst — all offseason additions. The Ravens clearly believe they can win with Joe Flacco and are building to win with him right now, even if its only for this season. Otherwise, a veteran addition like Crabtree wouldn’t make sense. So yes, Lamar Jackson is the future, but his fantasy owners will have to wait a year much like Pat Mahomes owners had to do in 2017. At his late double-digit round ADP, I absolutely am gushing over Flacco’s value and upside. He’s a must-add in multi-QB fantasy formats and will be one of the hottest quarterback streamers in season-long redraft leagues.
John Brown Having a Great Camp
Date: July 27th | 2018
Ravens offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, mentioned new wideout, John Brown, has “had a heck of a camp” so far this week.
ESPN Ravens reporter, Jamison Hensley, also noted on Twitter, “Brown caught a 50-yard touchdown and also made a great reception in the end zone. His best catch was a leaping grab along the sideline in which he adjusted to a slightly underthrown pass.”
John Brown has never been short on talent but has had his career derailed by injuries, most notably his sickle cell trait. Carriers of this trait are more likely to experience muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise than those who don’t have it. Hensley also reported on Brown’s sickle cell trait back in March and had this to say:
“Brown believes the bigger issue relating to his health was a cyst on his spine, which caused so much pain and fatigue in his legs that he struggled to pick up his daughter. He had it drained after the 2016 season.”
“It was just something we couldn’t decide on or what they could find,” Brown said. “So, they just used it as a ‘sickle cell trait’ until they found I had a cyst in my spine. I’m fine; I’m healthy, and I know how to handle the situation.”
If Brown is indeed fine, he will have a solid opportunity in Baltimore to try and recreate the magic that saw him breakout for 65 catches, 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns with the Cardinals in 2015. Brown will be a name to watch over the following weeks in training camp to see how his health holds up. If he is all systems go for the start of the season, he could be a valuable pick at the end of fantasy football drafts as a post-hype sleeper.
Kenneth Dixon Leaves Practice with Hamstring Injury
Date: July 27th | 2018
The Athletic Baltimore’s Jeff Zrebiec broke the news on Twitter today stating: “Running back Kenneth Dixon left practice about a half hour in with a trainer. He was walking pretty gingerly.” Zrebiec went on to note, “Sounds like Kenneth Dixon just tweaked his hamstring, which would qualify as good news.”
“Good news” and “Kenneth Dixon” haven’t been commonly used together in sentences when it comes to Dixon for fantasy football fans. Unless you’re in a league where you get points for most time spent on injured reserve, Dixon has been a complete bust. The hype was beginning to ramp up a bit again this season but this should throw a cold bucket of water on that. It is still very early in training camp but this is certainly not how you would like the season to start for a player who has had trouble staying healthy. Hamstring injuries have also always had a tendency to linger. This will be a situation to monitor closely throughout camp. Javorious Allen should get extra work in camp for any amount of time Dixon will miss and could be on track to keep a solid role as the teams primary pass-catching back and change of pace option behind Alex Collins. Dixon is a huge risk anywhere in fantasy drafts this season.
Lamar Jackson Will Get Snaps as a Rookie
Date: July 25th | 2018
Reports out of Ravens camp are that Lamar Jackson is looking great. Head Coach John Harbaugh told John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, “One way or another he is going to be out there taking snaps.” Marty Mornhinweg, the Ravens offensive coordinator, has said that Jackson is “Way ahead of the curve.” Jackson has shown the ability and rare athleticism to be the quarterback that the Ravens have hoped.
Despite our previous Ravens news blurb about ESPN reporter, Jamison Hensley who said “There is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore because Flacco is throwing the ball at a different level than (Lamar) Jackson” it seems the coaches are either using Jackson to motivate Flacco or they are in fact looking to install some sort of package for Jackson to get on the field.
While other teams passed on Jackson, the Ravens traded up with the Philidelphia Eagles to grab their quarterback of the future. The Ravens want to find a way get Jackson on the field in some way shape or form this season. Baltimore views Jackson as a weapon that can help them win games this year. Joe Flacco who is still the projected opening day starter will have his work cut out for him if he wants to keep his starting job. Flacco who threw for 3,141 passing yards and 18 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 2018 will be turning 34 years old in January.
As always, I like to include a little fantasy football take in all my NFL news. Lamar Jackson is the late round quarterback that I am trying to grab in all of my dynasty leagues. Jackson is a player that can score with his arm or his legs, and that makes him a very dangerous fantasy quarterback. When drafting in redraft leagues, however, Jackson is almost non-draftable. Although he may not be draftable in redraft’s, you need to keep an eye on him in case the Ravens do decide to start Jackson over Flacco.
Is a Career Year Expected from Joe Flacco?
Date: July 23rd | 2018
Baltimore Ravens ESPN reporter, Jamison Hensley, recently wrote while breaking down the quarterback competition in Baltimore: “There is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore because Flacco is throwing the ball at a different level than (Lamar) Jackson and Robert Griffin III.”
Ravens safety, Eric Weddle, also had Flacco’s back in a recent interview, stating: “I expect Joe to have a career year this year and him to lead our team to the playoffs.”
Hensley also went on to note: “The optimism surrounding Flacco in this year’s training camp stems from his health and performance. He’s showing more mobility than he has the past three seasons, and he’s pushing the ball downfield.”
Flacco has been one of the leagues least productive quarterbacks in recent seasons. The team drafting Lamar Jackson at the end of the first round was an obvious suggestion that Flacco may be on his way out. Jackson still has a lot to prove however to show he is ready to be an NFL caliber quarterback. The Ravens overhauled their receiver core this season with the additions of Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead. They also spent a first and third round pick on pass-catching tight ends, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, respectively. Flacco has more weapons now than he has in quite a long time and all the motivation in the world with Jackson breathing down his neck. Flacco was also able to come on strong at the end of last season, finishing as a top-10 QB in three of the last five weeks. The quarterback position seems deeper this season than it has in others with newcomers like Jimmy Garoppolo and Pat Mahomes expected to make a big push. Flacco is worth a shot at the end of drafts in two QB leagues and may have some streaming value in DFS formats. It’s hard to argue selecting him in standard redraft leagues however until we see he is really ready to take his game to the next level.
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